Your child yells, you’ve had enough. Should you yell back? Of course you shouldn’t. The question is, should you respond, and how?
It is often said that arguing with your child achieves nothing. I tend to believe that theory. No one wins in a shouting match.
There is also a school of thought that ignoring bad behavior allows it or encourages it.
Just for a minute, let’s take the focus off the child and put it on you. How are you feeling in that moment?
At that end of your rope?
That’s the bigger issue.
I’m not here to tell you how to raise your child. I’m more concerned about the impact engaging in shouting matches has on you, your health, your mindset, and blood pressure, along with your overall health and well-being.
Engaging in repeated agreements with your children is not only detrimental to your relationship with that child, but it also sets you up for stress, disappointment, and exhaustion. You must break the cycle for your sake and theirs and master your parental stress response.
So, Courtney, what are you telling me to do, ignore it!? Well, in a way, yes and no.
There are a few things you can do to support your emotional response, parental responsibility, and physical health that may help you both.
Will it eliminate the yelling, not all together, but it can make a difference in how you approach the yelling, react to the yelling, and feel about yelling. It can also begin to change your child’s use of yelling as a tactic for attention.
First and foremost, you need to find a way to not take the “emotional ride” your child is trying to take you on. If your child is yelling, they are experiencing a “big” emotion that they don’t know how to properly communicate to you. Therefore, the yelling is just a byproduct of something else going on. This is when your mindset becomes extremely important.
Acknowledge to your child that you know they are upset, and you’re sorry they are upset. However, nothing can or will change while they remain in that state. Then, you ignore it.
Your child will not calm down immediately because they are likely not listening to you and irritated that they are not getting the "preferred" response from you, but that’s not the issue either, the issue is you remaining calm. Particularly for neurodivergent children (like mine), that may not even be aware of the intensity of their emotions.
Keep them safe, let them know you hear them and understand, but you’re not going on the ride. State your awareness and then remain calm. Just stay calm. This is better for you and your child.
If possible, let them know you need a minute. Walk outside, go to the bathroom, just stay calm, and create space for your child to calm down as well (you may need to stay closer if there is a risk of self-harm or harm to others). But if you can, give them the space to deal with the upset and work through it.
If you want to learn not to react, it's important to remember, this is about you, not about them. You’re going to help them or address the issues; you just need to be calm to do it. The calmer you are the more able you are to deal with your child without yelling back. This is especially important if your child’s behavior typically has you on “high alert” most of the time. Learning to ignore it a bit helps reduce the knee-jerk reaction to it.
This brings us to the next step.
In keeping yourself calm, you are staying in a place where you can make better decisions for you and the child.
Is it safe for your child when you are in a blind rage because you had a difficult day, and the yelling has driven you to your limit? No. Fulfill your greatest responsibility of protecting your child by addressing your stress response first.
Before you even need to stay calm, and “make” space, examine how you have historically dealt with tense situations with this child, previous children, or other situations.
Do you have a short fuse already? Know that part of your responsibility of being a parent is making sure you have the tools and support needed to always approach your role as a parent as your “best self.”
Here’s where a few key interventions can help.
Physical Response and Management
During all the interactions of a yelling match, your breathing is shallow, your stress is high, and your body is tense. Confrontations can be very taxing on your physical health. A depleted physical body cannot support you, is riddled with cortisol, and susceptible to illness.
Get in a good place before all the fireworks even begin. If you know confrontations have been a thing in the past, it’s time to “pre-game.”
Begin by eating a balanced diet with all the “good mood” foods to help set a solid baseline for your physical and emotional health. This does wonders for your emotional response. You have energy to withstand the storm and internal strength to stay strong.
Protein-based foods, foods rich in Omega-3, and Vitamin D help. If you need information on these foods, check out my post “Do You Know the Foods that Support a Good Mood? Find Out Now!” to learn more.
If you need more support for mood balancing beyond diet, investigate supplementing. A few good candidates to help include:
As with any supplement added to the diet, check with your doctor before including them in your daily routine and always take them as directed by the instructions or your physician.
The primary goal is to be in the best place possible to deal effectively and compassionately with the “dra-momma” before it starts and your response will remain balanced, and able to focus on the issue, not the fallout.
The greatest benefit? Having your child see that you will no longer ride the yelling roller coaster with them anymore as well as seeing you in a calm place. Model the behavior you want to see in your child, for your child.
Will the yelling stop? Not completely, and not immediately. But once they realize they are riding alone, they will take the trip less often. This is the big payoff for you and them.
Are you stressed dealing with your child’s actions and yelling? Working with Committed Change Health & Wellness LLC can help you explore strategies to nurture your own selfcare and stress management to be Better4U and Better4All!
Go chill out and start whistling instead of yelling!
Take care and be well,
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