I am one guilty parent. There are times that I would loose my temper and yell at Gabby and Nicco, especially when I am really tired from work. At nights when I would put them to sleep and they wouldn't want to and they still wanted to play and I on the other hand really wanted to get some rest and call it a night. Very bad mommy behavior I know! My kids being in the age of exploring, Gabby is 5 years old and Nicco is 3, they would really try to get our attention. But they don't really deserve such kind of response from me, I know being tired, etc is not an excuse to yell. And I am really trying my very best to show them how much I love and care for them.
- to feel loved
- to feel secure
- to feel safe
- to feel that they are worthwhile
- to feel caring limits
- to feel that they can succeed at some things
- to feel that they can contribute - be helpful
- opportunities to explore and try new things.
- Some families are loud. It is a pattern in the family to speak loudly or shout and children who are brought up in this atmosphere get used to the noise and are not likely to be harmed by it (unless the yelling is putdowns, or scary).
- Sometimes children from these families have trouble at school because they have not learned to respond to directions when they are given more softly.
- If parents shout at children when they are angry the child can feel the parents' anger and it can make children fearful.
- If parents shout at each other, young children may not understand that they are safe and it can be terrifying, especially if one of the parents leaves or gets upset so the children no longer feel safe in the care of the people they trust to look after them.
- If parents often criticise each other in front of the child it can endanger the child's security and damage their confidence in themselves - because each parent is part of them as well.
- If a family is always used to shouting and competing for 'air-space' the children may not learn to be good listeners and to allow others a chance to talk.
- Shouting can be the result of not being able to set a limit early enough before the child has crossed the line where you can't put up with it anymore.
- It is important to be able to recognize when you need to stop what is happening before you get to this line.
- As soon as you feel that this is happening you need to stop whatever you are doing and the children are doing, and do something that will help change the pace eg:
- sit everyone down and make a drink
- watch a video
- read a favourite story or play it on a tape
- play a favourite, not-too-exciting game
- get outside eg take everyone for a walk.
Other things parents can do
- Let children know often that you love them and that you like them and you are proud of them, to make up for the occasional times when you may say damaging things.
- Let children know that mistakes are important because they are a way of learning.
- Encourage children to try.
- Let children know that you value their help.
- If you are naturally loud and yell a lot explain to your children that that is the way you talk and you are not angry with them.
- If you are angry with your partner try to sort it out away from the children.
- If you are angry with the children take a few minutes or as long as you need before you tell them - have cup of coffee, play some music, go for a walk or whatever helps you to calm down.
- If you do shout, try to make sure you do not say things that are harmful to children or put them down.
- If you do shout a lot, your children are likely to shout too. They are copying you, not trying to "get at" you.
- Talk about what you would like rather than blame or threaten - eg "I want you to help me pick up the toys". (See the topic 'Discipline - what is discipline?).
- Listen to yourself - to what you say and to how you say it.
- If things are getting on top of you and you are feeling angry a lot of the time, get some support, either from your partner or a good friend or a counselor.
- Remember that what you do occasionally is not what harms children, it is what goes on most of the time. If most of the time your relationship is good, that is what will count.