Trapped in a Screaming Match with Your Child? 5 Ways to Get Out Now

by James Lehman, MSW
Trapped in a Screaming Match with Your Child? 5 Ways to Get Out Now

If yelling worked, parenting would be easy, wouldn't it? We’d simply shout, “Do it!” and our kids would comply. But here’s the truth: it doesn't work. I've told parents, “Look, if screaming at our kids was effective, I'd be out of business. You'd just be able to yell at your child and he'd change. Or you'd bring your child to my office, I'd shout at him and call him names for 45 minutes, and then he'd go home and be nice for a week.”

 

"...Yelling turns you into your child's emotional equal."

When a parent tells me they’re yelling to get their child's attention, I understand—I’m a father myself and I've worked with parents and kids all my life. Let’s face it, it can be frustrating being a parent, and it can be frustrating being a child. Personally, I believe people end up screaming at their kids because they’ve simply run out of other ways to solve the problem. Instead, they rely on power to get the job done. And that works—as long as the other person is weaker than you. But realize that once your child learns to yell back, your shouting will have no effect. And make no mistake, those skills are harder for kids to unlearn than they are to learn.

In my opinion, no parent should get in a screaming match with their child; it gives kids too much power. It also does not help you with the problem at hand, whether it’s getting your child to take out the trash, stop playing video games, or to come home on time. The other danger is that yelling turns you into your child's emotional equal. When you’re out of control, they know it—and for the time you’re in that fight with them, your authority is undermined.

The 3 Things Your Child Learns from Yelling:

1.

Your child learns that his parents can lose control—and that by pushing the right buttons, he can get you to lose control. Make no bones about it, once you've started using yelling as a behavioral management tool, you’ve told your child everything he needs to know about pushing your buttons.

   

2.

Your child learns that power is how things get done. More precisely, he learns that overpowering somebody is the easiest way to get things done.

   

3.

Your child learns how to shut you off. Mentally and emotionally, he quickly learns how to stop listening when the yelling starts.

There are two ways people shut down emotionally during an argument: they either stop paying attention and reject what they’re hearing, or they start yelling back. When people yell, usually they are not feeling anything but anger, hostility or frustration. And during a screaming match, certainly no one is doing much—if any—listening.

Why Shouting Leads to Escalation—and Over-the-Top Consequences
I’ve talked with many parents who think: “If I yell at my child, he'll stop his inappropriate behavior. I'll overpower him.” Parents simply want their kids to do what they ask, and sometimes yelling seems to be the most effective alternative. But here’s the rub: it doesn't teach your child coping or problem solving skills. It doesn't get him to understand the relationship between responsibility and accountability. All it says is, “I'm bigger than you and I'm louder than you and you're going to do what I say.” But after awhile, kids stop listening. By the time a child is ten years old, you hear parents saying things like, “You're grounded for a month,” in order to keep control, because shouting doesn’t work anymore. In effect, they're just trying to get a bigger club every time there’s a conflict to manage their child’s behavior. With pre-teens and teens, a bigger club becomes inefficient and ineffective. At this age, your child is meeting other kids who see their parents as nuisances at best. As your child develops that kind of peer group, it's hard for you to get a bigger hammer— because now your child has nothing to lose: his need to belong is being met by his peers, not by his family.

So again, many parents just resort to upping the ante. They often threaten to ground their child for long periods of time, as I mentioned. But who wants to ground their child for thirty days? That means you’ve got to live with them for thirty days, too. I used to tell parents, “You want to ground your 16-year-old for a month? What, do you hate yourself?” I said this in a joking manner, but it was my way of stating that long, drawn-out punishments don’t work—for the child or the parent. These kinds of consequences are ineffective and often only succeed in getting your child to shut down emotionally. And they certainly do nothing to stop the yelling and arguing between you and your child.


5 Ways to Stop the Yelling in Your Home and Get Your Child to Listen to You
If you want your child to listen to you, I personally think you need a system in your home in which it becomes the child's responsibility to listen to you. Here are ­­­five things you can start doing right away to stop the yelling and screaming:

1.

Use Face-to-face Communication: When you talk to your child, look them in the eye—don’t yell from the kitchen. If you really want to communicate with your kids, shut off the TV and talk to them face-to-face. Don’t yell up the stairs at them. And tell your child that this is the new plan. You can say, “Hey Connor, I wanted to mention to you that from now on I'm going to come in and shut off the TV when we talk. I'm also going to ask you to come downstairs so we can look at each other instead of yelling. That way, we can talk about things face-to-face.” Be sure not to get stuck in a "look at me" power struggle, however; face-to-face does not mean eye-to-eye.

   

2.

Develop a Look of Positive regard: Work on having “positive regard.” In other words, wear a positive look on your face when you talk to your child. Your expression should be calm rather than angry or frustrated. Believe me, children will read your face and immediately shut down otherwise. I think it’s important for parents to realize that kids get agitated during emotionally-laden discussions, just like adults do. If your boss calls you in and tells you that you're not going to get something you want, check out how you feel. The difference in your reaction is that you have better coping skills than your child does. I recommend that you work on wearing an expression that does not look angry or frustrated, even when you’re talking about something difficult with your child. There are studies that show that children get upwards of 70 percent of your meaning from the look on your face.

   

3.

Use Structure: Time and time again, I’ve seen parents resort to yelling at their kids when they don't have structure. Without structure, each day is different—and the plan is always geared toward what the parent wants (or allows) the child to do next. Requests then become personalized, which creates fertile ground for a power struggle to escalate quickly.

   
 

When you use structure in your home, you immediately have a way of de-personalizing requests. You can simply point to the schedule (and I recommend that you post it in a central location in your home, like the kitchen) and say, “3 p.m.—time to turn off electronics and do your chores.” When kids have structure, they are far less likely to challenge every request you make. They may still moan and groan, but the focus has been taken off of you and placed on the structure you’ve set up.

   

4.

Talk to Your Child about Yelling. I always suggest that you talk to your child ahead of time about any changes you’d like to see take place. Pick a nice day when things are going okay. Say, “Oh listen Jessica, I think we’ve been yelling and shouting too much, and it’s just not helpful. I want to work on not doing that anymore. And if you start yelling, I'm going to turn around and walk away, and I'm not going to talk to you for 15 minutes.” And then go on about your duties.

   
 

Say this simply and matter-of-factly. Don't get into any deep discussions or spend a lot of time talking about it. I recommend that you keep it to two minutes. You don't want to process anything or get into emotions. You just want to say it, and then get on with your day.

   

5.

Get out of the Argument. I think as a parent, once you’ve reached the stage where you’re in an argument with your child, your job is to get out of it as quickly as possible. The next time your child starts yelling at you, calmly say, “Don't talk to me that way, I don't like it,” and then turn around and walk away.

   
 

That conversation is over for you, and this stops the fight immediately. Know that when you leave the room, all the power leaves the room with you; your child is left to yell at the empty walls. If your child has a tantrum anyway, that’s not your concern—you do not have to engage with him or stay there and watch it.

The truth is, the earlier we teach kids a broad repertoire of coping and problem solving skills, the less yelling and acting out there will be. Appropriate coping skills include compliance, negotiating, and assertiveness, and they all can be used effectively to circumvent the default mode of shouting and yelling.

Finally, remember that if you're a child living in an environment where parents yell a lot, then yelling is normal in that environment—and a normal kid will learn how to yell back. After all, it seems like the appropriate response. I always recommend that parents make the decision to not yell—and really work on it. Believe me, the screaming matches in your home will die a natural death once you stop engaging in them.

 


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James Lehman, MSW was a renowned child behavioral therapist who worked with struggling teens and children for three decades. He created the Total Transformation Program to help people parent more effectively. James' foremost goal was to help kids and to "empower parents."

READER'S COMMENTS

Good sense.

Comment By : Deanna Smith

Once I understood that when I yell what my child understood was "noone was in contol", "the parent is the child's emotional peer" I was able to stop it right then! That was my first lesson after ordering The Total Transformation. What a relief, the screaming has stopped. My child/teen knows that it will not get her what she wants, she removes herself from the situation until she can come back and disscuss it in a normal tone. What a blessing!

Comment By : CB

I almost cried tears of relief when I saw this article in my inbox. Just yesterday my 9 year old told me that I yell to much...and much to my chagrin, I agreed with him. I started to search the web for ways to help with my out of control feelings and was disappointed with what was available. This article could not have come at a better time. I have made a commitment to my family, and more importantly to myself to stop letting my frustration lead to yelling. I grew up in a house where my father ruled by yelling, and you walked on egg shells. I dont want that for my family. Thank you so much.

Comment By : Tab

What about when a mother constantly interjects herself into a father/ daughter discussion and assumes the savior role? The mother uses the excuse that ' you are not being nice', or some such statement. The daughter ends up quoting her mother everytime she thinks she is right and dad is wrong.

Comment By : Joseph T.

What if you child follows you out of the room and continues to yell at you no matter where you go in the house. What if you can not leave the house because your elderly parent is in bed there and must not be left unattended?

Comment By : sk

This is a great article. I have used these techniques in band rehearsals for years. They were modeled by a great band director that I was under. It was expected that he would move to a disruptive member and right through anyone who was in his way. However, there wasn't the yelling or tantrums that we saw other directors have. My first supervising principal stated that since a number of kids had been through divorce/pre-divorce arguments that they would shut down yelling as it reminded them of their parents heated arguments. I suscribe to your newsletter because it gives me insight toward modern classroom management stragegies.

Comment By : mightyhorn

This article is terrific and I am working towards this every day. However, what do I do when my three children (ages 7, 5, 5 (twins)) are all "losing it" at the same time? Sometimes I'm yelling so that they can all hear me because they are making so much noise! Also, what do you do when your child follows you?

Comment By : Lauren

This is stuff that I have seen time and time and.... in all my classroom management books: be calm, be fair, be empowered. I have been trying to tell this to my husband, but it took this program to listen to me!!!

Comment By : grantmama55

* Dear SK and Lauren: Both of you asked a question about what to do when your child continues to follow you around the house when you’ve disconnected, when you’ve made a statement such as “It’s not okay to speak to me that way.” Prepare your child first by talking about this new technique you are going to use the next time things begin to escalate. Let them know that you’re going to stop the discussion when it becomes too loud or emotional so that everyone can calm down. When implementing this, first try to wait it out a bit if your child has a problem disconnecting and follows you. It shouldn’t take long for your child to realize that you’re not going to talk to them until they calm down. But if it does take some time, make a brief statement to coach them to calm down. Don’t talk about the issue or the argument—just they’re behavior. “You need to find a way to calm yourself down. Take a few deep breaths.” (or whatever technique you have observed that helps your child to calm). What you don’t want to do is mention a consequence in this moment because it’s likely to NOT calm the child down. “If you don’t calm down, don’t expect that sleep-over this weekend.” Remember, the goal here is to have the child start to soothe themselves, so threatening will not help. Do your absolute best to be calm in this moment so that your child can learn from your example as they develop their own skills.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

* Dear Joseph T.: The truth is that many couples encounter conflict because there are differences that exist in their parenting philosophies and approach. What you'd want to strive for is an understanding that those differences will be discussed in private. Communication is the only way to figure out what's important and what you're trying to accomplish and avoid as you raise your daughter. Making the decision to talk about those differences away from the situation bolsters the authority that each of you has with your daughter; It also gives you both a chance to focus on coming to some sort of compromise. Start with one thing. Arguing in front of your daughter presents a divided front. What you're finding is that your daughter uses that as a way to slip out of taking responsibility. The best way for you to respond to that is to say something like, "This is not about me being nice or mean, it's your responsibility to clean your room." Use a lot of language that includes the word responsibility, and refocus things on the problem at hand. I'd like to include an article by James Lehman that gives some guidelines to parents who are trying to get on the same page. Even though it broadly talks about blended families, the portion I mentioned will be helpful to you. I wish you well.

Comment By : Tina Wakefield, Parental Support Line Advisor

My 13 yr old son lies and truly believes he isnt! He lit a fire in a jar in the basement with matches from a restaurant in Alaska. We had just been on vacation there. He denied using them and said another friend brought the matches over! I told him how amazing that another friend had the EXACT same matches from Alaska. He was sticking to that story! I can NEVER get him to acknowledge his own lying. I caught him taking $ out of my purse, ( I watched him from the hall) and when I walked in he denied it, even though he had $ in his hand. He said it was his money, and he just was looking in my purse for his Ipod. I did not yell. I told him I was disappointed in him. "You should not be. I did not take anything" Help!!!

Comment By : Beth

* Dear Beth: Thanks for your question. You are not alone. We get a lot of inquiries about how to handle lying. As James Lehman says, “Kids lie to solve a problem.” Frequently that problem is to avoid punishments. Sometimes they lie to ‘save face’--to protect themselves from your disappointment in them or your disapproval. As James states, “Parents should hold their kids responsible for lying. But the mistake parents make is when they start to blame the kid for lying.” If a parent overreacts to lying and becomes extremely negative, highly emotional, or indicates that they think their child is ‘bad’ in these situations, it can actually push a child to keep lying as they’re accused in an attempt to have you think better of them. Probably the hardest thing to do when kids lie to us is to not take it personally. It’s so normal to feel hurt and angry. Lying is actually an indication that they know they have done something wrong. Their sense of right and wrong is working. (Exceptions: Very young children have problems with fantasy and reality. If you find your child does not seem to ever feel bad about lying or hurting someone, and it seems to be chronic, you may need the help of a professional counselor). In your situation, when you have witnessed your child’s behavior, such as seeing him take money from your purse, it’s not necessary to make him admit it. You can state what you ‘saw or heard’. “I saw you take money from my purse.” Have a simple consequence for choosing to lie about his behaviors then have a separate consequence for the behavior he was lying about. For example, “You lose your computer time this evening for lying. In addition to that, in order to be able to use your computer tomorrow, you will need to discuss with me what you will do differently the next time you are tempted to take something that is not yours. Review Lesson 6, The Alternative Response Process, to prepare you for that conversation with your child. Long, extended punishments that don’t require your child to practice any skills or to accomplish any goals will not help your child learn to be responsible and accountable. Remember that your own example of telling the truth in your home is the best way to teach your child your family’s values and how to solve problems without being dishonest. I hope some of these ideas will help you. For more suggestions, read James’ article, Why Kids Lie and What to Do About It. Good luck and keep in touch with us.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

Using the aproach of just walking away and not taking the yelling just makes my daughter happy. She gets rid of me and she continues her bad behavior.

Comment By : Richard

* Dear Richard: Don’t allow your child’s attitude to get to you. Walk away from the argument. Kids use attitude to vent their frustrations, to get us to change our minds or back down. This is why James Lehman says to ignore attitude and focus on the behavior instead. If your child, even with an attitude, complies with your request or obeys the house rules, then there is no reason to give a consequence. We don’t want to give that attitude any power at all and paying attention to it can make it even worse. However, if your child continues to behave badly, is crossing the line into becoming verbally abusive, or is ignoring your requests or house rules, be sure to give a consequence for that behavior choice. We don’t recommend giving consequences right there in the moment. Walk away and then when things are calm use the alternative response process in Lesson 6 to have a problem solving discussion regarding your child’s behavior. If your daughter refuses to sit down and talk with you, you can put her privileges on hold until she has this conversation with you. Don’t forget you can call into the Support Line and talk to the trained professionals for program techniques to help with what you’re working on that day. Keep in touch. We’re here to help.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

i need help,my son and i are yelling every morning and every night, i want to cry every day. he calls me names hurtful names i dont know how much more i can take ,help please how do i get him to stop calling me names

Comment By : tammyshep

Last night, my daughter and i got into a screaming match. I just thought it would never end. I was up at 2:00am until 3:30 just listening to her want her way with going to the movies with her friends after school. I ask her to leave my room she would not leave, i ingored her she kept on talking...i laid my head down on the bed and tried to sleep she felt that it was not resolved so she was not going to let me go to sleep until we resolve it. i feel so tired today at work. I feel that she is beyond selfish. I feel so angry with my daugther and i'm at my last straw with her.

Comment By : Marie McMullen

* Dear tammyshep: This is a difficult but common situation when you find yourself yelling back and forth to your child. Here is where you would use James’ technique #5 in this article--Get out of the Argument. State, without yelling, “Don’t talk to me that way, I don’t like it.” You can tell your son that there’s been too much yelling lately. “We’re going to make some changes. I’m not going to yell back and forth with you anymore. If it starts up, we’re going to take 15 minutes to calm down first.” It will be important for you to disconnect from the yelling back and forth so that your son sees that things have changed. The other issue you mention, name calling, James would call verbal abuse and recommends that you set limits on that behavior too and give consequences for this behavior. Look at this article by James Lehman for help on how to handle verbal abuse. When Kids Get Ugly: How to Stop Threats and Verbal Abuse, Remember, you can call the trained specialists on the Support Line for help and ideas about implementing the program techniques.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

This is a good article. But what do I do when I get up at 6:00am to shower, then I wake up my 11 year ADHD son who is not a morning person, get his clothes ready & tell him to get dressed but he turns on the TV! I tell him he has til 7:00 to get dressed, does he? Nooooo he doesn't. I threaten to turn off the TV but he pitches a fit. I have to leave for work by 7:30am, he still is not dressed, teeth not brushed etc... I have the worst mornings. Sometimes I end up with a sore throat from us yelling at eachother. He doesn't get the whole tick tock , tick tock scenerio! All we do is yell at eachother every day all day! He has a TV in his room, should it go??? Help! Please!

Comment By : PattyJ

* Dear ‘Patty J’: It sounds like your child is unable to manage the temptation of having a TV in his room. TV gets in the way in a lot of homes if it’s on in the morning because it does stop you in your tracks as you pause to watch it. It’s certainly okay to find out if your child is capable of using a privilege appropriately; but when they are not, sometimes the best solution is to remove that privilege. TV in kid’s bedrooms can be really problematic. Studies show it can affect sleep, is associated with lower school scores, weight gain, and makes it difficult for parents to monitor what kids are watching. You’ll probably get a lot of resistance if you remove the TV. Let him know you are not limiting his ability to watch TV, but you’re changing where he can watch it. If you need more help with your son, call us here at the Support Line. We’d be glad to help.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

This is great , if it works . But my problem is when you walk away from the situation they start doing the same behaviour. When you are talking to them about something they don't want to hear, response is , you can talk to me later. Even if I am not yelling , just an excuse used by them to avoid talking. " Mom you are yelling , stop, I don't want to talk to you ". " Get out of my life, its my life I will do what I want to do". After a little while when they need you. " Mom, I am sorry I need a ride to the mall". I won't do it again. Then few minutes later going back at it again. Phew! I am tired , Help.

Comment By : MM

* Dear ‘MM’: It sounds like you are involved in some frustrating power struggles with your child. It is important to remember, as hard as it may be, that you cannot control what your child does-- you can only control how you react to your child’s behavior and it’s most effective to react in a way that doesn’t allow your child to have any power over you, emotionally or otherwise. If your child tells you to get out of their life say, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” and walk away. If you need to talk to your child about an important issue and they use excuses and blame to avoid the topic, put a privilege on hold until the conversation is over. That ride to the mall can happen after you and your child talk calmly about what they will do differently next time. Here is an article with some helpful tips about remaining calm through power struggles and other challenging behavior issues: Calm Parenting: How to Get Control When Your Child is Making You Angry.

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

I need help: My daughter, now 15, has never learned to obey. When I said do this she always did the opposite: e.g goes to bed really late, is on the computer non-stop, always wakes up late for school, wears heavy make up, etc and in each case, I had told her quite the contrary. Then when I get angry and frustrated, she turns everything around against me, says I'm to blame, that I'm violent (I have slapped her twice out of frustration), and is just hateful. I am really confused now. I have found myself muttering a few times how much I hate her and that i wish I'd never had her. How can I stop hating my own child?

Comment By : kyenikinene

* To ‘kyenikinene’: It can be incredibly frustrating when you have a child who is consistently defiant. Many parents feel a sense of hate for the way their child behaves and wish that things could be different. Furthermore, many parents struggle to separate their child from their child’s behavior. Let me be clear that what you have said here takes courage, and that display of courage tells me you can work through this. However, there is no quick, easy answer here. As James Lehman says, “You have to parent the child you have, not the child you wish you had.” Your child may need you to try some new parenting techniques, as the ones you are using now may not be a good fit for her temperament. If you’re able to change the way you’re interacting, her behavior is more likely to change, and then you might find that your feelings start to change. One good pointer is to walk away and take some time for yourself when you are angry and frustrated with your child—that is not a time when you will be able to have any constructive interaction taking place. We do not support physical discipline of any kind, and we certainly wouldn’t want your daughter to hear you muttering regretful statements, and I sense that you know that these things are not effective. So start by walking away, working on taking care of yourself and your feelings. I am including some articles for you to look through which contain more helpful suggestions and ideas. If you try these things and you still feel like you are not making the progress you want to make, then it would be a good idea to reach out to a local support such as your physician, your daughter’s school counselor, a religious leader, or a local mental health counselor to name some examples. We wish you luck as you work through this. Please know that you are not alone. Take care.
"I Love My Child...But Sometimes I Can't Stand Him!"
Calm Parenting: How to Get Control When Your Child is Making You Angry

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

I have found remaining calm and not yelling has been extremely helpful, except for ONE problem I am now having. When I try to discipline my daughters, such as ask them to do a certain chore or tell them "no", they often will say "stop yelling at me" or start yelling at me, and then refuse to cooperate because I'm yelling at them, when I HAVE NOT been yelling, and actually have made a conscious effort to reamin calm. It is very frustrating, because their reason for not cooperating is because I'm yelling at them. They say my firm voice is yelling, and I clearly am very calmly stating my request. Also, I understand that my look can appear angry, so I also try to keep my face calm, and walk away. Any other suggestions, on how I can respond without getting defensive and arguing about whether I'm yelling or not? I do restate and move one, but further suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!

Comment By : Kady

* To Kady: Your situation sounds very frustrating. It seems like your daughters are engaging in a type of thinking error James Lehman refers to as “turnarounds.” Turnarounds happen when you are trying to hold your child accountable and your child makes the discussion about you. The natural response for most parents is to defend themselves. Don’t get sucked into a long conversation about how you are not yelling, you are just asking her to do x, y, and z. This discussion just helps them put off their chores even longer. Your response should be brief and businesslike. For example, “You know I am not yelling. You need to get your chores done by 5pm. Go do it,” or “We’re not talking about me, we’re talking about you and it’s your responsibility to ____________.” Once you get the conversation back on track—back on them and their responsibilities—turn around and walk away. Try this in addition to continuing to be aware of your tone, face, and other nonverbal language. With time, the turnarounds should fade away. Here is an article where James talks about thinking errors: The Secret to Understanding Acting-Out Behavior: 5 Common Thinking Errors Kids Make

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

This is to sk, You ask what to do? I would put a sash lock on the Elderly Parent Door from the inside, and set up a writing/folding Table in there, so when your Child follows you- arguing- Go into Elder Parent Room, close the door, lock it, and continue your day from a desk or table you have prepared ahead of time for Yourself. If you can get a computer in there for emergencies, you can log in to your dayplanners from that vantage point. Kind of a emergency peace corner just for you.

Comment By : Shelly

I'm a grandmother of 7yrs old granddaughter and 3yrs old grandson which is my care full time, also I am the mother/ legal guardian of their mother /my daughter, whom is a depend adult with learning disabilities right from birth, and mental health issues. My biggest problem is my granddaughter is copying the some of negative behaviours of her mother. I asked her why she is doing this and her answer is...” I want to be like my mom, I want to do the good things like mom and not the bad," I explained to my granddaughter that her mother will always have behaviours, that ‘s why I or others help her think things through where she is doing wrong, where you know the difference between you and your mother of right and wrong. It’s not that I don’t know how to disciple her when she is coping these behaviours so much but how do I get her to be her own person not so fix on her mother in negative way ? When my daughter comes to visit her children and me, my rules are if you disagree with me speak to me in private not where children are, Also there to be , no swearing, no outburst and if you don’t calm down then your asked to leave. For example: My daughter and I were in the Mall and I was in a line up now getting ready to pay for my things where she come up drop down cell phone cards of 120.00 wanting me to pay for them for her. I said no to her calmly, in an loud outburst she was explaining to me why she needed them, again I said I heard why you need them but the answer is still no. We get out the store tying to change the subject, she is still upset but getting very loud and say, find you won’t be able to get a hold of me so what are you going to do about that? By then I pulled her a sided way from the children and said calm down. I said I don’t like the tone of voice you using nor am I going to give in and because what I said, I then told her to leave. I gave her things by then my granddaughter started to crying because she then knew that her mother was leaving. I calmly took granddaughter into my arms and said, yes mom is going to go home now. With this information that I was giving my granddaughter she started to hyperventilating because of the stress of her mother leaving, not saying good bye and saying rude remark out loud... I took granddaughter to a quiet place and said in firm calm tone of voice to stop or you going make yourself pass out, then I will have to call for the ambulance to come and t we will not be able to continue do our Christmas Shopping. .Within three to four seconds my granddaughter calm right down, I asked if she ok and then said lets go shopping in a happy tone of voice and got her thinking about pictures with Santa. Inclosing, I am just concern how this is negative behaviours of my depend adult daughter will effect my granddaughters’s behaviours if she is trying so hard to be like her mom. Thank you for any suggest or help you can give to me.

Comment By : Frances

* To Frances: It sounds like you are in a tough situation with your daughter, and your granddaughter. It is pretty normal for kids around your granddaughter’s age to copy the behaviors of significant adults in their lives. It also looks like you are doing a great job of role-modeling effective responses to the inappropriate behaviors that you’re dealing with by limit setting and “stopping the show.” It might be helpful to talk with your granddaughter about problem solving, and other ways that she can handle a situation when tempted to copy her mom’s behaviors. It could also be useful to look into some local supports for both yourself and your granddaughter as you work through her mom’s behaviors. A good place to start is www.211.org. 211 is an informational service that can help to connect you with resources in your area. You can also reach them by calling 1 (800) 273-6222. Good luck as you continue to work through this with your family.

Comment By : Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

I agree that yelling up the stairs is plain foolish. 5 min. later the child forgot just what was said. Rather talk to your child face to face and show them you are interested in them, loose the overpowering yet watch the im your friend method. There is a fine line and each parent needs to find that in their home.

Comment By : PV

I agree that yelling up the stairs is plain foolish. 5 min. later the child forgot just what was said. Rather talk to your child face to face and show them you are interested in them, loose the overpowering yet watch the im your friend method. There is a fine line and each parent needs to find that in their home.

Comment By : PV

What do I do as the mother when my husband and 14 year old daughter's father gets in her face yelling like a mad man. She was tired from basketball practice and her dad was trying to tell her in a harsh tone how to correctly shoot the ball. She was wrong in showing lack of interest in what he was saying but then it turned really wrong when he started yelling at her and got in her face demanding she respect him. She shuts down and doesnt say anything but he continues to scream. This has happened more than once in my house between them and I don't know how to get him to see where he is wrong. My daughter went to apologize and he doesnt accept her apology. What is wrong with him.? We have been married for 15 years and he has no clue how to deal with our teen daughter and will not listen to my advice. What do I do in this situation?

Comment By : Dawn

* To Dawn: It is so difficult to watch when two members of your family cannot get along, and you feel stuck in the middle. It can help to talk with your husband when things are calm about how you can respond to your daughter in a similar way. It is normal for you to respond to her differently because you are different people from different family backgrounds. This is also not to say that you both need to respond in exactly the same way and agree on everything when it comes to parenting effectively. We recommend finding some common ground; for example, you both want your daughter to treat her parents respectfully. From that common agreement, you can start to find ways to approach this from the same viewpoint. I am including a link to an article I think you might find helpful: Differences in Parenting? How Your Child May Be Using it Against You. Good luck to you and your family as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

I need help! My 12 year old daughter and her father (We aren't together anymore) don't get along at all. She goes to his house everyother Sunday and begs not to go. The reason for this being he yells at her for not agreeing with what he is saying. An example being soccer. My daughter wears glasses and takes them off when she plays soccer. It's her fathers job to take her to practices and and games. One day she came running through the door crying after one of her soccer games. I asked whatwas wrong and she replied saying that he told her that all the good athletes have great eyesight, which she didn't agree with, and he started yelling at her in the car because she said he was being rude. I don't get along with her father either and don't like to get involved, but this wasn't the first time something like this had happened, so when he came to pick her up the next day for her to go to his house I asked him about it and he said she was lying. My daughter started crying because she couldn't believe he was lying. It has been 3 months since it happened but she is not over it and starts yelling whenever she has to go to his house. What should I do?

Comment By : LaLa

* To ‘Lala’: It’s so hard to see your child having a hard time getting along with their other parent. One of the most effective things you can do to help your daughter is teach her some more effective ways of coping with her feelings about her father. You can ask her what’s going on for her when she starts yelling, and reiterate that yelling isn’t going to help the situation or solve her problem. You can then talk about what she can do differently to handle the situation in a better way. Ultimately what it comes down to is that you can’t control dad but you can control the kind of behavior you choose to model for your daughter as well as helping her develop better coping skills for the situation. Here is an article that includes more information about problem solving: The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: "I Can't Solve Problems." We wish you and your daughter luck as you work through this. Take care.

Comment By : Sara Bean. M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

There are many questions I would love to ask you but my big one is that my oldest child wants to engage in yelling while I am driving. He is verbally assertive and wants to push all my buttons. The problem is that I am driving and if I can I pull over but often I can't. As soon as we start driving again the yelling starts again. The disagreements are usually about how he feels treated unfairly compared to his brother and sister. He has privleges taken away more often because of his his behavior. I am very afraid of getting in an accident and hitting someone because I am so distracted. I appreciate any suggestions you have.

Comment By : Tammy

* To “Tammy”: This is a really tough situation. It’s understandable you would be worried about possibly getting into an accident. Having a yelling child in the car can be a definite distraction. It’s good that you pull over when you are able. That would be the first thing we would suggest on the Parental Support Line. Not only does it help to get you out of traffic when you are being distracted, it also helps you to assume control in a difficult situation. You may have to do it more than once during the drive as a way to set the limit for his behavior. We would also suggest talking with your son during a time when its calm and problem solve with him more effective ways to deal with his anger and frustration than yelling. At the end of the conversation, you can also let him know what the consequence for his behavior next time will be; something such as loss of a privilege for the evening might be appropriate. Here are a couple of other articles that have some excellent ideas that may be helpful for you as you work through this issue. Calm Parenting: How to Get Control When Your Child is Making You Angry & The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: "I Can't Solve Problems" . I hope this has been helpful. Take care.

Comment By : D. Rowden, Parental Support Advisor

My 9 and 13 year old were screaming at each other today. One stole something from the other because the other one stole something first, etc. I tried to intervene but was quickly over whelmed by their screaming. I put my hand other my daughter's mouth and told her to stop. I may have scratched her face or she did it to herself intentionally. I have never hit them but what I did was wrong. The point is, I can't take their screaming and need to stop two kids from screaming before it escalates but I need to keep from loosing it myself. Any suggestions?

Comment By : Unsprung

* To “Unsprung”: Thank you for taking the time to share with us your concerns. Sibling issues can be some of the more frustrating behaviors for parents to deal with. We just want our kids to get along and when they don’t, we feel at a loss as to how to address their differences. Their screaming definitely adds to the frustration. It’s great that you realized trying to deal with the behavior the way you did was not the most effective way of addressing the behavior. What is probably going to be most effective in the moment is to disconnect from the situation and walk away. Go to another room, out onto the porch or even out in the backyard if you need to in order to keep yourself calm. As Debbie Pincus discusses in her article Kids Fighting? Read This Before Summer Starts it’s OK to take a time out when your children are pushing your buttons. After things have calmed down you can go back and hold your children accountable for screaming and fighting. It might be helpful to work with them on ways they can calm down as well. There are some great tips for how to do this in the article How to Handle Temper Tantrums: Coaching Kids to Calm Down. I hope this has been helpful. Good luck as you and your family work through this frustrating situation. Take care.

Comment By : D. Rowden, Parental Support Advisor

you are so rite about yelling: puts u on the childs level, I found out after many matches; i hav 4 granddaughters who hav lived w me for the past 10 yrs; theyr 17 now, onli thing is, they get in their rooms and snicker, talk about and mock me; makes me furious but i dont say anything

Comment By : shrarma

Iam a single deaf mum of two boys aged 8 and 7 years old whenever i talk to them i yelled at them alots the problems is that i cant hear my self yelling at them and i always tell them when i do yell at them please tell me you're yelling at us but they dont tell me i supposed that they got used to it and when they are in trouble as mornal kids do i tell them off or ask them to do as they told and they yelling back at me so they are using my deafness thinking that i cant hear them yelling ( i wear my hearing aids) most of the time i do hear them yelling. The problem is that they have got used to it of me yelling them and back to me. I have asked their teachers do they yelling at school they replied no yelling at school. Iam getting worried now as they are getting older its could leading more serious between three of us turing into a screaming match. Any suggestions please

Comment By : michelle

* To “michelle”: Thank you for sharing your story. Many parents find themselves trapped in screaming matches with their children, so, you’re in good company. It can be difficult to learn more effective ways of responding. Using face to face communication, developing a look of positive regard and having an open discussion around yelling are some suggestions of how not to get caught in a yelling match. Another effective way of helping your children develop better ways of interacting is role modeling the appropriate behavior. I can understand you may not always be aware when you are yelling. Many parents yell in situations where they are feeling frustrated, upset or powerless. When faced with situations where you are feeling like that, it may be helpful to disengage and walk away. After you have had a chance to calm down, you can then address your child’s behavior and hold him accountable for the choices he is making. For example, let’s say you have asked your son to complete a task. When you go to check on him, you see he hasn’t done what you’ve asked him to do. If you find yourself getting upset, take a moment to walk away and calm down. Once you feel calm, go back and let your son know he needs to complete the task. If he chooses not to, there will be a consequence. At this point, it’s going to be best if you again walk away and allow him to make the choice he’s going to make. I can understand how hard it is to remain calm when you child is making bad choices. It’s a challenge for most parents. Debbie Pincus gives some excellent advise for how to be a calm parent in the following articles you may find helpful: Calm Parenting: How to Get Control When Your Child is Making You Angry and 4 Tools to Help You Stay Calm with Your Difficult Child. I hope this is helpful for your situation. Take care and be sure to keep in touch.

Comment By : D. Rowden, Parental Support Advisor

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