Guest post by Kevin Doyle, intro and edits by Jeff Campbell
Wondering how to discipline a child without yelling?
Do you struggle with losing your cool with your kids?
Perhaps you find yourself yelling until you’re blue in the face only to see the same poor behavior repeated the next day.
You say to yourself “what am I doing wrong” or “there has to be a better way!”
It may be difficult to keep your emotions under control when disciplining your children. They quickly learn how to push your buttons. But it IS totally possible to learn how to discipline a child without yelling.
Disciplining them is all about helping them to understand the basics of good behavior. And it works best if you have a warm and loving relationship with them.
Is it OK to yell at your child?
It’s easy to lose your temper when you’re in constant power struggles with your kids.
Daily issues over what to wear, what to eat and when to go to bed can drive us crazy. Once a power struggle begins, it can be difficult to move beyond it. You become more and more frustrated until your temper gets the better of you.
Then you react in a way that shows your child that you’re not really in charge of anything.
Whatever your child is doing, losing your temper does not help. If yelling at your child worked, being a parent would be easy.
Losing your temper doesn’t work to change their behavior because you react in the heat of the moment instead of thinking rationally.
How do I stop screaming at my child?
Children misbehave for different reasons – they may have trouble adjusting to changes or sometimes they’re simply frustrated or overtired.
When learning how to discipline a child without yelling, it is important for you as a parent to know your motives and keep your cool.
Ask yourself whether you are taking it out on your child because their behavior embarrassed you. When you react because you feel that your power is being challenged, you often exert more power to get your child to respond.
Of course, the more you try to exert power, the more your child is likely to react badly.
Your children need to feel safe, even when they are being disciplined. Shouting and yelling may scare them into submission. But it will not teach them how to behave towards other people and how to manage their emotions.
If you need to give yourself a time out, do it! Keep your emotions in check, remember to breath and understand that you are the adult and they are the child.
If, however, you are wondering if your child’s behavior might be getting worse instead of better, I highly recommend you take a moment and check out one of my most read parenting posts on the Worst Child Behavioral Problems.
In that post I (Jeff) walk you through how to recognize the difference and the most helpful and healthy ways to redirect the behaviors.
The crucial importance of setting boundaries
When your child is a toddler, you can start introducing some discipline.
At this stage, a young child is starting to experiment with different behaviors. From early on they need to understand that if they do something that crosses the limits you have set, there are consequences.
Your children need to know what you expect of them in terms of behavior. They also need to know that when they do not behave accordingly, they will be disciplined fairly and firmly.
With learning how to discipline a child without yelling. one thing that can help is to plan your responses ahead of time.
If you know there are certain situations such as going grocery shopping, eating out in restaurants or joining other children in playgroups that are likely to cause conflict, try to figure out ahead of time what you are going to do in those situations.
It’s easier to decide what to do when you’re sitting calmly in your kitchen than when you’re busy grocery shopping. It’s not uncommon to see mothers losing their cool with their kids in a grocery store.
If, for example, you’re going to a child’s birthday party or other kid event, explain to them before you even get out of the car what you expect of them. You may find it helpful to give them some simple rules such as “Don’t hit or bite other children”.
Never embarrass children by scolding them in front of other children. Rather take them aside, explain that they have not obeyed the rules you gave them and that there are consequences for this.
Above all, make sure to stick to the stated consequences and apply them equally among all your kids. Nothing sends the message faster that bad behavior is OK like you backing down in the moment or treating one child differently than another.
One of my (Jeff) most shared parenting posts is about how Successful Parents Avoid Common Parenting Issues. If you are looking for additional tips, definitely take a moment and check that post out!
How do you discipline a child who won’t listen?
— Ron Deal (@RonLDeal) September 13, 2017
Explain how their behavior makes you feel.
Your child takes cues from you. Tell your child how it makes you feel when they yell at you, instead of just yelling back at them.
Explain that it hurts your feelings and makes you feel sad. Even a young child will understand this. Learn how to discipline a child without yelling by getting in touch with your own feelings.
Positive reinforcement works far better than yelling ever did.
Praise your children when you see them behaving well and they are much more likely to repeat the behavior. But also ask them how it makes them feel when they behave correctly.
When they feel their own internal motivation, that can drive success faster than any external praise.
Spanking is not effective
Smacking a child because you have lost your temper and are out of control, is not okay.
There is a fine line before this may end up being abusive. It does not teach them how to control their behavior and sends the message that it is okay to hit.
It teaches children that aggression is a way to express their frustration.
When children are over-stimulated, it may be difficult to get them to respond unless you act clearly and decisively. If you are mentally prepared for how your child may act, you have a better chance of not losing your temper.
Sometimes children become locked in a power struggle with you and they don’t know how to stop it.
It’s up to you as the parent to know how to avoid and manage it. In doing so, always choose your words carefully and speak in a calm voice.
In learning how to discipline a child without yelling it’s crucial that we learn to control ourselves.
If you are struggling to identify your parenting style, or are worried it’s not the most effective style, check out my (Jeff) post on the Worst Parenting Styles. There are a lot of parenting styles and pros and cons to each. But there are some styles you’ll want to steer clear of to be an effective parent.
Kevin is the co-founder of Toys Advisors blog. He has a lovely family with his wife Anna, his son Tom and his daughter Jane. He spends most of time with his family, he learns and shares about parenting, DIY.
Want to write for Middle Class Dad? Get all the info you need here: Guest Blog for Middle Class Dad!
Have you struggled with how to discipline a child without yelling?
With 3 kids, my wife and I have been there! How can I help?
Feel free to comment here or email me with any questions!