Your child is screaming the whole way through the grocery store. They won’t comply with chores or they are going through a phase where they are being unkind or aggressive with siblings. As hard as it is, you are trying to keep calm but you are feeling your nerves rattle. First, walk away and calm down. Then, use these strategies to parent your child and learn how to discipline without yelling or even raising your voice.
Help Your Child Understand that They are Responsible for Their Behavior
If your child is old enough, explain to her that she is the only one who is ultimately responsible for her own behavior. No matter how imposing a figure you are, the reality is that you do not want to force your child to do anything and learning to discipline without yelling can be a positive way of empowering your child. You can impose consequences, though. First, discuss negative consequences upfront. Tell Billy or Jane that if they hit their brother once more, they will not get to watch TV or some other screen time. They won’t be able to go to Richard or Emily’s birthday party this weekend, or they won’t go to the swimming pool as you have promised. You have to take away privileges in order for them to learn from their mistakes. Put a chair in a corner and have them sit in it, timing the microwave dependent on their age. For instance, if your child is two, the microwave is set for two minutes.
They won’t be able to go to Richard or Emily’s birthday party this weekend, or they won’t go to the swimming pool as you have promised. You have to take away privileges in order for them to learn from their mistakes. Put a chair in a corner and have them sit in it, timing the microwave dependent on their age. For instance, if your child is two, the microwave is set for two minutes. Also consider that your child might have trouble regulating his or her activity levels and you might consider other ways to calm your child.
On the same note, praise your child for good behavior. If they do not bite their brother or sister, give them a hug or a high-five to show them that this behavior was good. Use a reward system if they are struggling with behavior, such as sticky charts. Remember that there are good and positive parenting behaviors that your child will respond to. After not biting their brother five times, which is equivalent to five stickers, there would be a reward. Small steps such as these can really help a behavior turn around.
How to Discipline without Yelling by Speaking Softly
Speaking firmly with a soft voice is also a great way to discipline children. This is considered talking to your children on a business level, giving them directions. Parents use a stern and gentle voice, but they say what they have to say in an effective tone. The calmer you speak, the more impact your words have on your child. They are less likely to be scared of you and more likely to come to you with more difficult matters as they start growing up.
Similarly, parents need have clear rules and follow through on them if they are going to practice discipline without yelling. Children love to test their parents. If you tell your child to turn off the television—and they don’t—what is your reaction? Instead of yelling, walk over and turn off the television. Then, give your child the option of going to their room or giving up television for the next two days. Empty threats and nagging don’t work, but if you show your child that you’re in charge, they will believe you when you call your bluff.
Finally, parents have to also examine reasons they yell and learn to regulate their emotions. Are your emotions out of control? Are you portraying good anger management for your child? Looking inwardly at yourself could give yourself answers to why your child is acting out. Before you rush to discipline, stop. Ask yourself: Am I handling this situation in a way that’s appropriate and effective? If you’re raising your voice, why are you doing it? Use raising your voice as the last possible option. Children don’t enjoy being yelled at; talk to them calm and they’ll respect you more.