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Yelling at DS - advice needed to break cycle - please!!!

16 replies

Lulu41 · 22/11/2002 13:11

hi everyone - can anyone of please tell me know to break the cycle of constanting yelling at their wonderful but infuriating child. I so hate the look on his face when I start yelling and I know I'm the grown up and should have more self control - please help. Just found out am expecting number 2 but so want to improve relationship with no 1 right now. I mean to take a deep breath and count to ten but sometimes I go from 0 - 10 on the angry level in 2.5 seconds.

OP posts:

GeorginaA · 22/11/2002 13:28

Well I can't claim to never yell at my son, but I've just finished reading "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk" by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish which you might find useful. It's a bit aimed at an american audience in places, but I found it very readable (nice summary cartoons for a quick skim) and found some of the techniques already very useful for an 18 month old who only speaks a few words.

Nothing particularly "new" in there - ideas about choices, not forcing kids into roles, rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad, etc. But it's very accessible and reminds you of things that you suddenly realise were common sense. They also do a siblings book called "Siblings Without Rivalry" but I've only skimmed that as plans for no. 2 have been put on hold for the time being.

I've made the mistake though of reading "How To Listen" right the way through in one lump so have forgotten loads - need to go through a chapter a week or something I think so it sinks in properly!


aloha · 22/11/2002 15:28

What makes you shout at him? How old is he?


Scatterbrain · 22/11/2002 19:10

Oh Lulu - tell me about it !!!! That book that Georgina mentions has actually helped me a bit - as has some advice I was given my a friend - ie. "Choose your battles" and give up on the minor stuff !

Basically - I was yelling at my dd all the time - telling her not to touch this, not to do that - now I mostly let her do whatever she likes so long as she's not in danger or in danger of damaging something important. Eating used to be a major battle of wills for us too - now I just let her get down from the table when she says she wants too and maybe she eats a few more biccies these days - but she is definitely less stroppy and defiant - and fingers crossed - we haven't had a tantrum in several months !!

I was turning into my own mother "Don't touch that !" - "Why ?" - "because I SAID SO !!!" - and I really don't want to be that person - so I am trying, very much against my nature, to be more laid back and only to stop dd doing stuff that will hurt her. It is hard for me to do and I catch myself reverting all the time - but that book does help a lot.

HTH ? Good Luck


aloha · 22/11/2002 21:20

I never shout at my ds (14months), and never tell him off either, but only because I let him do exactly what he likes unless it is very dangerous. I let him touch the radiators, which he does very cautiously and says, 'hot, hot' If he's into something dangerous - eg trying to eat the dishwasher tablets (my fault, didn't get any cupboard locks) I just take them away 'ooh, no, no!" and distract him with something more appealling. I'm not perfect and nobody who knows me well would consider me particularly patient, and I'm sure I have a very laid-back son, but I used to look after other people's kids for a few years and found that if I ignored bad stuff and provided enticing alternatives, 99.9% of kids came round to behaving rather charmingly. Eg ignore attempts to kill each other and destroy furniture (hell, they're small, so long as the Ming vases are put away, what harm can they do?) and just sit quietly putting together a Lego space station, they soon get curious and before you know it are eagerly seeking out foursers for you. I never fight over anything less than trying to climb into the fire (though come to think of it, I now rarely have it on until he's gone to bed) so if he doesn't want his dinner,that's cool. I really think life's too short. Of course, I could be eating my words in a few months, but my dsd is 11 and still no trouble (touch wood etc).


willow2 · 22/11/2002 21:49

It's the constant battles about things that have to be done that drive me up the wall. Eg brushing teeth. Every blooming night ds sits there with teeth clamped shut - he'll brush his own teeth (bottom ones only and very badly obviously) but refuses to let me give them the once over. I end up putting him in his bed, turning the light off and walking out, telling him he won't have any stories unless he lets me do his teeth. He eventually comes round but it is really draining. It's not that he hates having his teeth brushed - he'll happily do it himself - just a matter of control. If I try and give him a "look" he just does the same back, ditto if I shout. We have the same problem with getting dressed in the morning or at bedtime - I don't care if he runs around the house half naked all day, but he obviously has to wear clothes if we're going out - it's freezing out there! We're going through a real battle of wills at the moment and I hate it - I try to ignore stuff that doesn't matter but unfortunately so much of it does. These phases do seem to be just before he suddenly makes some huge developmental leap - but still drive me nuts.


Thewiseone · 22/11/2002 21:53

Dear Lulu
How old is your DS ? I presume he is older than 2 ? This is when they get really challenging (before that I found it hard but it's nothing compare to terrible twos!) ! From angels to hell makers... and it can get worst when they go attention seeking because of number 2.
I feel for you (I have been there) even if I have no direct suggestion... yes counting to 10 or leaving the room....


IDismyname · 22/11/2002 22:50

My only suggestion is starcharts, or similar. Seems to work a treat for getting dressed by themselves, brushing teeth (well), helping me tidy stuff away inc toys and anything else I can think of to add to the list.
Getting a sticker on pj's after not yelling while I brushed his teeth was the start of it when ds was about 2, then move on to a proper chart when older.


Copper · 23/11/2002 09:46

Give him positive attention. He needs attention like plants need water - even foul water or negative attention. This is so easy to say and so hard to do, but every so often we reach a crisis and remember it, put it into practice and it works. So why do we always forget...


ScummyMummy · 23/11/2002 09:58

Hi Lulu41. I'm going through something like this at the moment with my twins- not easy is it? Feel like I'm shouting at them in a horrible, bellowing, angry way far too much and we all hate it.
What I'm trying to do is work out what the triggers are so that I can be a bit more prepared. I think we are in a cycle of them ignoring my requests until I shout and I know that every time I shout I reinforce this- IE they don't think I'm serious unless I shout. So that's a pretty good incentive for me NOT to shout but oh how annoying it is to be ignored and defied by a duo of cheeky sods! Things are starting to get better though (I hope- early days) because I am trying to show them that I mean it the FIRST time- by speaking firmly and calmly and if necessary walking them through the activity and ignoring secondary annoying behaviour. I'm also trying to give them lots more positive attention so we don't feel that our relationship is entirely based around difficult situations.

Agree with others that ds's age is important- I think aloha's advice is great for under 2s but when you get to the stage where you (appropriately) expect them to cooperate a bit more the situation can be different.


tigermoth · 23/11/2002 11:04

agree that choosing your battles is very good advice - let as much go as pssible.

When I feel a shout coming on, I aim for a matter of fact, not an angry, shout if I can. This makes me feel much better about raising my voice and has just as much effect, if not more, on my sons actions. Not that shouting cures much!


Lulu41 · 25/11/2002 13:26

only get to use the PC at work hence no replies about my ds's age. He is 5 going on 15!! I mainly end up shouting when he ignores what I have asked him to do unless I shout. We have had a lovely weekend so feel like a "good mum" today but there are times when I feel like the mummy from hell so I will try to incorporate some of your ideas and think I might buy the book that was mentioned.

OP posts:

NickyW · 25/11/2002 13:59

My sympathies to all of us shouters. My Dd is nearly four and there are days when I feel that all I do is shout. One thing I have found useful when I feel I am going to shout and can't stop it, is to try time out away from each other for a few minutes it can work wonders.


Sps · 26/11/2002 12:10

Some thoughts on shouting.

I feel that the most important thing to think about when you are trying to stop the cycle of shouting is how does it help and what message does this give my child?

Shouting at a child is showing your child that you cant deal with a situation. It also shows them that when they are out of control you cant help them.

A child sees that this is the way you deal with a problem. As someone who works professionally with parents that your child does not expect you to be perfect but what they need from you is a loving parent to help them when they lose control, essentially someone who understands them.

Hope that helps a bit, Susan


Sps · 26/11/2002 12:15

Posted again as my pc was so slow

Some thoughts on shouting at your child.

I feel that the most important thing to think about when you are trying to stop the cycle of shouting is how does it help and what message does this give my child?

Shouting at a child is showing your child that you cant deal with a situation. It also shows them that when they are out of control you cant help them.

A child sees that this is the way you deal with a problem. As someone who works professionally with parents your child does not expect you to be perfect but what they need from you is a loving and secure parent to help them when they lose control, essentially someone who understands them. Remember you are adult, the one in control.

Hope that helps a bit, Susan


aloha · 26/11/2002 13:27

I agree- the approach has to be different with a five year old than a one year old. I also agree that shouting after several reasonable requests just teaches them that they can safely ignore reasonable requests. Perhaps one strategy is to ask them in a normal voice but give plenty of 'warning' - eg in five minutes I will ask to you to put away your toys so we can go out.' Then give another warning, 'It's time to stop playing as you have to put your toys away in a minute'. Then say, 'Right, now please put your toys away.' If they completely ignore you, then have some sanction that you have told them you will use for ignoring - eg no sweets/tv/trip to park - and do it before you get to the shouty stage. That way you invoke your 'ultimate' sanction with no shouting. I think taking the 'if' out of the equation - 'if you don't do X, I will do Y' - can be helpful, because if implies a choice, which you don't want them to have! One book I read emphasised the importance of phrasing your requests properly - eg don't say 'let's put the toys away' if you have no intention of helping' or 'It's time to put the toys away' because your kids can think, 'oh, is it? What do I do?' You are supposed to be very, very specific about what you want eg: 'Please put your all toys in the box now, except for Rabbit, who can come to the shops with us.' And give them lots of praise when they do it 'brilliant! You've put all the toys away so well. Thank you. You're so helpful etc etc.' Don't know if works, but seems worth a try! I like the star chart advice. When children I looked after wouldn't put their clothes on to go out, I'd do one of two things - I'd either sit there in my coat being totally boring and not even looking at them or letting them play with toys so in the end they thought it was better to get dressed so we could get on or b/if they were wearing shoes, I'd take a coat and hat and if necessary start our trip in their pyjamas! They soon felt cold and wanted proper clothes on. I always felt their behaviour was worse the more they were rushed about, which I know is sometimes unavoidable.


grommit · 26/11/2002 14:21

Willow2 - my dd went through a phase of not wanting her teeth to be cleaned (sitting in bathroom with both hands in her mouth screaming). I turned her toothbrush into 'Mr Toothbrush' with a funny voice who wanted to get into her mouth to see and taste all the food she had eaten that day. She loves it and quite happily opens her mouth and chats back to 'Mr Toothbrush'.

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