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How to Stop Yelling in the Family

by Tiffany Raiford

Asking your kids for the umpteenth time to stop throwing the ball in the house, running in the hallway or eating in the living room isn’t always easy to do in a calm manner. As a parent, you might sometimes feel that yelling is the only way to get the point across to your children, seeing as how asking nicely didn’t work the first time. And if your kids witness you yelling when upset, they will likely do the same when something upsets them. Frustration resulting in yelling is a common occurrence when you're dealing with hectic schedules, but you don't have to succumb to raising your voice.

Create a structured living plan and stick to it, advises James Lehman, M.S.W., child behavior therapist writing for the EmpoweringParents website. When you keep your family on a schedule, it can help you eliminate some of the frustration that leads to yelling. For example, if all weekday morning and evening routines are the same, you can resort to simply pointing out to your kids that it’s a school night and that means they need to have their homework complete and be ready for bed by a certain time. Once your kids are used to a routine, they are less likely to argue when you remind them that it’s bedtime, which makes it less likely that you will become angry enough to yell.

Make it a point to learn to rate your anger and handle it appropriately, advises Lyndon Waugh, author and Atlanta-based clinical family psychiatrist. For example, when you feel angry or frustrated, rate what you're feeling on a scale of 1 to 10. If you rate your anger at a 1 or 2, simply, let it go; however, if your anger is at the 8 to 10 stage, remove yourself from the situation to calm yourself. Take a walk or do some deep breathing until you calm down and approach the situation again.

Teach your kids to rate their own levels of anger and frustration as well. Explain to them that if something is upsetting them to a high degree, they need to temporarily remove themselves from the situation and calm themselves, such as by counting to 10 or going to their rooms until they calm down.

Tell your kids that you do not want yelling in the house -- and talk to them about yelling when it occurs. According to Lehman, pointing out to your kids that you think that there’s too much yelling going on and that you don’t think it’s helpful in resolving a situation can help you all make a change. Tell your kids that you do not intend to yell anymore and that you’d like them to do the same. You can even tell them that if someone starts yelling, they're free to walk away and refuse to talk to the person who's yelling until he stops.

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