Most moms know this feeling. Your child just pulled the last straw and you feel the frustration and anger rising fast. You are very close to letting that momster come out with a roar. How do we control the frustration and hold back from raising our voice to our children? Here are 10 tips for how to stop yelling at your kids even before you start.
I walked into my bedroom and locked the door. It was one of those days where nothing seemed to go right. And to top it all off, the kids were not cooperating. I raised my voice at my children and regretted it immensely. I couldn’t stand feeling like this. Frustrated, angry, and helpless.
Any mom can feel tired, irritated, and upset, and that’s normal. But how do we stop those feelings from taking over and changing our entire mood, and the mood of those around us? How do we stop from upsetting the ones we love? If you’ve ever felt guilty for yelling at your kids, take a look at 10 ideas you can use to stop the shouting before it comes out.
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1. Be proactive
If you feel the frustration coming, it’s time to clear your plate for the day. Of course, it’s not always possible, but there are at least a couple of things on your list that you can skip to avoid the extra pressure. Try to take it easy for the rest of the day. Take this step before you get to boiling point.
Breathing deeply does wonders! As soon as you feel that fluttering in your chest, close your eyes, and breathe. Breathe deeply and slowly at least five times. When you open your eyes, that rising feeling will be tamed.
This is my personal favorite. I have a song I sing when I begin feeling frustrated. It grounds me and takes my mind away for a minute or two. This gives me plenty of time to calm down and stay calm.
Whether you can hold a tune or not, it doesn’t matter. You’re not competing for a prize. You’re being an amazing mom. Sing your frustration away, and if dancing is your jam, add it to the mix.
Afraid your kids might think you’re weird? Great! It’ll stop them in their tracks and they’ll stare at you in amazement. They may even join you, and this will lighten the mood. Sometimes there’s no better cure than a Hakuna Matata tune.
4. Take 5
Walking away for 5 minutes removes you from the situation and gives you space, which will help relax the tension.
This is not always possible, of course. When your child decides to see if the dinner plate flies as well as a frisbee, it’s not exactly a good time to leave him to his own devices. But when possible, take a few minutes to calm down before reacting.
Splash your face with cold water. It sounds elementary, but it works. Don’t want to ruin your makeup? No problem, the next tip might be just what you need.
A very effective way to block words you might later regret from coming out is taking a mouthful of water. Here’s the trick: Don’t swallow it until you’ve calmed down.
Think back to when your child was a newborn. You counted those tiny little fingers and toes, you kissed those rosy cheeks. You stroked her tiny little head that felt like the gentlest velvet beneath your fingertips. You held her as she was snoozing on your chest, and breathed in that delicious newborn scent.
You were so thankful she was yours. You are still thankful she is yours. Think about how it felt to have this new little human depend on you. She depended on you to feed, change, and nurture her. She depended on you to soothe her cries, to rub her back to calm her.
She still depends on you for all that and more. Remember how it felt like to hold that little human in your arms and hold her again, even if she’s not that little anymore.
Imagine how your child feels when he is yelled at. Imagine yourself in his shoes. Maybe he had a rough day? Maybe something else is going on that you’re not aware of? Talk to him and try to see the situation from his perspective. Ask him questions, and if he won’t answer, just be there for him. Eventually, after he begins seeing you as someone who will listen without diminishing the importance of his feelings, he will begin to confide in you.
Kids go through hard things too, and if those things seem minuscule to us adults, it does not make them any less important or impactful to them. Make them feel like you understand, and you both will feel better.
Build a strong bond with your children. Remember, they are not an inconvenience, they are a blessing. They’re real people, building real character. Be their friend, their guide, and their confidant. Make memories with them that they will remember with fondness. Capture those memories even if you don’t feel camera-ready. What do you want them to remember about their childhood? A mom that yelled? I doubt it. I know I don’t.
10. Be a good example
We all know that children do what we do, and not what we say. If you want to raise your kids into adults that can channel their frustration in healthy ways, show them how to do it. Yelling at them when you’re frustrated or angry will only teach them to do the same. Teach them by example.
You may not always have a glass of water handy, or have the opportunity to step out for 5 minutes. But having a few of these options to fall back on will arm you for battle against your own frustrated self.
“But my child won’t listen until I yell,” you may say. I know how you feel, many mothers struggle with this. For ideas on how to get through to your child without yelling, read How to Get Kids to Listen – 15 Tips That Work.
If you think you might have a strong-willed child on your hands, read Raising a Strong Willed Child.
Next time you feel that dreaded feeling coming, and if you don’t ever want to see your child close their ears with the palms of their hands with words, “Stop yelling at me!”, try one or more of these ideas, and teach yourself how to to stop yelling at your kids. Take one of these steps to bring yourself back to center, and in the process, you will teach your children how to deal with frustration the right way.
But what if you couldn’t hold back and yelled? No-one is perfect, we all make mistakes. But trying to be better is what makes you a great mom. Apologize to your child for yelling at him, and resolve to do better next time. To help with that, keep the list of tips somewhere close as a reminder.
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