I HATE SHOUTING.  Sometimes its good, (e.g. when they do something dangerous), but mostly its a horrid thing, only a few steps from bullying.  So why do I do it? The last week or so I've been trying to track when I get cross enough to shout and why.  I've also been talking to my friends about their shouting habits, and together we have come up with some thoughts on how to avoid shouting so much.


1) Find The Shouting Button: 

Shouting happens when they have pressed your buttons.   So I am now working on understanding my buttons, and ways of deactivating them...

Number one on the list has to be that perennial ignoring what I am asking them to do in the mornings to get ready for school.   As the clock ticks, and the task list is not complete my frustration and my voice rises.

The solution is obvious -  I just need to leave more time so I am not expecting them to do to so many things on their own whilst I brush my own teeth, or get the breakfast.   Somehow I just can't seem to manage this.  When I start to get 'shouty', I now try to tell myself its my fault not theirs.

2) Ditch The Scary Face: 

My son once said to me 'Mummy I don't like your scary face when you shout' ...  I felt awful, but somehow this still isn't enough to stop me.   It did make me think though about the unintended messages your kids get when you are cross.  I know they are in a world of their own, oblivious to what is going on in my world.  Why should they understand what is in my head, and worry about all the things I have to fit in before I get to work.  Why should they be scared, because I am cross?

3) Break the grumpy dynamic:  Ever get to the point when the scales have tipped, and you are spending more time arguing than loving?  Some days the first thing my oldest seems to do is moan or be non-compliant ...  the day slides from bad to worse.  Sometimes the only thing to do is to take 5, jump on the floor and tickle him till he cries with laughter, and then somehow things get better.

4) Emotions Vs Logic:  In my family we are all logical beasts, that is save my youngest, who is just one great ball of emotion...   I just can't quite work out how to handle it, but now I realise that there is not point using logic on him when all he wants is a cuddle.  There's not point shouting if its just not going to change the behaviour.

5) Scream in the garden:   Yes I'm sure my neighbours think I'm a fruitcake, but sometimes I do actually go and scream in the garden...   Its good to let it all out, when you get wound up, and its also good to let the kids know its not something specific they have done that's making you so cross!

6)  Don't try to do so much:  Shouting for me often happens when I am trying to fit too much in.  Kid stuff always takes 10 minutes longer than you plan, so plan in 10 extra, rather than get wound up.   Most of my shouting happens when I am really tired, and still have loads to do.   Its not their fault, but maybe sometimes its just best to get them to bed early so you can too.

7)  Never shout in public: Ever see another parent really shout at their kids and think 'poor child'?   Don't ever let that be you.  Sometimes a calm clear voice can work just as well, and its much nicer for everyone..   I guess we can all think of a few times when we have lost it in a public place ...   I now walk them outside and give them a good, quiet telling off, which they really hate, (but it works!)

8)  Stand back and try something different:  If what you are doing is not working, and you are having to shout to get them to do something, try a different way.   Is it really that important they do this thing?  Will they grow out of it naturally?  Are you consistent, do you make 'threats' you don't follow through?  Are they being rewarded somehow for the behaviour?   Are you rewarding the good behaviours as well as the bad?   What do they do that is lovely, how can you celebrate that and make more of your interactions with them positive?

9) Take a break....  find a way of taking a time out (either real or virtual) - go for a coffee, take them somewhere where they can burn their energy off whilst you can relax ..   call in a friend to watch them for an hour.

10) Shout when Shouting is Good:  Shouting is fab when you are running down a hill in the middle of nowhere ... its amazing when you are shouting for fun..  how often do you do that with you kids?   It is good to shout sometimes, if they are being dangerous, if they are being REALLY bad, but use it too much and everyone will be sad.

What do you think about shouting??