A vow of yellibacy
> Make a promise to stop shouting as that is not healthy for parents or children in the long run
DO YOU always yell at your children? As in, not a day goes by without you raising your voice? Studies have shown that people who lose their temper often are five times more likely to have a heart attack, and three times more likely to suffer a stroke within two hours of an outburst.
These are the findings of the Harvard School of Public Health, based on 18 years’ worth of data.
Yelling also affects your children negatively. They may grow up to have low self-esteem as well as insecurity, depression and relationship problems.
But, you say, ‘if I don’t yell at my kids, they won’t listen and do as I say’.
Really? If they need you to yell at them all the time, doesn’t it mean that they have become immune to your yelling?
It may have hardened their hearts and cause them to build up walls in their defence.
But how do you tame the yelling tendency?
Realise that you have to manage your own emotions.
Pay attention to what triggers your yelling and shouting bouts. Most probably they are usually centred around the same pet peeves.
For instance, you may get worked up because your son doesn’t put his dirty clothes in the hamper.
The minute you spy his laundry all over his room, your blood pressure shoots up and you shout at him: “How many times must I tell you ... !”
Stop right there! In midsentence. Take a timeout. Breathe in deeply. Breathe out. Count to 50.
If you can’t manage it still, walk away from the scene of crime. Go take a shower or whatever it takes for you to cool down.
Speak to your son only when you are in control, and you can talk calmly.
Tell him that you won’t wash his clothes if they’re not put properly in the hamper.
He may take you lightly and still go about on his messy way.
Let him run out of clean clothes to wear, and he will get the message.
Also, don’t take things personally.
When the children take their time to do your bidding, or forget about it, they are not doing so to spite you.
It’s not about you. It’s because they struggle with their own problems – be it procrastination, slothfulness, time management or whatever the reason may be.
Help them work on their problems, but not by yelling.
Put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective.
Do you like to be constantly berated and yelled at?
Wouldn’t you prefer a gentler approach though you may be in the wrong?
Some psychologists advocate taking a vow of ‘yellibacy’ – a promise not to yell.
This will help strengthen and build a warm, loving relationship with your children.
At the same time, you are modelling a healthy communication style to them so that, in turn, they can apply that and enjoy good relationships with their own spouses and offspring in the future.
Lydia Teh is a mother of four and author of nine books, including Cow Sense for Young People. Send comments to lifestyle.lydia@ thesundaily.com.