As parents, we all have many things going on in our lives. Whether we have chosen to work outside the home or not, there are still things that press in for our time. The most well-meaning of parents still need to have a little time in order to get things done and sometimes this leads to tension with the kids as frustration escalates. What can we do in order to calm down and speak lovingly, or at least civilly, to our children? They certainly deserve that from us.
One of the first things we have to remember is that children learn how to behave from us. If we are constantly yelling, they will think that this is appropriate and expected behavior. Even from a young age, children will begin to emulate us, which, in turn, can exacerbate the problem. In other words, when they are yelling at us, that can cause us to yell at them more, and so on and so forth.
Something that I find I have a hard time with is keeping my anger in check when I am not really angry at them. I always feel terrible when I have yelled out of anger and frustration, knowing full well that my children did not cause me to be angry or frustrated (usually). The only problem is that I can’t take it back. Once the yelling has commenced, they are affected by it, one way or another. Depending on their ages, children can have wildly different reactions to being yelled at in a situation that did not require a raised voice. Some children will get angry and yell back, while other children will shrink back and become very quiet. After many times of this behavior, it starts to become standard. Your children will either start getting angry at you more easily for your outbursts or they will begin to fear you and not be open to your calm times.
Another thing that parents tend to forget about is how easy it is to have a short fuse when they are not properly fed or rested. We often try very hard to make sure that our children are taken care of that we sacrifice our own health and wellness. I know I get cranky when I have not eaten a proper meal or haven’t had a good night’s rest. Realizing that I have a short fuse during these times will help me to see the situation for what it is (i.e. not a time to get angry over spilled milk) and instead help your child clean up the mess, give them a kiss on the cheek, and ask your spouse to spend time with them while you cool down. Better yet, take that opportunity for a bath or a nap and then cuddle with your child when you are well-rested.
Yelling, whether it is at your children or at your spouse, does not set a good tone for your household. Do your best to take care of yourself and keep your emotions in check. If you find yourself having a hard time doing so, always remember that getting help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of personal strength that you have realized that you can’t go it alone and you want the best for your family.