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 Calm Voices, Calmer Kids

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Jirapa006
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PostSubject: Calm Voices, Calmer Kids   2nd December 2015, 11:34 pm

Calm Voices, Calmer Kids
Sometimes it’s hard to keep your cool, but less yelling means better communication

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Beth Arky
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CHILD MIND INSTITUTE
Before hopping aboard the rollercoaster ride called parenthood, people sans kids have likely witnessed exasperated moms and dads losing it in Aisle 5 and thought smugly, "I'm never going to yell at my kids."
And then they have families of their own and reality sets in. For as their munchkins reach each much-anticipated developmental milestone, they acquire some less desirable skills as well. So a 2-year-old who "scribbles spontaneously" may very well exhibit her newfound talent all over freshly painted walls and prized furniture (see Sh*t My Kids Ruined), while emerging language allows her to repeat certain choice words again and again, including the ever-popular "No!"
Parents know that in the midst of the mayhem, staying calm (aka not yelling) is a golden rule. But unless you're made of stone, it's pretty tough to maintain a measured tone when you're dealing with kids day in and day out. When parents yell, "they've lost it," says Dr. Steven G. Dickstein, a child and adolescent psychiatrist. "They're overwhelmed with anger or frustration."
There are very few situations that merit yelling, other than when a child is doing something dangerous or harmful. Yet "I don't think there's a parent who hasn't yelled," says Alice Long, who blogs at Mother L about son D, 3, and daughter Em, 2. "This will happen. Let it go."
So why is it so important to be firm-without raising your voice?
What's wrong with yelling?
Upping the ante, losing the message: Yelling often fails to get the point across because emotions can overcome the message. They will also likely escalate the situation and their children's aggression, be it verbal or physical.

Heard it all before: If parents yell all the time, Dr. Dickstein notes, "kids may either shut down or ignore it because it's nothing new." Adds Kara Gebhart Uhl, a mother of three and the blogger behind Pleiades Bee, , "Sometimes, a whispered 'I'm very disappointed with your actions' is much more startling to a child than a screaming rant."

Hard on self-esteem: We know that yelling and harsh parenting are associated with lower self-esteem for kids, and can affect their performance in school. Kids who are the object of verbal aggression are at risk for aggressive or disruptive behavior. Dr. Dickstein cautions that when mom or dad yells, the child may feel the parent doesn't "love them or even like them" and can only criticize.

Missing out on the positive: When yelling is the chronic mode of communication, both children and parents are missing out on the chance to form positive, affectionate bonds. And for kids predisposed to anxiety and depression, internalizing these negative interactions may be the tipping point.

You feel bad, too: Meanwhile, blowouts can leave parents feeling guilty, frustrated and demoralized. Adults who express anger in negative ways increase their chronic stress, which contributes to health problems.
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