All parents will shout at some point – we are only human. Shouting doesn’t make us a bad parent. If we are shouting often and feel like it is the only way we can be heard then we can make changes.
We all have our own opinions and feelings about shouting. We might have grown up in a loud family where it was a busy, noisy loving environment and shouting doesn’t bother us or feel negative. We might have been shouted at as a child and wish you had been communicated with in a different way. You might only shout when you feel you have lost your temper or your emotions have taken over – it can leave you feeling guilty and frustrated with yourself.
If you have shouted then you need to let the guilt go and reflect on what happened when you feel calm.
Think about what caused you to shout in the moment. Where you feeling angry or frustrated? Are you tired or stressed? Was it a moment in time, or have feelings been building up and they finally simmered over?
If we can understand our own feelings then we are better equipped to find ways that we can process them and find ways to avoid shouting. There is no point telling yourself ‘I’m not going to shout today’ unless you have got to the bottom of what triggers it.
Learning about our own emotions and triggers is just as important as supporting our toddlers with their own feelings and behaviours. They look to us as a role model in how to behave, so investing time in our own thoughts and feelings is valuable for the whole family.
Look for patterns in what can lead you to shout. If may be one particular part of the day that you find most challenging – bedtime, mealtimes, getting out of the house in the morning, children arguing? Working on a new approach or resetting boundaries for these particular parts of the day can be helpful.
Relationships with partners, work, tiredness, stress or just feeling bogged down with the juggle of life admin and parenting can all impact our overall mood and make us more likely to lose our temper and shout. Sit down and spend some time working out where your focus can go to help you feel like your own needs are being met.
There will be situations where you will not be able to stay calm. We can’t control their behaviour but we can control ourselves.
When do you first notice anger? Where in your body? Throat/hands/mind/chest.
What can you say to yourself to slow down the anger and pause?
Name the sensation in your body. Anger will not take over, you can make a choice. Feeling tension, in hands or body for example.
You can say it out loud. This makes yourself accountable, and names the experience.
Own it as your feeling not ‘you are making me angry,’ (shaming your child.)
Name your need – ‘I need a moment.’ You can’t run away. Breathing can help.
Or shake your body/stomp/move your body.
You can lay down
Breath in through nose for 4, breathe out of mouth for 8. Just a few minutes.
Set a boundary and collaborate – ‘it’s hurting my ears that you are banging.’
It’s ok for them to be annoyed, but it’s ok to say no, enough. If you are called yourself you will be able to tolerate the protest better.
Plan for future – you won’t be able to avoid these experiences. Schedule in breaks for yourself – your everyday stress. Call a friend, have a tea on your own, have a walk. Brain and body break.
Don’t wait until your cup is so full.
Notice times of day when it’s most useful. A quick break before the bedtime routine for example. Asking for help and support. Have a chat with your partner. Learn to develop signs and signals between each other.
Let go of guilt of being a shouty parent. I shouted because I’m tired and I needed a break. It’s no-ones fault. Repair afterwards. You can say ‘I’m sorry I shouted, it’s ok to be upset with me’ we can talk another time.
‘I can’t stop think about it the other day, let’s have a chat. I’m sorry I did it, it’s my anger and im going to try not to do it agian.’ Accept how they feel. Own your own behaviour.
If they are old enough you can try to problem solve with them. How can we do things differently next time you are doing x y z … they could show they heard you for example – look at me and say yes I heard you, but they might still be doing the behaviour.
If anger is a daily challenge, it doesn’t make you a bad person, you may need some extra support. Sometimes it comes from low mood, hormonal changes, trauma. You can seek support without feeling like a failure. You are not weak or bad.