STOP YELLING: Take the Challenge
Yelling: The loudest form of communication anyone can use, done to gain attention.
Many people enter parenthood swearing they will never yell but when for the fourth time in as many days, junior cuts up something valuable with a pair of scissors you swore you hid well beneath everything else in the junk drawer, off you go – yelling with abandon. You become that mom. (You know – the one who needs a time out in a very dark room!)
While everyone yells a time or two, if you find yourself raising your voice often, it’s time to take stock of the situation and try new tactics for behavior modification. We often yell when we feel out of control of a situation. The first time or two you raise your voice; you’ll likely get the attention of whomever you’re angry with. The kids might look at you like you have three heads and stop decorating the walls with their crayons again. If you are struggling with how to handle yelling every once in a while, you can find 5 Tips to Stop Yelling on our Child Development blog.
If yelling becomes a habit, though, your children will start to ignore you and your spouse will likely leave the room – if not the house! – to escape the noise. And then what happens? Everyone begins yelling when they are angry, frustrated, or in need of attention. Screaming becomes the way conflict is handled in the home and, over time, no one is ever heard.
Though I’ve been known to raise my voice a time or two, I learned quickly when teaching school that yelling doesn’t work. You won’t gain someone’s attention for long by screaming at them. We use a ‘counting’ rule. If someone feels frustrated – the girls are angry because they believe I’m not listening, for example, or I’m angry because someone has done something I have asked them not to do – we stop what we are doing and say, “I’m counting.” Then we count. When we are finished, in a calm voice, we explain our frustration. This seems to work well for us, and when it doesn’t, we might ‘remove ourselves from the situation’ for a few minutes until we feel ready to deal with whatever it is that’s frustrating us.
If you find yourself yelling more than you want, and you aren’t sure how to best deal with it in your home, I ran across this great project on The Orange Rhino Challenge. It’s a thirty day challenge to stop yelling in the home! The creator of this site started this project when she noticed she was yelling at her children, and so far, at this writing, she has been 378 days yell-free! (Her initial goal: stop yelling for a year.)
The challenge begins February 25 and runs for one month. Participation is absolutely FREE; simply sign up (by the 22nd) to receive emails with quotes, thoughts, and actions for the day. Share your progress with others on their Facebook page only if you want, and read what others have to say.
I love this idea! I believe the way we change the things that we need to change are by being aware of what we are doing that we shouldn’t be doing – in this case, yelling – and making a conscious effort to consider that thing every day. If your children are old enough, you can even involve them. Tell them you are hoping not to yell as much and you would like them to help you with this. We’ve done similar things in our family with our kids, and having them tell us “hey, you are doing XXX when you said you wanted to stop doing that” has really helped.
Are you a yeller? If so, would you be willing to take the challenge to stop yelling? If not, what do you do to stop yourself from raising your voice?
Image via iStock/vladacanon