“The way we react when our emotions run really hot means everything to our kids, and to the next generation as well.” – Jessica Felix
Yelling doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. It just means that you could use a few more tools in your happiness toolbox. Parenting expert Jessica Felix discusses what happens when you flip your lid. Learn what NOT to do after you yell and 3 steps to turn even your most stressed out moment into a powerful learning experience for your children.
3:20 – What happens in a child’s brain when you yell regularly?
Most of the time. we yell because we are stressed or because we somehow get triggered by our chidden. When you yell regularly at your children, you are programming their brains to respond poorly to stress. By flipping your lid regularly, you are setting them up to flip their own lids easily too. You were probably programed by your parents or caregivers when you were a child as well.
10:40 – What can you do when you yell to rebuild that connection?
Start with an apology. It’s never a bad thing to apologize to your kids. Apologies aren’t just for adults. Don’t make your kids feel like THEY made you yell. Explain that this is not the way you want to be and that you’re sorry for yelling. It’s important for kids to know that you’re not infallible.
Let your kids talk about how it felt for them when you were reactive. They can even draw a picture about it. Ask them open ended questions like – how did that make you feel, what were you thinking when that happened?
This allows them to express all of their feelings around what happened. It can be hard to hear as a parent. Be careful not to minimize their feelings. Modeling this sort of communication is giving your kids tools for dealing with anger and stress in their own lives.
17:10 – What are the wrong ways to rebuild connection after yelling?
Be careful not to make an excuse instead of apology. “I’m sorry I yelled, but you were really stressing me out.” Say I’m sorry I yelled – period. Don’t sweep it under the rug and ignore it either. If you don’t acknowledge that strong emotions exist, you are giving your kids the message that strong emotions are not ok. And try not to swing the pendulum the total other direction by rewarding them. For example, “Sorry I yelled, let’s go for ice cream.” This sets you up for many other pitfalls.
21:30 – What else can we do instead of yelling?
The key to being responsive instead of reacting is preparation. You need a plan for what you will do the next time you get triggered or stressed. Step one is awareness – understand your triggers, the things that really get you right away. Maybe it’s defiance or whining. Maybe it’s getting mud in the house. Triggers are different for everyone. What makes you really angry – maybe irrationally? Now picture it, go there. Think about how you would like to handle it, how you would like to feel.
Triggers bothers us because of something a parent or caregiver did. Be aware that you have them and explore them (when they’re not happening). Then when you can imagine it happening, make a plan for how you would like to respond. Imagine what you can do to stay calm and respond the way that you want to respond. Rehearse it. Imagine your child doing your trigger, feel yourself get upset, then plan how to respond. This is a powerful visualization technique.
Choose realistic (or lower) expectations. If your kids always whine at a certain time of day, be prepared for it. Plan how you will deal with it. Also set realistic expectations for the age of your children. And avoid compare-itis on social media. We see pictures and videos of our friend’s children’s best moments and compare our children. We’re taking everyone’s highlight reals and comparing them to our kids reality. This can raise our expectations of what our children are capable of.
About Jessica Felix
Jessica Felix is a mom and parenting coach. With over 10 years of experience and education in child development, she helps families define their unique values and lay a solid foundation of trust, respect and communication with their young kids that will last into the tough teen years and adulthood. She offers online courses and private coaching for parents. Visit her at: Early Endeavors