I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve started to yell at my daughter– and the irony? It was to tell her to stop yelling. And yet, I know I’m not alone in this struggle. Often, we as parents, find ourselves yelling just to be heard. We think that our children aren’t listening. And because of that, we raise our voices. But there has to be a better way, right? Discipline doesn’t have to involve yelling.
Even if we, as parents, can’t think of a better solution.
How to discipline without yelling
The best thing that we can do when our child is acting particularly defiant? It’s to keep ourselves calm.
Our attitude towards the situation, whether we realize it or not, has far more impact than we may ever know. And yes, I get it, it can be so easy to get caught up in the moment. That you may want to yell and have a tantrum right alongside your child.
But, trust me friend, this is not the answer.
Now more than ever, it’s important to keep a positive outlook. I know, this is easier said than done. But it’s time to call on your positive discipline strategies. You want to reward the positive behaviors but you also want to replace the negative behaviors.
This not only strengthens your relationship with your child, but also helps you both in the long run.
Another thing to keep in mind, especially with children who have extraordinary needs like autism, ADHD, or who might be considered highly sensitive or strong-willed? You cannot punish your child for behaviors that they can’t control.
First, you need to address the underlying sensory issues and then you address the discipline problem.
For some children that means looking for sensory strategies, or it may mean looking at how to better calm meltdowns.
Common Sense Tips for parents who yell and what to do instead
You should already know this but, even if you do feel your anger getting the best of you? Refrain from using physical punishment. You’ll only make the situation worse and potentially damage your relationship with your child in the process.
If something happens during a public situation or where there are a lot of people around, make sure that you have strategies in place for these situations as well. For example, equip your child with the means necessary to escape or take some needed time away.
This one may not sound like a solution at first, but remember this: your child is sensitive to how you respond. If you respond with anger, they are likely to react with anger. Instead of being confrontational, address the problem first and then ask for why it was happening. Likewise, make sure that all expectations are clear. If you are disciplining your child, explain why they are being disciplined.
Look at the time that you spend with your child. Do the positive moments outweigh the negative interactions? If not, look for opportunities to shift towards positives. If your child starts equating all of your quality time as negative experiences; they’ll begin to resent you.
Understand also that your child is having difficulty processing things around them. Learn how to distinguish between willful non-compliance or strong willed nature vs. inability to do comply. While you may think that your child is truly doing this deliberately, they just might not be capable of behaving any other way.
If you truly do suspect that your child is being more than just willfully defiant? You may want to consider having a screening for oppositional defiant disorder.
Now, this may not be what you want to hear, but think about yourself as well. What were you like as a child? What worked for your parents? It couldn’t hurt to reach out and find out those strategies.
Finally? Stick to your resolve. You need to be consistent and you need to have routine. If you aren’t consistent, your child won’t know what to expect. Having this consistency goes a long way.