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Support and Advice from TNPC's Parenting Experts

Has this happened in your house? You ask your kids to do something and they say “in a minute” and you go off like a fire cracker. And if they do something wrong, you don’t just tell them, you yell?

If you answered yes then here are some ideas:
Physically, try leaving the room immediately, saying nothing, (that alone will
shock your kids) and locking yourself in the bathroom. Look in the mirror as you count to ten and breathe; your face will tell you when you are calm enough to speak in a normal voice. Tell them you are too upset to talk more right now, but you WILL want to talk to them about this in five minutes. (That will buy you time to think of what you really want to say, and say it calmly.)

Mentally, decide ahead on an image of a place you have been that you love. Instead of opening your mouth, shut your eyes and go to that special place. Imagine yourself there, counting to ten. Or, emotionally, think of your kids as exchange students that are just living with you, not your own children. This will give you some emotional distance, so that you can think about what you are saying and how to say it.

If your children are old enough to try to assist you with this problem, plan a time in which you can have a serious chat with them. Share your feelings about the yelling, and ask them for help; they might surprise you. Explain how you “caught” it, and how much you hate it and would like to change. Ask them what exact things make you scream or yell the loudest. Then ask that they try to stop pushing your buttons, if they ever do this purposefully.

Ask them for ideas too. Should you try to whisper as loud as possible instead of yelling, or carry a bell and ring it loudly when you feel the urge. Remember that humor always helps diminish yelling, but after the urge to yell is gone, you still need to calmly and firmly tell the kids what they need to hear.

Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country.Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country. You can read more from Evelyn at her web site: www.askevelyn.com

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