How much parental shouting is normal?(20 Posts)
I have a toddler and I'm finding myself raising my voice more often as it seems to be the only way he will listen to me sometimes. Our conversations often go like this
-ds bangs hard toy on glass door
-me "ds please don't bang that toy on the door because the door is glass and it will break if you bang it, come and look at this book with mummy"
-ds continues to bang the door and days "no mummy!"
-me "ds, do NOT bang the door!"
-ds continues to bang the door
-me "MUMMY SAID DO NOT BANG THE DOOR IT WILL BREAK!!"
I have a newborn (who wants to breastfeed constantly) so it's not always possible to be right there with a super fun distraction every time, although I do use distraction/calmly physically removing him from the situation when possible.
My mum was very shouty and we were also smacked (not excessively, no more than most of my friends) so I'm not sure of what is a normal level of voice raising. I don't and wouldn't smack my dc and I don't say mean things to them I just say what I have said nicely and calmly (and been ignored) loudly. I praise good behavior and ds really is quite a well behaved toddler but it's like he thinks he knows better and I'm just spoiling his fun by telling him not to do dangerous things.
I'm feeling like I'm a pretty crap parent at the moment, I think I was a pretty good parent when I had one dc but now I have 2 I'm worried that my shouting/voice raising is damaging ds but I'm at a loss as to how to change things.
It's more to do with tone of voice than volume. And emphasis. And use of "The Stare".
I also do not buy into the parenting school of thought that says things should be discussed or explained. For me the above discussion would go:
-ds bangs hard toy on glass door
-me "The door will break if you bang that toy on the glass." then:
<spoken slowly with direct eye contact while holding the wrist containing toy>: "Do not bang the toy on the door again" Followed by ten seconds of "The Stare". Then "OK?"
- I would expect an "OK Mummy" or "Yes Mummy" reply to show he heard and understood.
-If ds continues to bang the door
-me: Toy removed from DSs hand. "I said do NOT bang the door!". End of issue. DS will probably cry but that's tough love for you.
- If DS had dared to say something like "no mummy!" above then he would have been sent to his room for being cheeky in addition to the above.
I would agree that tone rather than volume. I'd also add consequences into the equation - ie after the first request to stop, say If you bang that toy on the door again I will put it on the high shelf for the rest of the morning.
I would also say though that while I have every intention of continuous positive parenting, there are times I shout. I don't think it helps (tends to escalate a situation rather than have the desired effect) but I'm human, and don't always get it right. And I never shouted when I had one child, it started when I had two, and I was tired, and harassed, and couldn't be 100% focused on DD1 and intervening before it got to the stage I was in danger of shouting. So I'd say cut yourself some slack, and if you're managing the positive parenting most of the time, you're doing fine.
We rarely shout. Maybe once every few months because I see it as utterly ineffectual and I see it more as a rubbish outlet when overwhelmed/cross.
I use tone, consistent expectations, sanctions after warnings and discussion which encourages empathy. We aim to remain very calm, polite, fair even when resolving issues.
In our house it would have gone
'Please can you stop banging the door, It's giving me a headache' (nice tone, just how I'd speak and letting them know its giving me a headache)
If the slamming continued I'd tell them one more slam and they would be in thier bedroom
After the last slam I would take the child to thier room
The other thing is that you are training your children up for big shouting matches when older. They will think shouting is the way to resolve issues.
I've just moved house, and my new neighbours shout at their kids ALL DAY. No, it doesn't work. When I was young, I remember getting quite a buzz from making my parents angry enough to shout. It felt like I'd won.
I am a reformed shouter with my two DS. I read a great great book, "Have a New Kid By Friday", which totally dismisses shouting and does everything through consequences.
I wouldn't shout at a toddler. Instead of giving him a lengthy negative direction which young children often have trouble understanding why not give a positive instruction.
" DS can you drive your car on the carpet please"
Instead of "stop shouting" say "use your indoor voice please", "don't run inside the house" becomes "use your walking feet please" etc etc.
A lengthy explanation of why you don't want them to do something is often lost on young children, tell them what you would like them to do in a short sentence is much easier to process.
You've got a toddler and a newborn. You need to cut yourself some slack. I don't think a small amount of raised voice is damaging anyway. It's ok for them to know you are human and frustrated too in the context of a loving parent-child relationship IMO.
Totally agree with redirecting. So if he really wants something to bang, where and what can he bang - some plastic items in the garden or a pillow.
I do a lot of paraphrasing - if they are shouting I want bla bla, I would gently and kindly say please can I have bla bla
I would recommend reducing the number of words in your sentences. I think he is probably switching off ,
Try "Ds, no banging!" Or "Ds, on the floor"
Shouting at him will lead to him shouting back at you.
Try to ignore as much irritating stuff as you can and only step in if there is danger involved and try to get out of the house every day. Being stuck inside with a noisy toddler and a baby is really hard.
Be kind to yourself
Thank you for all the tips! I have been trying to perfect a stare but I think I must look silly, ds didn't take it very seriously!
The giving shorter explanations seems to be working well, I have also been being a bit stricter so as soon as lunch gets thrown on the floor lunch time is finished rather than a long winded explanation about mess/food wastage.
There has been a couple of shouting incidences, mostly involving ds trying to pick up the baby or throwing heavy toys near the baby.
123 magic is great. It is an amercian control-your-child book. Can get in on amazon. DD understands consequences very well. Basically: IF you don't stop doing x, y will happen. Then I always follow through. Nearly always works without havino to resort to the consequence. I agree about not shouting. My mum always shouted. I don't shout at dd but I do with DH when angry. I hate it he hates it but it is so ingrained I find it impossible to change. Also as a teacher I see it has no effect. Kids either ignore it or love the feeling of power they get from making making an adult lose control. Someone described it to me as a kid getting such joy from throwing stones in a lake and seeing the ripples. As they are normally so powerless they enjoy being able to make an effect. An adult is analogous in a negative way.
Theres a difference between a "controlled raised stern deep voice" plus "the stare" and screaming and raging because you have lost it.
I think the test is whether you feel in control and that you can manage your annoyance.
I'm guessing your son is 2 ish. Don't panic. As they get older (over three) IME they start to listen to you more and to be more heedful when you speak in your stern voice and use the stare.
When both of mine were 2, I recall feeling despairing as they didn't seem to give a monkeys even though I was being very stern. Once they got over three it was almost as if they were mature enough to understand that actually that voice means mum is cross and that they need to moderate their behaviour to put things right. I don't think two year olds can (necessarily) grasp that very well.
Mine are 5.5 and 3.5 now and if I put on my voice and do the stare they jump to it. Ha!
Also when they were little I found the loud "oh dear" approach worked quite well. "oh dear, that TV is going to crash if you pull it!". "oh dear, your coat is on the floor instead of the peg!"
Best to save the shouting for emergencies - walking into an on coming car, running with a knife etc
stripy I feel for you. It is hard with a toddler and a new baby. I had exactly the same when DS2 arrived and found myself shouting more. I was shouted at (and smacked) as a child and I feel like some of it comes through even though I see how ineffective it is. My dcs are 5.5 and 3 now and they really know how to push buttons. I try for positive reinforcement, following through and trying my hardest to stay in control but there are some days (like today) when I lose it over their constant fighting and yell. No, today I actually roared and it made ds1 cry. I feel like a horrible person and I did say sorry but I also forgive myself because I know it happens sometimes and just makes me want to try harder to be better.
I agree tell him what he should do not just don't do that. at 2 he just won't be able to process a long explanation and then work out an alternative foe himself. I. go with "d's let's drive the car on the floor" in a happy voice. then "on the floor please" firm voice If he still doing it i would take it away. shouting is best saved for proper danger situations.
I try to go with a warning and consequences type approach - i.e. "if you bang the toy on the door again I will take the toy away for the rest of the day".
This works quite well with DS1, provided that we consistently follow through on the stated consequences if he continues the undesirable behaviour.
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