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5 Ways To Get Your Kids To Listen Without Yelling

family meeting

We’ve all yelled at our kids at one time or another. Of course, this isn’t something we want to do, but with the stresses in life and juggling multiple problems and issues we can’t always help it.

Studies have shown that consistently yelling at your children could make matters worse in the long run. It also sets the example that if you want someone to do something you need to yell.

This will undoubtedly cause a downward spiral which could lead to bad behaviour, a lack of confidence and worse, become non-effective as time goes on.

This may also cause future behavioral issues, for example, when your child is at school or at home with a sibling.

They may feel that the only way to communicate what they want is to yell instead of resolving problems or issues in a calm and peaceful manner.

Here's how to discipline without yelling: 

Establish Clear Rules

Right from the get-go, if you establish clear rules for your children you’ll find that you won’t need to resort to yelling as much. I say “as much” because in reality we are all human and there’s only so far most of us can be stretched before we lash out.

Where possible, keep a written list of household rules on the kitchen fridge so that it is displayed prominently for everyone to see.

When these rules are broken, your children need to know that there will be immediate consequences. Try to resist the urge to yell, nag or moan. The idea is to establish the notion that rules can’t be broken no matter what.

Be Trustworthy

Of course, this goes without saying. Your kids need to know they can count on you at any time.

If you don’t show that your words can be trusted and that you constantly fail to act on them, your children will start to learn that they don’t actually mean much.

By enforcing the rules to the letter, it quickly teaches your children that you are serious and no matter which parent they complain to will be met with the same result based on those written rules.

Be Precise

If you are not precise, this means your rules and actions can sometimes be misinterpreted. That’s why effective communication is necessary.

If you want your child to understand something, it’s a good idea to ask them to repeat it back to you

That way you know they have listened, heard what you have said and to repeat it pretty much verifies that they understand. In essence, the idea for everyone to be on the same page.

The result is, everyone knows where they stand, there are few if any grey areas and the need to yell out of frustration is reduced.

Involve them in boundary-setting

This is where a lot of people go wrong. They don’t involve their children when setting up the boundaries.

Where possible, have a family meeting and get everyone involved.

You will be surprised how engaged each child is and willing to remind each other what the rules are. 

Now, this doesn’t need to be some form of dictatorship where your rules are the only ones and that’s final. The family meeting is a way for everyone to have their say and be involved in the rule setting.

Draw up a contract

You could take things one step further and actually draw up a written contract. Of course, this may come across as a little extreme. However, many families operate and get on well with family contracts and even sign them if they feel the need.

This plan of action is entirely up to you. Some children learn about rules and contracts very early on in life and have no problem when introduced to them later on in life. In fact, the fact that they get the chance to participate will encourage family discussion and even debate.

Recognise appropriate behavior

Now it doesn’t always have to be the stick (in metaphorical terms), the carrot can also be a good incentive for your kids :)

Whenever they have done something well or achieved something either at school or at home, it’s a good idea to congratulate them and even provide a prize or gift

This will positively reinforce the benefits of following the rules and the boundaries you have laid out. Combine all of these actions together and the need to yell and shout is dramatically reduced.

Discuss Negative Consequences Ahead of Time

This point can be tied directly with the rules on the fridge or the contract.

When these consequences have been discussed ahead of time most children will follow the logic that if they don’t comply with the rules, then they may have privileges taken away or some sort of time out punishment (standing in the corner, going upstairs to their room with no electronics allowed etc).

It’s funny how things change so quickly. When most of us were growing up, the TV was used as a form of punishment. I.e. if you do something wrong, you won’t be able to watch any TV. 

Nowadays it’s mobile phones and tablets. This is arguably an even stronger punishment as most kids can’t imagine being without these devices

Provide Positive Reinforcement

Even though we have discussed the negative consequences. It seems only fair to mention the positive actions you can take so that you don’t have to yell and scream at your children. 

Whenever possible, always praise your children when they have followed the rules (i.e. doing their chores without constantly being asked). Even though they are young, they will certainly appreciate this. 

This form of positive reinforcement should result in less attention-seeking behaviour and letting them know just how grateful you are.

So, it’s a good idea to set aside a little time in the day to motivate and encourage your child to keep up the good work. 

You could even have some form of reward system where they can collect stars or stickers.

If they are struggling with certain behavioral problems and they manage to improve it. Then a reward system is one of the best ways to motivate them and get them feeling good about themselves.

Examine the Reasons You Yell

Some people yell at their children for the smallest things (mainly because they are now in the habit of doing it). However, take a minute and look at the reasons why you are yelling. 

Oftentimes, you might need to take a look at yourself and question whether you should be yelling and why you feel the need to

You may find that you are having your own personal problems and somehow they have affected the relationship you have with your children and the way you treat them. 

If you find yourself yelling because your child hasn’t listened the first time you told them something, you might consider different ways to explain without the need of raising your voice and getting upset. 

Most of the problems arise with the earlier points of not having clear boundaries, setting out clear rules and not following through on the consequences.

Follow Through With a Consequence

Lastly, and this pretty much ties all the points together. Always follow through on the consequences of your child not following the rules. Instead of empty warnings and repeating what will happen you need to show your child you mean business. 

There are no ifs, but’s or maybe’s. If the rules aren’t followed then follow through with the consequences.

Being consistent is key and with this comes positive change. You should find that their behavior should change overnight without the need of you constantly nagging and yelling at them.

What are the positive impacts?

Your child will take you and your partner seriously

There’s nothing worse than a child losing confidence in a parent. If they do, then all respect is lost and turning the situation around becomes ten times harder. But, following through with the consequences this time and every time will result in a certain amount of respect and your child will start to take you seriously and no longer calling your bluff.

Your child will learn right from wrong

Your child is on a constant journey of learning, both at home and at school. This is a good way to teach them right from wrong as well as the values you hold. Upholding the consequences means they know without any doubt what behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t.

This may sound harsh on the face of it, but conditioning them to follow the rules you have laid out in preparation for life. You can get what you want in this world, but breaking the rules and worse, breaking the law, is certainly not the way to go about it. 

When your child realises this, they understand why you have set the rules and why there have to be consequences if they are not followed. With this in mind, they are more likely to listen to what you have to say

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