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Guest Column: Dr. Missy, Feelings Helper

No-scream Parenting

Screaming, yelling, and shouting at children as your main disciplinary method does not work. If it worked then you wouldn’t have to keep doing it. Children react by either yelling back at you in anger or they cry because they feel scared which can produce anxious behaviors. Some children learn to tune parents out and they ignore your blaring voice.

Screaming parents often produce screaming kids. Then the cycle of screaming continues into future generations. Children learn to scream at their siblings, pets, and friends when upset. Helping our children to manage emotions is an important life lesson. Mouth management is showing our kids that words can hurt and they are in charge of what they say with their brain and lips and how they say it. Voice tone is a large part of communication. Turn the decibels down when you talk to your kids.

How do you as a parent learn to stop screaming at your children? Visit the Internet website www.screamfree.com and read about the ScreamFree Parenting Program. “ScreamFree Parenting is not just about lowering your voice. It’s about learning to calm your emotional reactions and learning to focus on your own behavior more than your kids’ behavior . . . for their benefit.” Caretakers will learn how to manage their own emotions and discipline with calmness instead of anger. Children do not learn well when taught out of anger.

There are six keys to being a ScreamFree parent:

  1. Give your child physical and emotional space and see children as individuals in their own right, with their own lives, decisions and futures.
  2. Don’t preach or threaten.
  3. Be an advocate for your child’s development.
  4. Change your vocabulary and don’t label children or pigeonhole how they see themselves. Labels can be very destructive. Avoid labeling your children as “the bad child” and “the good child” or the “trouble-maker.”
  5. See yourself as being responsible to your children and not for them.  For example, when your child throws a temper tantrum in Wal-Mart, you’re not responsible for it, but you are responsible for how you handle it.
  6. Know that the greatest thing you as a parent can do for your kids is to learn to focus on your own emotions, actions, and reactions.

 

Know your buttons and your triggers. We all have triggers but just owning your buttons does not mean you do not have to make changes. Are you set off by backtalk, power struggles, a smarty attitude, defiance? Make a plan and teach yourself what you can do when you’re triggered in order to respond differently and more effectively. Do you get infuriated when your teenagers are disrespecting you? Take your own timeout and cool down before you tackle the problem. Self-control will prevent feelings of guilt and regret.
Visit www.kidsinthehouse.com and watch videos. Talk to your partner and other parents about how they parent without yelling. If the babysitter and grandparents use screaming to discipline then communicate with them about no-screaming solutions.

Do you scream at your spouse or partner in front of your kids? Children learn by watching what adults do to each other and they repeat it with others.

Take the parent challenge. Can you go a week without screaming at your child? Can you go a day without yelling? Can you go an hour without shouting? Try it and see what happens.

Parents who need help with their own frustration and anger issues visit a therapist to learn about emotional regulation and anger management. Caregivers can learn new parenting skills and attend family counseling with the entire family. Parents aren’t perfect but you can learn to communicate without screaming.

 

Dr. Missy, Ph.D., is a feelings helper, child therapist, consultant, educator, and self-syndicated columnist. She provides therapeutic services at Affirmations, Columbus, Ohio. Contact her at [email protected].

 

 

 

 

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