Do you remember the last time someone yelled at you? If you’re like me, you didn’t like it and just wanted the person to stop yelling. If you’ve ever yelled at your kids, they probably felt the same way. Yelling may have gotten their attention, but it probably didn’t do much else or help the situation. In the long run, all it did was teach them that they should yell when they get frustrated or angry. That’s not exactly what we want to be teaching our kids.
In the Article
The relationships we have with our kids have more impact on them than we think. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve focused on our role as Teachers, Coaches, and Mentors (TCM) most of the year. No matter what age our children are, we should always make a conscious decision about what we say or do because it impacts the long-term values and, ultimately, the behavior of our children.
In our Raising Families Community Membership Program, October has been about providing parents with tools and techniques for establishing and maintaining strong relationships with their children. We believe that it’s never too early and never too late to work on your relationships with your kids, so if you need help to stop yelling, try the two ways that follow.
As we mentioned in the first paragraph, no one, including our kids, likes to be yelled at. Yelling reinforces that not only it is okay but it’s also what should be done. While there is no loss to the amount of frustration kids can cause their parents, the more we keep our cool, instead of yelling, and talk about the consequences of a particular behavior that we don’t want our kids to exhibit, the more likely it is our kids will hear what we say.
When we keep our cool and stop yelling, our kids not only learn the right behavior but also are forced to make decisions and feel the consequences of their choices.
One key to stop yelling is to make sure you are clear about consequences. For example, if your child doesn’t want to eat the food you prepare, the choices could be simple: They eat it or go hungry. If your kids are of an age where they can make their own meals, that certainly is another viable choice.
When it comes to meal planning for the family, engage your child in the process of what to buy, going to the store, and helping you make the meal. This does not mean they can buy or have whatever they want. The food choices remain yours.
Involving your child in the process will help them make choices that ensure they eat a healthy meal AND ensure they learn how to plan meals and shop for them. It also means there will be less opportunity for yelling.
2. Stop Yelling with Regular Family Meetings
Another key to stop yelling is having open lines of communication with your kids. If you don’t already have regular family meetings, start having them now. Find a time in the family schedule that you can block out every week when the family can all be together.
Having an agenda of what to talk about is helpful. So is having food to share. And make sure to put away the digital devices and turn off the TV! The point of a family meeting is to talk with each other, not stare at a screen. There’s a lot to cover when thinking about family meetings (including school activities, meals for the week, allowance, vacations, and so much more), so you want everyone’s attention.
Many families include something called Sads and Glads. Sads are an opportunity to talk about things that aren’t going well, a situation where someone needs help, or somewhere there might be conflict. Glads are about things that are going well and what we like and might want to do more of. Parent date nights and family movie nights are additional topics you can cover.
The key to remember is that in addition to the what, when, and how, family meetings need to also be about how we feel. As family meetings continue, the kids can be responsible for the agenda and much of the discussion. It’s a way to Teach, then Coach, and then Mentor. Make them fun!
The relationships we establish with our children, from the time they are born, are key to their long-term capabilities and success. Our relationships are also central to the long-term engagement we have as a family.
So remember, stop yelling by (1) making sure your children understand that there are consequences for the actions they take and decisions they make and (2) having family meetings and open lines of communication. These changes will make all the difference.
Rick Stephens is a co-founder of Raising Families. With 33 years of experience as a top-level executive at The Boeing Company and having raised four children of his own, he is able to support parents and grandparents by incorporating his knowledge of business, leadership, and complex systems into the family setting. In his “free time” Rick enjoys road biking, scuba diving, visiting his grandkids, and generally trying to figure out which time zone he’s in this week. Read full bio >>