Yelling. Any parent with a healthy state of humility will admit that it is something they have a hard time avoiding in their daily parenting methods (unless you are a perfect parent). Many of us in our right minds will admit that we wish we could stop and find a more healthy and productive way to discipline our kids.
I've attended parenting classes, watched seminars and chatted with elders just to try to gain wisdom into the area of being an effective parent. After considering all the different perspectives and words of wisdom, my wife and I have found a solution that has been the most effective so far. The struggle of yelling at our children usually stems from an overwhelming desire to control every little move our kids make. In our minds, we are right. We are the parent and they are the child. We know what's best for them! And if they don't abide by our demands, yelling will be the best way to get our point across, right? In reality though, yelling has way too many negatives and not enough positives. It teaches a bad example to a little human that is essentially a sponge for learning behavior, it is unhealthy to our bodies as it causes stress and it all coalesces to just be a generally bad method.
After struggling to figure out what to do, my wife and I had an epiphany. We forget so quickly that our children are little humans too. They have free will and can technically choose to do what they want to do. We truly cannot control every little decision, word and action they take. Coming together, we realized we needed to shift our perspective to what we can control as parents. What are those things that we can control? A beautiful word we like to call consequences.
When you step out of the mindset of constantly struggling to control what your kids do and entering into a world of focusing on what you can do is liberating. Let me serve an example: Our oldest son is five years old. He loves to play in his room and construct the biggest mess of all messes ever known to humanity. Naturally, it is not aesthetically pleasing to us as parents, it doesn't teach a good way of living to our son and he has also been hurt many times from tripping over the toys on his floor. The battle that would ensue with my wife and I trying to get him to clean his room was a nightmare. The inevitable power struggle occurred and lots of yelling on the part of my wife and I. His room never got cleaned and everybody went to bed mad that night.
Fast forward to a new time when we had adopted this new mindset that we were not going to yell no matter how uncooperative and disobedient he was toward cleaning his room. We decided to focus on what the natural consequence would be should he decide to not clean his room. What was that consequence? Well, our son loves when mom lays in bed with him every night before bed. If he doesn't get it, he usually becomes pretty difficult to get into bed. Knowing this, we approached him again telling him to clean his room. As many would guess, he didn't want to (we were hoping this would happen). So, we decided to tell him, "That is totally fine if you don't want to clean your room. Just know though, when bedtime comes later tonight and you want mom to cuddle with you, it's not going to happen. Because mom really only likes to come cuddle with her son in rooms that are nice, clean and comfortable." Well, this seem to strike a chord in his brain. Within about a half an hour, he had is room cleaned to a state where I barely recognized it. The best part? We never had to yell a single time! My wife and I were able to say a quick sentence and then go back out to our living room and enjoy relaxation. All the while he was in his room frantically getting it cleaned.
I could go on and on for hours on different examples on how this has been so effective. I don't need to cite any major sources or give a great big testimonial. The point remains clear in my few short words. We have to understand that as parents, we are teachers just as much as we are disciplinary figures. But that word discipline is the key word. The root word is disciple. And disciple means to teach. As parents, our main job is to teach. Teachers aren't dictators. Teachers are the most effective when they lead by example. It's time that we break away from our yelling habits and focus more on leading our kids by example.
Through this method, our children will learn healthy methods of communication. All the while they will learn what you are desperately trying to teach them. So the next time you find yourself in a power struggle with your child, try to remember that yelling is a dead-end. We don't like being yelled at ourselves, maybe we should reciprocate that back to our children. You'll be surprised at the outcome.