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How do I stop shouting?

(10 Posts)
Sugarmag Fri 08-Jul-05 07:14:34

My daughter can be, shall we say, "strong-willed" at times but is for the most part a lovely, happy, well-behaved 4 year old. At nursery and friends houses I always get glowing reports. It's mostly for people she's very familiar with, and most especially me, that this strong-willed behaviour comes out. Occassionally it's expressed as outright defiance "I don't have to do what you tell me" etc, but more often it's just a case of her completely ignoring whoever is speaking to her. Things like "Please get dressed, put your clothes in the laundry, stop jumping on the bed, don't climb on the furniture, get in the bath now, don't walk backwards on the stairs, stop shouting, etc, etc, etc" will be completely ignored - as if she hasn't even heard (her hearing is fine btw).

So usually the way this goes is, I repeat the request more firmly, try and make eye contact so that she knows I'm serious, repeat it again with a slightly raised voice. And when this still gets no response (sometimes she shouts "OK, I know that!" and then carries on with whatever she was doing) then I shout. This usually gets her attention but also makes her even more stubborn adn unwilling to comply. It's usually at this point that I just get furious and the shouting becomes of operatic proportions! I'll just scream at her until I'm red in the face and hating myself for it. Sometimes she cries. Usually she ends up finally doing what I've asked. But we both end up feeling awful.

I hate behaving like that and I hate making my little girl feel that bad. it's not as if she's set fire to the dog or painted my lounge red or anything. Basically she's just being 4. A stubborn, willful 4 but still pretty normal I think.

so I do I resolve these situations before I reach boiling point? Does anybody have any advice? Has anyone read taht book "How to talk so children will listen" and if so is it at all useful? (haven't read it myself been wondering if maybe I should).

Nightynight Fri 08-Jul-05 07:30:54

Have been there myself. The only thing that works for me is, think of the person in the world that you most want to impress, just at the point when you're about to start screaming, and imagine that they could see you now....

Cristina7 Fri 08-Jul-05 08:16:22

I've read "How to be a better parent" by Cassandra Jardine and it has a few good ideas there.

KatieinSpain Fri 08-Jul-05 08:17:35

Sugarmag - your little girl sounds lovely. I'm sure you'll get more feedback from parents who have been there - my DS1 is only 3. The only thing that struck me is that preventing the situation would be best, so how about a star-chart for listening?

So, list all the possible scenarios and you give a star every time you only have to ask once. This is when I admit to never having tried one but it might be worth a go.

And yes, I shout too and dislike myself for it , so I will be popping back for some alternatives.

Anchovy Fri 08-Jul-05 08:38:24

My DS is rising 4 and what you describe is exactly what goes on in our house. Some time ago when we had had a bit of a shouting session and we were both tired by it, I sat down with him and was giving him a cuddle and saying the usual (middle class liberal) thing of "Mummy doesn't like it when you are naughty" etc and he said to me "Well, I don't like it when you shout at me - it makes me very scared". Now I actually don't shout that much (I save it for the office!) and DS is a cheerful buoyant little thing who had never shown any sign of being remotely scared but it was very spontaneously and genuinely said and I was really surprised. Since then I have actually consciously tried to de-escalate things - the crosser I get, the firmer and quieter I get. I also get right up close and drop down right next to him to say things in a quiet and very "no messing" voice and usually give an ultimatum - "I am going to count to 5 and I want xxxx done/stopped/put down" etc, usually with a "do you understand?" added for good measure.

Of course the best answer for this would be that DS is now angelically behaved, which of course he isn't. But I have consciously tried to stop shouting and make it VERY clear that I am in control. The added bonus is when you do have to have a shout, its MUCH more effective!

Actually DS came in while I was typing this and I asked him if Mummy does shouting and he said "no" <smug Dr Richard Green of Toddler Taming eat your heart out emoticon>

On the other hand I was one of 4 children very close together in age and my mother was a teacher and she could shout for Britain (think they learned it a teacher training college in those days) and neither me, my mother nor any of my siblings seem remotely damaged by those high-decibel years!

Pinotmum Fri 08-Jul-05 08:51:43

I have a 4 yo dd who is very much as you describe. I do shouting as well but am trying to keep in down. DH doesn't like the shouting and has told me which made be and but I know he's right. Yesterday her teacher spoke to me about her defiance. The first time ever this has happened. Apparently she is bored with Nursery and more than ready for Reception so she doesn't even listen to her teacher now Her name was removed from a class topic for shouting out answers and when the teacher turned her back my dd wrote her name back on the board When I asked her how she felt bout the teacher speaking to me she said "Happy". I have a star chart that I am about to resurrect for the summer holidays and hope you will all pray for me!

Sugarmag Fri 08-Jul-05 09:42:23

Thanks folks. Am off on (a shouting-free????) holiday but will check back again next week - please keep the tips and commiserations coming!

spidermama Fri 08-Jul-05 09:47:49

Have you tried the Supernanny stuff? She says when you've been defied, get down to the child's level, look her in the eyes and, most importantly, bring your voice down to reiterate your point. Practise a low, authoritative voice. Stern but not angry. If she persists, explain she'll go on the naughty step. Then if she still persists, carry out the threat.

My 3.5 year old can be very bolshy and defiant but this seems to work on him.

Wearing though isn't it?

Mamatoto Fri 08-Jul-05 09:49:57

I feel you can sometimes just lose control of the child and thats when the shouting kicks in. Unfortunately it just means RELENTLESS seeing through of discipline. Never let her get away with defying you for a week and I expect you will see the difference. i often say to dh 'Right - this weekend we need to be firm ' and we have an extra disciplined time to just rein back in the control . You tell your child who is boss - not the other way round! good luck - she sounds adorable - just 'feisty!'

Lua Fri 08-Jul-05 10:03:39

Hi Sugarmag,
My DD is younger than yours so perhaps my suggestions don't apply...
The not hearing thing is a constant here. I say DD's name louder and louder and she keeps on ignoring me, but then I found that if I call her a silly name like silly sausage, or blue zebra etc., I get her full attention!
Off course, sometime she listens and refuses to do it...
I have to say that I loose my cool all the time, but every so often I remember how stubborn I have been as a child... and then try to either make the task fun, or pretend I don't actually care. For example with tooth brushing. She knows and understands why she needs to do it, so when she start saying I don't want to. I said fine, I love you and would like you to have nice teeth, but if you want to loose them is your choice. Usually she runs back and brushes them as I am walking away.
Hang on there. I hear by 18 we get a break...

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