Tired of yelling at your kids for their attention? Although you doubt the beneficial effects of this irritation, it is sometimes difficult to stop yourself. Héloïse Junier, childhood psychologist, explains to us how to get rid of this attitude and adopt a more zen and effective posture.
You have probably already experienced this: when faced with a child who does not listen, who has done something stupid or a situation which is not moving forward, it is sometimes difficult to contain yourself. Here you raise your voice, only to end up simply shouting at the child, while seeing red. However, the technique is not known to be effective. But then, how to do otherwise? Héloïse Junier, childhood psychologist and doctor of psychology, author of the comic strip “My Childhood”, gives us some ideas.
Why do we often shout to make ourselves understood?
There are several reasons for our parental cries. Very often, shouting is a way of establishing our authority (at least we believe so).”but this depends on several factors, starting with the parent’s educational style.” begins Héloise Junier.
- An authoritarian parent, who seeks to establish a form of domination over his child, could resort to shouting in a voluntary, methodical manner. Because it is through ordinary violence (screams, humiliations, threats, punishments even slaps and spankings) that he establishes his authority. The focus is on setting and discipline, not the needs of the child. “Very often, if these parents use this educational style it is often because they themselves were educated this way when they were children. They reproduce this pattern of education through fear on their own children, without necessarily realizing that this violence made them suffer when they themselves were children.”
- Conversely, it also happens that parents resort to shouting in spite of themselves, when they fail. Most often, these parents were also raised amid ordinary (non) educational violence. “However, unlike previous parents, as they have become aware of the suffering that this violence has caused in them, they seek to avoid reproducing it on their children at all costs. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult not to fall into the parental pattern you experienced as a child. In spite of themselves, these parents then start to shout when their stress or anger is too strong, when they no longer have resources, when they have the feeling of being at an impasse.”
Finally, there are more biological reasons for screaming, such as the fact that our mood, our empathy for others and our tolerance for frustration are lower when our blood sugar level is low, that is to say when we are hungry, or when we are tired.
Is there any point in screaming? (to go faster? To be heard?)
Although shouting at your child can provide the parent with a feeling of relief and relief in the moment, it remains not only ineffective but also counterproductive. For what ? Because the cries of an adult tend to increase the level of frustration, stress and feelings of injustice in the child. This also tends to deteriorate the quality of the bond between the adult and the child. “However, the more stressed a child is, the more he feels the victim of injustice or, the more fragile the bond with his parent, the more likely he is to be impulsive, uncooperative and thus the more frequent his inappropriate behaviors (transgression, aggression, anger, etc.) is likely to increase” supports the psychologist.
6 strategies to avoid screaming in front of your child
Now that we know this, how can you work on yourself and avoid shouting in your authoritative relationship with your child? Héloïse Junier offers us 6 tracks.
Try but be kind to yourself
First of all, parents should not have illusions or set the bar too high: all parents lose patience with their child’s behavior. “I don’t know a single parent who has never yelled at their child! While there is no solution to never screaming again – it has been known for a long time – there are, on the contrary, ways to reduce the frequency of screaming at your child. Applying them is already a big step forward.”
Learn to identify the symptoms of stress in ourselves
To improve your behavior, you still need to know how to identify the symptoms of stress and anger that emerge in our body and in our head at any given moment, namely an increase in heart rate, respiratory rate, a tight throat. , the body tensing, the jaw clenching, etc. “Most often, parents start shouting without even realizing that their level of anger has increased.” Identifying these signs can already help us avoid stressful situations.
Step aside when you feel anger rising
Any parent who is in the grip of a strong emotion of anger towards their child risks falling into violence and screaming. If the child is not in any imminent danger, it is much more favorable to isolate yourself for a minute or two, while you calm down, than to isolate the child in his room with all the peripheral violence that this practice can lead to (arm pulling, threats if the child does not cooperate, etc.).
Breathe deeply to calm down
Abdominal breathing promotes a return to calm and thus allows you to adopt a more rational point of view on the situation.
Remember that your child is immature
It is sometimes important to remember that your child is “only” 5 years old, that he is “only” 6 years old, etc., that he is not doing this to harm us, that he is not don’t act against us. This allows you to take a step back. “Some parents display the photo of their baby child – a few months old – on their fridge in order to recapture that feeling of tenderness they felt when he was very little. These parents confide that this sometimes helps them to take a more tender look at their child in the midst of a conflict episode. It is an idea !”
Consult a professional if these cries are repeated too often
Can’t avoid tantrums and screams? Perhaps we need to explore this aspect further. Some parents need outside help to avoid falling into too frequent shouting. Repeated cries can in fact be a warning signal that the parent is feeling unwell. In this case, it may be interesting to seek help from a listening or childcare professional. “In this case, be careful to contact a professional competent in child psychology, that is to say a professional who does not perceive the child as an “evil” being but as an immature, developing being, otherwise he would risk advocating the use of punishment.” advises Héloïse Junier.
I yelled at my child, what should I do?
Above all, let go of guilt. “Yelling at your child happens to all of us and will continue to happen to us.” confirms our expert. But when this happens, it is essential not to leave the child, immediately afterwards, in a state of distress, alone. “The ideal would be to go see him, talk about what happened, ask him how he feels, hug him if he accepts it. In short: to show empathy towards him, to come down from this “high” adult position, to put ourselves at his level.”
Likewise, don’t hesitate to tell him that you yourself were angry, that you didn’t want to hurt him. These moments of reconnection with the child have many virtues: they improve the quality of the relationship between the child and his parent, tend to develop his emotional competence and allow you to reduce the impact of this ordinary violence on the child. .