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Interview with a psychologist

How not to scream at your child: learning to control emotions

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Probably, many of us have promised ourselves to never scream at our children. But torn tights, paint spilled on the floor, homework not done on time, infuriated us up to the point of forgetting our promise and forced us to raise voices and sometimes to even scream. After that, we, of course, were unhappy with ourselves and promised to ourselves that this will not happen again, but …. the homework was not done again, an expensive vase was accidentally broken, and here we go again; the child hears mom and dad yelling at them, sounding like a fire siren.

Are we doing the right thing? What to do if screaming in the family has turned into a habit? And how to deal with our own anger and annoyance? The answers to those questions will be given in this article.

Contents:

Why children should not be screamed at?

Screaming is in an essence, an expression of aggression. When aggression comes from the dearest and the closest people, it becomes a complicated experience for the child.

If the baby grows up in the atmosphere of constant screaming, verbal fighting, and parental nervous breakdowns, the following aspects of their personality will suffer:

Personal development

The child progressively becomes more anti-social, anxious, insecure, and cries more. Mental development is slowed down, hence it becomes more difficult for the child to perceive and retain new information. The child will be constantly willing to stay in their own «bubble», protecting themselves from the outside world. They begin to fear failure in their daily life (giving a presentation in front of the class, during competitions at school and public appearances), as well as while making new friends.

In adulthood, such people seek constant support and approval of their actions, it is difficult for them to leave their job, to encounter new people, as they subconsciously expect failure and aggression from others.

Social development

A basic form of trust is not formed in the child naturally. In their mind, if their closest and beloved people, such as mom or dad, can offend them, then anyone else can, too. The child stops trusting others, they find it difficult to build friendships and relationships.

A child whose parents constantly raise their voice will tend to behave in the same way in their adulthood, with their family and their children.

The relationship between the child and the parent 

Trust and mutual understanding start lacking in a relationship. The child stops sharing their problems with parents, in fear of provoking a negative reaction. This way, mom and dad turn, from the closest people, into strangers.

Causes of Parental Anger

We will now talk about the reasons that make parents angry with their children:

1. Their desire to prove their authority and dominate the child («I am older and smarter than you, I know better what you need»)

The parent is angry that the child does not obey them, the adult, therefore, starts screaming with an intention to demonstrate their power over the child. Raising the voice or shouting seems like the easiest way to achieve the desired effect on the child and to subdue them.

2. Fatigue, stress, irritation, loss of control over the emotions

After a hard day at work, many parents, upon arriving home, start picking on their child and screaming at them for every little reason: they did not finish their homework, did not wash the dishes, made a hole in their school uniform or broke a toy. Moreover, most mothers, being on maternity leave and not receiving sufficient help from their husband and other family members, begin to vent their anger and irritation on their innocent child.

3. An overly caring approach

Mom and Dad, trying to protect the child from all of the dangers of the word, use the screaming as a means of reinforcing prohibitions and restrictions.

Such parents in settings like the playground, the store or the street, interact with their children only through indications: do not climb the hill, do not touch the dog, get away from this boy, and so on.

Stop being overly caring and start focusing on building a relationship that is based on mutual trust with your child. In order to always be ensured of the safety of your child without constantly monitoring them, download the Find my Kids app from the AppStore or GooglePlay.

4. The child not meeting the expectations of the parents

Almost all parents (and, perhaps even all of them) want their children to be obedient, well-brought-up who would retain, almost right after their birth, that it is not allowed to draw on the wallpaper, that porridge is the best food for breakfast, and that all requests coming from the mother need to be fulfilled immediately.

Even during pregnancy, the mother-to-be creates images of a happy future and an ideal child in her imagination. But children are born the way mother Nature has created them. They have their own personality, their own interests, and preferences. And these do not always coincide with their parents’ expectations. Therefore, parents begin to get angry with their son or daughter and to take out their disappointment and irritation on them because they are not what they imagined them to be.

5. A behavioral model taken from their own childhood

Children who have grown up in a family where mom and dad are used to raising their voice, where screaming and swearing have become casual features of everyday life, will do the same in their family. That involves being rude to their partners, shouting at the child, and, if there were cases of physical aggression from the part of the parents in their childhood, then they may allow this to happen in their family as well.

Why does this happen? Initially, parents are the two main people in a child’s life. And their relationship with each other is an example of how a family should be, what mom and dad normally do in it, what roles and functions they have.

Many children, growing up, say to themselves: «I will never be like my father», «I will never behave like my mother», but the model of parental behavior adopted in childhood sooner or later manifests itself. And suddenly, a usually calm and balanced woman shouts in a fit of anger at her son or daughter: «Stop fooling around! What kind of child are you? Why did I even gave birth to you?» just like their mother once did.

6. Ignoring age-specific features of behavior in children

A 4-year-old child can neither physically nor mentally stand still for half an hour while mom is talking to her friend, getting dressed for five minutes or fall asleep as soon as the lights are turned off in their bedroom. But many adults simply forget about it and demand from children certain actions for which the children’s brain is not yet mature enough.

7. A fast-paced life

We are all constantly rushing somewhere: to work, to the kindergarten or to school, to the store, or to visit members of our family. A mother, picking up a child from the kindergarten, would rarely allow them to slowly dress themselves, to take their time to get home, while examining the trees, the birds and the houses around them. But after all, a small child lives in their own world, where statements such as «we are already late for the lesson at the swimming pool, and we still have to pick up some things at the store along the way!», do not have any importance. For them, the little bird with a red beak on a tree and a truck with a large bucket, are way more interesting. As a result, the child is in no hurry, the mother believes that this is done on purpose, and starts screaming and showing her discontent.

How to stop losing your temper?

Having control over our emotions

Long-term observational studies carried out by psychologists demonstrate that if in a family parents set a standard of calm behavior, children grow up acting the same way.

But you may be wondering, how to manage to be calm and balanced in the modern world if there everybody is constantly stressing out? The answer is simple: you need to learn how to control your emotions.

What does «controlling emotions» refer to? This means understanding where they stem from, and to feel what they are trying to tell you. Where does your anger come from? Why are you feeling annoyed at this particular moment? What exactly upsets you in this situation? Ask yourself these questions more often, and you will learn a whole lot about yourself and the feelings you experience.

The psychology of emotions states that events in our lives have no real emotional impact. We ourselves choose how to perceive them and how to respond to them. For some, a broken plate is an occasion to scream at a child, and some consider it a symbol of happiness, like Greek people, for example.

Remember: it is impossible to be perfectly happy and optimistic 24/7. Therefore, recognize your emotions – both positive and negative – and learn how to embrace them and to live harmoniously.

Relaxation techniques for a tired mother

Anger, annoyance, and irritation accumulate in us, interfering with the notion of harmonious existence. An angry mother cannot provide her child with the much-needed love and support. And everything is surely intertwined.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance to get rid of negative emotions in the first place. This process can be compared to the treatment of cavities: firstly, all affected areas of the teeth are removed, and then space is filled with filling material.

What will help a tired mother get rid of the stress? Everyone has their own approach to this. It can be the following:

  • Going for a walk.
  • Sleeping for more than 8 hours.
  • Communication (in-person as well as virtual).

With girlfriends, relatives, in a chat where problems can be shared in order to get advice and where different opinions can be taken into account.

  • Physical activity.

A great way to relieve stress. The choice is large: running, swimming, dancing, yoga, or workouts in the gym. Even a 15-minute morning gymnastics session can fill you with energy for the whole day.

  • Self-care.

Taking a bath, going for a massage, a manicure or pedicure – all these can improve the mood and allow a woman to feel beautiful again.

  • Music.

You must admit that even washing dishes or cleaning the house is more pleasant when it is done while listening to The Beatles or Michael Jackson than in complete silence.

  • Drawing.

There is such a thing as psychotherapy through drawing. A person that draws expresses their disturbing feelings on paper, thus working with them and learning to cope with those feelings.

  • And the most important advice – listen to yourself!

Listen to your inner feelings, emotions and regularly ask yourself:  «What do I want now? What is necessary to make me feel good?»

Do what pleases you, make some time for your hobbies. At the same time, continue to look after your kids, knowing where they are, what they are doing and whether everything is OK with them! Download the Find my Kids app from the AppStore or GooglePlay.

5 ways to hold back anger

  1. Analyze in which situations the behavior of the child causes outbreaks of anger in you and whether something can be done to prevent these situations. For instance, you get angry when a child is walking to school in a slow manner, which makes them constantly late to class. The solution to this problem will be for the child to get up earlier and to prepare everything for their day the night before, which would also include their school uniform.
  2. If you feel like anger literally hits you like a wave, mentally say «stop» to yourself and move away from the situation: leave the room, go outside, or start doing household chores. All conversations should take place after you have calmed yourself and the child down.
  3. Ask yourself: «Right now, do I want to scream at the child because I am really upset with their behavior or because I’ve had a bad day at work?»
  4. Keep in mind the consequences of your screaming. Yes, you will get rid of all the accumulated negativity in yourself, but the child will suffer from aggression from your part.
  5. Don’t forget that important information can be transmitted to the child not only through screaming but also in a calm way. The child eventually ceases to respond to parental screaming, as their natural defense mechanisms are deployed.

Tips from the psychologist

  • Find time for yourself. Let it be only half an hour a day, but this time should be dedicated only to you.
  • Focus on important things. The floor can be washed, new tights can be bought, the wallpaper can be put back to the wall. Most importantly, your children are in good health and are OK.
  • Warn all of your family members that you are having a bad day, that you are annoyed and very tired, so today it would be better not to upset you.
  • Many mothers are ashamed of their child’s «inappropriate» behavior in a public place: at the store, at a party, on the playground – so they scream to try to calm them down and to regain control. The best option in such a situation is to silently leave the place with the child and to have a conversation with them at home.
  • If you still couldn’t restrain yourself and screamed at your child, ask them for forgiveness. Explain to them what led to this. This will be a good way of solving such problems.
  • Do not be afraid to admit your mistakes in front of your child. Your authority will not suffer from this.
  • Praise yourself for being calm, for every situation in which you could have screamed at a child, but kept yourself from doing it.
  • If, in addition to constant irritation towards the child, you often have disturbing, depressing thoughts, your standards of life have worsened, your sleep has become disturbed, you suffer from headaches more often, this is a serious reason to speak to a psychologist or a psychotherapist.
  • And the last recommendation – children should know: although mom and dad sometimes get angry and raise their voice at them, they still love them and will always protect them from any danger.

Do not turn screaming into your only tool for raising your children. Learn for yourself and teach your children to live in harmony with their emotions. This way, peace, and love will always reign in your family!

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