You Lost It. You Yelled at Your Kid. What Do You Do Next?
I will not yell. I will not yell. I will not yell.
It’s late afternoon and this is my parenting mantra.
My 6 year old has asked for a brownie 7 times and I have said no, 7 times. Calmly. Patiently. Without upset.
(In retrospect, maybe I should have said No once. And then ignored the other times. But I didn’t. I kept giving him my attention.)
I tell him… “We are having dinner soon. You can have a brownie after dinner. I’ve already said no.” These are all very reasonable responses so surely my 6 year old will understand. And he responds by pleading, “I just want ONE LITTLE BROWNIE!”
There must be something about the 8th time because I just lose my cool. And I yell. Loudly.
I don’t want to but how much is one human being supposed to take? I know there are a million parenting articles on why you aren’t supposed to yell and how to prevent yourself from yelling, but sometimes it just happens. So the question is – what to do next?
Dr. Mandi Silverman, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute says the first thing to do is forgive yourself. “Even for the parent of year, there is a point in time when they will do something they aren’t proud of. None of us is perfect.”
She recommends the parent should take a minute to regroup, say to herself or himself, “I don’t really love that I did that” and then move on.
Once everything is calm, then take the opportunity to talk with your child. Silverman says, we often want to teach in the moment. But it’s actually better to wait until everyone has cooled down.
Silverman adds, later on you can say to your child something like this, “Mommy raised her voice earlier today and I’m sorry I did that. But remember when mommy says no the first time, it means no. And there will be time for a brownie after dinner.”
Dr Alissa Sheldon, a clinical psychologist, agrees that it’s okay for a parent to say, I’m sorry. She says, “It’s alright to admit to your child that even you, the all-powerful parent, make mistakes. By showing your child that it is okay to admit when you make a mistake, you demonstrate how to take personal responsibility for your behavior. Many children are surprised when a parent admits to having done something they are sorry for, and this makes for a powerful lesson.”
But just because you are apologizing and feel bad about yelling, it doesn’t excuse bad kid behavior.
And in a calm moment, you can explain to your child what let to you getting upset. Sheldon says, “You are not excusing the yelling, but helping the child identify behaviors that increase the likelihood that you will get that upset again.”
I did apologize to my son for yelling. He was very forgiving. I hope that’s something I’ve taught him too.
Not only to apologize but to forgive.
Photo source: Depositphotos/rev_leha
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