Here are some quick, effective tips from my book 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child to help you avoid the yelling trap with your child or teen.
1. Make a Commitment to Stop Yelling
I know the idea of making a promise to yourself to stop yelling may sound overly simple and possibly fruitless. If, however, you really commit to staying mindful of your goal to not yell, you will more likely succeed. Changing behaviors all begins with making yourself accountable with firm, positive intentions.
2. Manage Your Expectations
If you don't want to yell, make it easier not to do so. Working smarter goes a lot further than just trying harder. So if you're always yelling at the kids to put their toys away, put a limit on how many they can have out. Make it easier to not yell and you'll reduce the amount you do.
3. Don’t take it all so personally.
If you stop and think about it, most of the time you yell at your child, it’s because you are taking her behaviors too personally. Realize that your child, even if trying to provoke you, is really behaving in this manner because of her own struggles, not yours. Remembering this will help you not get so frustrated and your risk of yelling will be much lower.
4. Don't sell yourself short if you slip.
Rememeber also that the only perfect people are in the cemetery. I assume you don't want to be perfect, at least not for a long time! If you slip and yell at your child or teen, try to avoid beating yourself up. Avoid the "Shouldn't Trap." Instead of thinking, "I shouldn't have yelled", try saying, "I would have liked not to yell, and will use this slip as a reminder to keep working on it."
Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein is a psychologist, personal and executive coach, and motivational coach in the greater Philadelphia area. He has been on the Today Show, Radio, and has written four popular books, including 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child.