Sounds easy, but it’s not. Many of us really would like to change our behavior. But we struggle. Even if our intentions are good, the reality is that:
- Usually we are not aware we are yelling.
- Yelling lets off steam, which temporarily can feel good, so there is a benefit.
- Sometimes yelling actually works!
If you want to make change, here are some things you can try:
1) Don’t act in crisis mode unless it’s really a crisis! Pay attention to your level of intensity. If you notice your blood starting to boil, do something to calm yourself down. A deep breath, a time out for yourself — there are many self-care tips on the site if you need ideas. You might also check out my blog on stress.
2) Get the family involved. Let everyone agree that you all want to work together to stop the yelling, period. Identify respectful ways to let each other know when tones are starting to rise, and encourage an adjustment. Perhaps a money jar that everyone puts a quarter in when s/he yells. Use the earnings to treat the family to something fun.
3) Do something drastically different. If you really want to get your child’s attention, try whispering intensely, or a single loud clap of the hands! Do something to draw his/her attention in without adding the stress of a raised voice.
4) Don’t holler around the house. If you need your child’s attention and you are in the other room, take the time to walk there.
It takes about 2 weeks to create or break a habit. If you tackle this now, I’m sure you’ll be an expert by the time school starts and things start to get more intense. Go for it!