Children often do not respond positively to yelling, they may ignore you, yell back, or stop in the moment, but you find them 20 minutes later they are doing the same thing you just yelled at them about.
This is because yelling, while it can be intimidating to a child and temporarily stop them, does not teach communication, or an appropriate replacement behavior. In fact, it models that when we feel anger, we yell. These children often become the teenagers that are screaming at their parents, as that is the coping skill that has been modeled for them.
Instead, try validating and communicating. This can still be done in a strict tone, and if your child was wrong can be followed up with a consequence, but helping your child come up with the language and problem solving skills will help minimize problems in the future.
For example: you are met with a full fledged tantrum, yelling, screaming etc. Instead of yelling try:
- “I can see that you are mad, because you are yelling- your mad because (I took your screen, you wanted — etc”)
- “It is ok to be mad, but you cannot (hit, yell, kick, etc”)
- “Go take some quiet time and I will talk to you when you are calm”
- Ignore your child until they are calm
- When calm, go back and help them communicate what they were mad about, and the consequences (“you were mad, but you hit mommy, you need to say sorry, or you lost —-“)
Using If/then statements can be helpful here as well, “If you hit then you _____.” Stay firm with your consequence, provide your child with the reason behind the consequence, but also talk through what they can do next time. “Next time you are mad, you can use your words or calm down and then we can talk about it.”
You will not be able to reason with your child when your child is upset, and honestly a power struggle with a young child often leaves both parties feeling frustrated and resentful, with little resolve or plan for the future. Communication is not something that comes naturally; it is something that is learned through repeat exposure.
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