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I screamed at my child… What should I do?

Check out our 5 steps!

At times, you may feel that you need to resort to screaming in order to get your child to listen. It is common for parents to feel like they need to raise their voices to get their kids to cooperate. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Screaming at your child is an ineffective way to communicate and can cause major damage to your relationship with them. Not only is it ineffective, but it also models this behavior for your child, who may then resort to screaming at you when they are frustrated.

However, we all make mistakes, and yelling at your child is one of them. So, what do we do when it happens? It is important to take steps to repair the relationship and try to prevent it from occurring again.

1. Take a Break

First, take a break. Wait to be calm again before approaching your child. If you are on the verge of losing your temper again, take a few deep breaths before continuing the conversation. This will help you keep your cool and give you a chance to collect your thoughts. Check out this article for some fun calming breathing techniques.

2. Apologize

Second, take ownership of your mistake and apologize once you are calm. Acknowledge what happened and why it was wrong. Explain that you were angry and that you should not have taken it out on them.

Make sure you do not blame your child by saying something like “sorry for screaming. BUT I screamed because you weren't listening”.

Instead, take responsibility and show vulnerability: “I'm sorry for screaming earlier. I was feeling very angry when I kept asking you to clean up your toys and you were not doing so. I understand that I was feeling upset, but it was not ok for me to scream at you. Next time, I will take big breaths when I feel very upset. I love you”. If you’d like to learn more about being vulnerable as a parent, check out this article.

3. Focus on Problem-Solving

Third, focus on problem-solving. Try to work with your child to come up with a solution to the problem. This will not only help them to understand their behaviours, but will also enable them to develop their problem-solving skills.

For instance, you could ask them, "It's very frustrating for me when I have to repeat myself because I feel like I'm not being heard. How can I communicate with you in a way that will make it easier for you to listen to me?".

4. Provide Positive Reinforcement

Fourth, provide positive reinforcement. Praise your child for their positive behaviors and let them know that you value and appreciate them. This will help to build their self-esteem and will help them to learn the importance of making good choices.

For example, if your child listens when you ask them to do something, you could say: “I noticed you put away your shoes when I asked you, thank you for that, I really appreciate it.” To further understand the difference between reinforcement and bribing, check out our article on the subject.

5. Show the Example

Finally, practice what you preach. If you want your child to learn how to manage their emotions in an effective and healthy way, it is imperative that you do the same. By setting a positive example, you will be able to provide your child with a strong foundation for how to effectively manage their emotions.

Yelling at your child is never an ideal situation, but it's important to remember that we all make mistakes. Be kind to yourself, own your mistake, and then focus on ways to make the situation better. Doing this will help to repair the bond between you and your child, and will also help to prevent it from happening again.

For those times when parenting is particularly difficult, don't hesitate to reach out for support. We are here for you.


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