I was talking to a parent the other day, who was mad enough to yell at her five-year-old because he had ripped up a very pretty pop-up book. “Its so frustrating!” she told me. “He just destroys things with out any thought to how much they cost. I could just scream!”
She didn’t yell at her little darling, or spank. She calmly let him know how disappointed she was that he had damaged the book and then they worked together to tape it up. We’ve all been there as parents. We’ve all felt like screaming at our kids for the dumb things they do. Here’s why we should try to keep our cool though…
Mellow kids come from mellow parents. Parents who don’t make everything an emergency produce kids who can deal with what life throws at them with out freaking out. I’ve never seen a child’s behavior change as a result of volume (or hitting for that matter). They may stop what they are doing momentarily, but real behavior change takes time and patience, and love.
What our children learn when they hear us yelling is:
- If I want something bad enough, I need to YELL,
- 2) When Mom or Dad really mean it, they will YELL, and
- 3) I don’t need to pay attention until there is YELLING.
Lets face it, when our children are misbehaving, they are generally in a situation where we are not providing sufficient supervision and/or attention. Children respect and admire parents who set some reasonable limits and remain consistent on those few points. Children want and need a parent who gives them positive attention. Children want to spend time with a parent who is friendly. They resist parents who are yelling. When children get positive attention and feel safe and attached to their parent they are far more likely to cooperate on those few, reasonable, basic, rules.
Is it easy? Not on your life. Is it worth it? Well, to my friend it is. It is to me too. And, when I look into my own son’s eyes and know that he feels safe and loved, I’m pretty sure it is worth it to him.