Raise your hand if your kid has ever had a meltdown at home or – even worse – in public. Take a breath; you are not alone.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), tantrums are a normal part of your kids’ development and can happen as they are asserting their independence. The AAP suggests giving your kid your attention when they are doing something good and removing it when they are doing something you do not like. This will show them that acting out will not get your attention, and it is also the basis behind positive parenting.
Positive Parenting Solutions: How to Discipline Without Yelling
Dr. Robert Myers, a child psychologist and parent educator at the Child Development Institute, explains that when kids cry, yell or stomp their feet when they are upset, it is because they likely haven’t “developed an adequate emotional vocabulary,” he says. “A meltdown may be the perfect time to teach your child appropriate ways to state how they’re feeling.
“Once a child can tell you how they feel and why they’re feeling that way, you can help them learn to problem-solve and/or accept some situations even though they’d like them to be different,” he says. “The more time parents spend helping their child develop coping skills, the less time they’ll spend responding to emotional outbursts.”
So, Myers offers these positive parenting techniques that moms and dads can use before they throw out a parenting SOS signal, like yelling:
Positive parenting starts with quality time
Spend at least 15 minutes a day giving your kid some one-on-one time doing something fun. This establishes a bond that will make it easier for you to connect when you need to respond to a conflict and discipline without yelling.
Read, play a game together, or work on a puzzle or other activity you both agree on. If used daily, this positive parenting solution will result in fewer moments when you are grasping for parenting tools due to a difficult moment.
How to discipline a kid without yelling: Stay calm
Recent research has found when parents are calm, their kid’s nervous system will most likely subconsciously sync with their parent’s nervous system and begin to emotionally regulate. This positive parenting tip is right out of the airplane safety lecture, “Secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”
Validate your kid’s feelings in a soft, calm tone of voice
This positive parenting discipline solution will also help them to calm down. For example, you could say “I understand you are really angry right now.” If they are yelling or screaming, encourage them to use words to let you know how they are feeling.
With very young kids, positive parenting techniques should leverage the use of distraction. By turning their attention to something attractive, such as a toy or other activity, you can diffuse the situation and discipline a kid without yelling.
With older kids, once they are calm and can talk and think, use problem solving in your positive parenting discipline approach. Let them tell you what is disturbing them and attempt to mutually find a solution.
Try Grandma’s Rule of positive parenting or prespecified reinforcement
This is a positive parenting technique to use when your kid is not carrying out a request. It uses reward or praise to motivate your kid to improve their behavior. An example of this is saying, “When you have put your clothes away, you can go out and play.”
“Listening to your child does not mean that you’ll give in or grant their every wish,” Myers says, “but it does help them to feel accepted and more open to listening to you so you can teach them coping skills including emotional regulation, problem-solving, as well as empathy and understanding of others."
Keep these positive parenting tips in mind the next time you’re trying to keep your cool in a tough situation. We’re not perfect parents, but we can find ways of how to discipline without yelling that reinforce our bonds with our kids and build a healthier relationship. Plus, positive parenting solutions make for more calm and sane parents, too – trust us.
For more tips from Dr. Robert Myers, read his new book “The Well-Balanced Family: Reduce Screen Time and Increase Family Fun, Fitness and Connectedness,” available on Amazon.
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