There are many reasons parents yell at kids, including having parents who yelled, feeling frustrated and angry or a desperation to get your kids to listen. You might think that yelling is relatively benign, but parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham disagrees in “10 Steps To Stop Yelling” at her Aha! Parenting website. If you don’t like your parent yelling at you, you can help unplug the yelling button or find ways to short-circuit a yelling match.
Respond when your mom speaks to you, if only to say, “Give me a minute and I’ll be glad to pay attention.” Parents sometimes yell because they believe that their offspring won’t respond to anything else, according to Markham. Ask your mom to walk over and lay a gentle hand on your shoulder if you appear not to have heard her when she spoke to you or ring a bell to get your attention. If you respond to your mom each time she speaks to you, she could feel less inclined to yell because she knows that you are listening.
Decide that it’s time to stop the shouting match with your mom if she thinks you’re not communicating respectfully, writes Janet Lehman, MSW, in her “Tired of Yelling at Your Child? Stop Screaming and Start Parenting Effectively” article on the Empowering Parents website. Whisper when your mom yells, suggests Francesca Castagnoli in “Confessions of a Screamer” at Parenting.com. She might stop yelling long enough to find out if you’re being disrespectful, but at least she will stop yelling and start listening. Remind Mom that you are standing right next to her and don’t need the volume, and then respond to what she wants you to do. Manage your emotions, suggests Markham, to help her manage hers.
Walk away from you mom and tell her you will return when you have your emotions and responses under control if tempers and volume are escalating, suggests Lehman. If you are talking on the phone or video conferencing, terminate the conversation with a promise to return when you are calm and able to deal with her. As an adult, you can tell Mom that you don’t need her to treat you like a kid, and require that she treat you as an adult. Suggest that if she continues to yell at you, you will see her less often, talk to her less often on the phone or on video conferencing.
Have a plan when you communicate with your mom. Consult a therapist who can help you learn to manage your responses better, suggests Lehman. Stop the never-ending argument when you know you and Mom will never find common ground. Accept that your mom won’t change, but you can change your responses by deciding not to let her trip your triggers, according to Chuck Dwyer, Associate Professor at the Penn Graduate School of Education. When you change your responses, hers will have to shift in response.
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Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.
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