Children are our greatest treasures; they are the light and joy of their parents’ lives, as well as their greatest inspiration. Children, however, are new to this world, which makes it very difficult for them to adapt and learn the ‘rules’.
Being very curious and inquisitive, they always ask questions, but on the other hand, they can also be stubborn and this can result in their parents losing patience. The question that bothers many parents: how to get kids to listen without yelling? While yelling will certainly get their attention, there are better ways to do so.
First things first – you need to face the facts and set reasonable expectations from your children. When they’re very young, kids touch everything and won’t hesitate to put toys, rocks, and dirt into their mouths. As they age it seems as if they’re becoming more difficult – preschoolers will ask why 350 times a day, and school-aged kids won’t do heir chores or their homework at reasonable times.
It’s easy to see why so many parents are frustrated and feel like they should pull their hair out. On the other hand, when our expectations are in line with the abilities of our children, we’ll be better able to ask things from them in such way that yelling and hitting will no longer be necessary.
Avoid hurried commands
It’s easy to lose patience when you’re running late and your kids just won’t put on their shoes and jackets. Instead of yelling at them to do so, however, you should change the tactic. When you stop yelling at the top of your lungs from the hallway that they should come down because you’re late and take a different approach, you’ll soon discover that they will listen to you better.
It’s important to connect to the child, especially if they’re too busy playing or watching TV. Approach them and pat them on the shoulder or the leg. When they look at you, lock eyes with them and tell them calmly that “it’s time to put away the toys and put on the shoes”.
Change your language
Not only do you get better results when you change your tone, but also when you change your vocabulary. Dealing with strong-willed children is always a challenge, and when they hear words such as must, have to, need, and can’t, they will probably be upset and more likely to refuse to cooperate.
When you change the way you say things, you’ll see that you’re getting a lot more done. Instead of “You have to clean up immediately” you can say “It’s time to put away your toys”, and instead of “Come down for dinner at once” you could try saying simply “It’s time for dinner”.
This is much easier said than done, but it’s also one of the best things you can do when faced with a disobedient (and even rude) child. When they talk back, refuse to listen, and act out, the easiest way to get their attention immediately is to raise your voice. On the other hand, after you do this a few times, your raised voice won’t shock them anymore, and they won’t listen or will even yell back.
To avoid this mess entirely, try to stay calm when kids start acting out and don’t react to their outbursts. Instead, respond by calmly explaining why you’re asking them to do something or act a certain way. This way, you will show them that you see them as your equal, and teach them to listen to your reasons.
Acknowledge their feelings
Let’s face it – wouldn’t anyone like to play and watch cartoons rather than do some chores, homework, or go shopping for groceries with their parents? When you cut your child’s favorite activity short, you can expect some sort of rebellion. When this happens, don’t wave off and dismiss their feelings because it will make them even more upset.
Instead, try to show them that you really understand how they feel by making eye contact, getting down on your knees, and saying “I understand that you feel upset because you want to watch more cartoons”, “I know you’re mad and want to play more”. When you acknowledge their feelings and show them that you hear them, you’re actually helping them listen to you even though you’re not yelling.
Setting the limits on time
It’ often the case that parents don’t actually want to deal with tears, cries, and outbursts of their children so they avoid setting the limits early on in their life. But when you’ve spent years allowing them to do as they please, how can you get toddlers to listen to you without yelling once you actually want to set limits?
They might stop paying attention to your raised voice but it will still trigger anxiety symptoms in them and make your communication more complicated. When you set a limit early enough, you will avoid plenty of problems in the first place so it won’t have to come to you having to yell at your children.
Don’t back down
After you’ve made a decision not to raise your voice at your kids, you need to stick to that decision and always try to find new ways to communicate with them without yelling. When your kids are disobedient, stubborn, or plain mean, it will be easy for you to lose patience and raise our voice to make them hear you (and obey), but remember that they will learn to ‘block’ you out.
While it will certainly take a while for everyone in the family to adapt to these alternative methods, you will soon see the progress in your relationship and communication with your child, and that’s something every family needs.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about toddlers, preschoolers, or pre-teens, children will always find a way to upset and/or annoy their parents. Snapping when you lose patience is common, but there are many other ways to make your kids listen to you. Parents should learn how to discipline a child without hitting and yelling because such approaches are harmful to the child’s psyche. Even though such ‘alternative’ ways might not be as effective immediately, they’re great for both parents and children in the long run.