Do you ever hear yourself shouting at your kids to ‘Stop shouting’?
The irony isn’t lost on me.
I am a recovering shout-aholic. When my boys were younger I’d have a sore throat from turbulent episodes of unleashed fury.
I knew I should be counting to ten and taking deep breaths, yet my explosions were so quick to rise that I never seemed to have time for that.
Things needed to change. I had to do something!
Here’s what finally worked:
1. Parenting skills classes
I took a 10 week course on Parenting Skills and never looked back. Once I got a better handle on discipline, created clear, written rules and felt more in control, there was simply a lot less to shout about. I became more like the parent I wanted to be. We grew a stronger connection, the boys behaved better. (Whew.)
2. Learn to apologise
This was a tough one for me. In my mind they’d caused me to get angry, so it wasn’t my fault I ended up shouting. I made a firm pact with myself that if I ever shouted I had to apologise, no matter what. I don’t like apologising, so I became much more mindful about not shouting.
3. Recognise stress triggers
It helped enormously to be aware of the situations and times of day I was likely to lose my rag. Getting out the door in the mornings, being ready and on time for swimming lessons… Also remembering that late in the day we’re all more cranky. Knowing this helped me prepare for times I was likely to be a mama on a short fuse.
4. Be in the present moment
I’m more prone to outburst when a deep train of thought is interrupted. To the kids it might have looked like I was just stirring the pasta sauce, but in my mind I was solving a big dilemma. Being asked when dinner would be ready was enough to trigger me to shout that it would be ready a lot faster if they’d stop interrupting me! (ouch) Keeping my mind in the ‘now’ and being fully present for my children truly helps. I do my deep thinking when they’re not around and solve my problems on paper.
5. Create a mantra
Mine is: ‘My child is not being a problem, my child is having a problem.’ This helps me reframe the situation and come at it from a better angle.
I’ve learned that being a peaceful parent isn’t just about learning to manage my emotions, it’s also about fostering a deep connection with my kids.
I’m now reading, ‘Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting’ by Dr. Laura Markham.
If only this book had been around in my crazy shouting days. Dr. Laura tells us that if we really want to stop yelling, it’s completely possible – no matter how ingrained it is. It’s not rocket science and takes about 3 months once you’ve made the commitment.
This is the best book I’ve ever read for helping me understand myself and my children better. (See how well-thumbed and sticky-noted my copy is already!)
Dr. Laura reminds us of the importance of honouring our own needs whilst also nurturing the needs of our child. I agree with her completely that to be a calmer parent, you need peace within.
Commit now to find ways to curb the shouting. It takes some determined effort, but it will pay off.
I still have my shouty moments, but I’ve come a long way baby.
I’m now a proud affiliate of The Parent Practice’s new Positive Parenting Academy. It’s the same 10-week course I did, but now it’s been made into an on-line course so you can do it from home no matter where you live.
Any other shout-aholics out there ready to give it up? Any former shouters willing to share your strategies for staying calm? Please leave your comments below.
Mixing practicality with self-awareness, Kelly helps mothers get on top of their endless to-do’s, set goals and improve their lives one small step at a time.
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