If we’re not supposed to yell, and spanking is no longer an acceptable discipline method, then what are we supposed to do? We talk about peaceful parenting. We talk about the long term risks associated with spanking. We list the facts about yelling and its negative impact on the mindset of our kids. We talk about discipline options and time-outs. But what about the heat of the moment? What are we to do with the anger and the frustration? One step at a time, little by little, we can all make changes that put our children at lower risk for long term issues. Here are some tips that will hopefully point you in the right direction, ultimately putting you on the path to peaceful parenting.
*Create a space between your child’s action and your reaction. Breathe. Count. Cool down a bit before reacting. Step away from the situation, if not possible to do so physically, at least remove yourself mentally until you can calm down and bring the focus to a solution not retribution.
*Change the scenery. Take a walk. Pick a new venue. Take time to discuss the situation at hand later, not in the heat of the moment.
* Talk it out. Talk about what’s making you angry.
*Write it down. Instead of directing harsh words at your kids, write down what you wish you could say. Express your feelings of frustration and anger on paper, then rip it up and throw it away.
* Ask a question. The response your child gives may surprise you.
*Remember your long term goals. Think about the values you hope to instill in your children. Will yelling or spanking help teach them?
*Model the conflict resolution you want your children to learn. What you do is always more important than what you say
* See the distress, not the defiance. If your child is acting out, see it as a sign that he is having a hard time coping. Focus on how you can help him.
* Look your child in the eye. Direct eye contact often makes it harder to yell at someone.
* Whisper. Kids tend to block out yelling (especially if they hear it a lot). Whispering is more likely to get their attention. (Kind words! Not “whisper yelling!”)
* Say, “I love you.” It’s a good reminder, for you and for them.
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Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!