We have all been there… we’ve all been that yelly-shouty mom.
It usually begins with feeling frustrated that your child is acting up. Your internal steam begins to rise from having to repeat yourself, and you’re trying to be so patient.
Then it happens.
At that moment, you say forget it, and raise your voice in a desperate attempt to get them to stop throwing their Thomas the Train figurines at the TV… in hopes of a moment of sanity and calmness.
It sometimes works. However, it usually results in a crying fit or a to-be-continued episode for later. Either way, it’s not what you were hoping for.
The truth is, while we are all human and do it from time to time, yelling never really works. The reason being that children are continually learning to communicate, and claiming their independence. They are not necessarily “being bad”, they simply feel frustrated that they’re not conveying their need or want to us, resulting in anger or tantrums. When we yell back, it only adds to the cycle of us showing we do not understand them. Therefore, they either get angrier or it will happen again. It really won’t resolve the underlying issue or the actual cause of the outburst.
Here are 3 things I recommend you try instead:
Give yourself a mommy time-out
When you feel hot and about to lose it, take a breather. Give yourself a chance to count to ten, sit down, or walk away momentarily…just to collect your thoughts. Time-outs are great for adults; it allows us to think and come up with a plan, instead of reacting based on pure emotion. Once calm, you will be better equipped to deal with the situation at hand.
Hug it out
Get close to your child, right at eye-level and embrace them. It should help calm them down and allow them to feel supported (and you will love it too). Then try to talk once the tantrum has subsided. Use words like “I see you are upset” or “I understand how you feel” and then offer them a chance to tell you what is bothering them.
Offer alternative choices
You don’t want to give into the tantrum, as it only reinforces negative behaviour. Once you have identified what they want, try to come up with an alternative, versus just saying “no.” For example, if they are demanding a candy bar before dinner, try offering one of two snacks you know they love, and get them to choose. By putting some choice into their hands, you are still giving them a sense of independence without giving in to the undesirable request.
While things don’t go perfectly all the time, a conscious effort to try another method will get easier (it takes practice, so don’t feel bad). The main thing to remember is that, once a child feels they are being heard and understood, it decreases their frustration and, in turn, yours.
Christina Chandra is mom to two toddlers, who keep her learning just as much as they do. She lives in Vancouver, where she is a freelance writer and blogger. Christina loves sharing tips and stories about navigating motherhood, how to eat healthy with the kids, as well as exploring eateries, cafes and play-places. With a background in health and nutrition, she also helps with meal planning and offering support to new moms at Turning Mommy.