My wife and I care for two energetic grandsons, ages 3 and 5 years old. At one time, I found it hard to restrain from yelling at the boys, but I have successfully learned to overcome that urge.
Sure, it is only human to feel and express anger. We feel anger when something goes wrong in our life that needs changing. However, uncontrolled anger, outwardly expressed by yelling is verbal and emotional abuse; some researchers label it as emotional violence. Research finds yelling can be as hurtful as “hitting or spanking.” It is harmful to relationships, especially harmful to relationships with our children, and an obstacle to our responsibility to help children grow into caring, loving, and responsible adults.
The most significant way to help children grow is for adults to set the best example for their children to follow. In order to do that, adults need to know how to control and express their own anger without yelling.
Of course, some of the advice given to control anger is not always doable. When caring for children, behavioral problems may rise spontaneously and there is a need to react quickly; you cannot simply leave the room until you calm down. Be that as it may, here are a few things I have learned to do:
· Look for the humor in your children’s predicament.
· Be proactive. Take action before it gets out of hand. A child’s behavior that can lead to yelling is often foreseeable.
· If you can, take the time to consider how you should respond.
· Learn to be assertive. Assertiveness can replace yelling, and it is a healthy way to express your feelings.
· Practice good listening skills; strive to understand. This is the essence of communication and can facilitate a trusting relationship between you and your children.
· Provide transition time when ending one activity to do another.
· Involve yourself in your child’s play. When a child’s behavior becomes a concern, find an alternate activity to divert their attention away from the unwanted behavior.
· Check your attitude before and throughout every day. Many problems may stem from your outlook and your feelings rather than from your child’s behavior.
· When you would not yell at an adult, don’t give yourself permission to yell at your child.
My everyday goal is to make sure our boys are safe, healthy, and happy. When a day ends up for our boys and me as an I’m Okay you’re Okay day, I know I have succeeded.
Copyright © 2014 Horatio Green