Yelling is great for communicating with someone who is far away, but when you yell at someone who is close to you it only triggers their flight or fight response.
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
~ Robert Fulghum
If You Want to Stop Yelling At Your Teen, Stop Yelling at YOURSELF!
Okay, so this might be a stretch. You probably don’t “yell” at yourself out loud, but be honest, how do you speak to yourself on the inside?
How often do you “yell” at yourself in your head?
How often do you tell yourself that you’re “not good enough”, or that you “should have done better”?
The truth is, if you want to stop yelling at your teen, you have to stop yelling at YOU!
Start treating yourself with kindness, and it will be easier to treat your teen with kindness.
Why Do We Yell?
If you’re like most parents, you yell to be heard.
Maybe you yell out of anger, overwhelm, or fear.
If you’re like most parents, sometimes you yell because you believe, “that’s the only way my kids will listen.”
I want you to dig deeper.
Why do YOU yell?
My guess is that this is something that you saw your parents do. Maybe it’s a habitual response. Maybe it really does seem like it’s the only way your kids will listen.
The best way to start controlling the urge to yell is by understanding all the deeper reasons behind the why, with compassion!
No matter how much you have yelled in the past, remember that you have always done your best. Appreciate your constant effort as a parent to show up and do your best.
It’s hard being a parent.
What Does Yelling Do?
Yelling triggers the Fight/Flight/Freeze response.
This is why yelling is a good idea when trying to protect a child from a dangerous situation. You yell “STOP” and a child is likely to freeze before running into a busy street.
However, when it comes to teaching something to your child or teen or punishing them, or disagreeing with them, yelling is not the best option.
Like I said, yelling triggers the fight/flight/or freeze response.
It actually puts your teen in survival mode. When getting yelled at, rather than listening to what’s being said you start focusing on the speaker because you perceive them as a threat. You start looking for an escape or you start getting angry in preparation to fight for your survival.
Think back to the last time you got yelled at. How did you feel, scared, defensive, embarrassed?
Because you go into survival mode, your primitive brain takes over and your prefrontal cortex takes a back seat.
Your ability to learn at a high level is greatly diminished. Instead, your primitive brain creates an emotional response that quickly turns into a habit.
I’ve taught about how “calm is contagious” as Rorke Denver says, and how humans are herd animals. The other thing that yelling does is escalate the emotional tension. It spreads to the person being yelled at, and they are likely to yell back.
This is the fight response.
How to Stop Yelling
- Explore the why behind your yelling (Remember, this also applies to your inner self-talk.)
- When I explored this for me, I realized that a big reason why I yelled was that that was what I learned from my parents and other adults in my life.
- I usually yell out of anger.
- I yell because I want to control the situation.
- I often yell because I want to control my teenager.
2. Have compassion for you and your teen.
- It’s okay that you’ve yelled, and you’re probably going to yell again.
- You want to be better, and that’s a powerful place to start!
- You and your teen ARE DOING YOUR BEST!
3. Practice who you want to BE when parenting is easy.
- It sounds weird, but try it!
- When parenting is easy, intentionally practice how you want to speak to your teen when things are hard.
- This will create a new way of BEing, which will create new habits.
- Practice intentionally BEing the parent of your dreams, especially when it’s hard.
4. Practice who you want to BE when parenting is hard.
- Obviously, this one is harder, but it’s powerful.
- When parenting is hard, intentionally fall back into what you practiced when things were easy.
- Practice getting anger and fear out of the driver’s seat.
- Practice intentionally BEing the parent of your dreams, even though it’s hard.
5. Use Thought Downloads and the Model
- Use the model to explore the thoughts and feelings that lead to yelling.
- Use the model to explore the results that yelling creates in your life.
- Use the model to practice intentional parenting.
Call to ACTION!
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