Alternatives to yelling at your children

Alternatives to yelling at your children

Against spanking? Maybe it’s time for you to denounce yelling, too.

Although more and more parents are leaving that horrible, Cro-Magnon practice of spanking behind, plenty of them continue to do it. Some are completely shameless about it, too—I know a family who spanks their little boy openly and often right in front of us! Talk about pain and humiliation. I feel so sorry for him and cross my fingers that he will turn out okay.

How come we’re told to mind our own business when we object to spanking, yet we are expected to speak up if we see someone beating an animal or an adult? Why are children, the most vulnerable and rights-less people of our world, not protected, too?

If you are against the violence of spanking, perhaps you are willing to stop yelling, too. If you’re a parent who yells or who has yelled before—and who hasn’t ever had a bad day?—you already know that it doesn’t work. You probably also feel like a jerk after you do it because, let’s face it, is there anyone on earth who likes to be yelled at? You know how it feels, either from arguments or your own childhood, and you wouldn’t want to do that to another human being, much less the most precious human in your life.

You might find Dr. Laura Markham’s column especially helpful. She’s the author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids and a psychologist who helps parents be peaceful, loving guides in their children’s lives rather than totalitarian dictators. I have only been a fan of Dr. Laura’s for a few months, but I am in love with her message, her methods, and delivery (she’s much kinder and more patient than I am with my fellow parents). I wish that every parent could have access to this loving book—and to her online articles, as well.

Another great idea I recently came across is this recent article depicting five alternatives to screaming at your children, and I think it is a particularly important read. It’s from the Orange Rhino Challenge, an online challenge to get people to stop yelling for a full year. Doesn’t that sound heavenly, by the way? I know lots of parents who want to stop yelling but don’t know how.

This is a fantastic resource that I plan on picking over quite a bit in the coming weeks. There are some really unique ideas, like posting a photo of your child as a baby to remember her innocence. That said, all of the children of the mom giving advice are ages six and under—and it wasn’t until my daughter turned seven when she really started to push my buttons, scream, and act so meanly I was flabbergasted. Will these techniques work in my house as we strive for mindful anger management and more? I’m willing to try it to find out, and I hope you are, too.