Having closely observed the results from parents yelling at their children, it is obvious that yelling does not reinforce discipline. Children whose parents yell at them all the time begin to not hear them at all. It becomes the parent’s normal voice, portrays the parent as unstable, and creates a situation that the child chooses to completely ignore. It is also true that yelling parents almost never follow through on correcting the child’s behavior beyond the actual yelling.
Unless a child is suddenly in imminent danger of being harmed, at which time you would yell to them to stop, or don’t move, which of course would get their attention, that would be a “yell of alarm” and they would react instantly.
If we truly want to correct a childs bad behavior, it is important to take the time to explain why the behavior is unacceptable, and then enforce that with some form of discipline appropriate for the misdeed. However, it is unwise to threaten some form of discipline and not follow through. That is usually what happens when a parent constantly yells. All noise and no action.
One example of bad behavior would be when a child refuses to sit at the table to eat meals. Some parents feel it is okay to feed them on the run as they pass through while playing. Similar to the way kids feed the dog from the table. Their theory is, better the child eat something than nothing. But logic should tell you that your child is not going to starve himself. He will eat something when he is ready. Resorting to yelling at the child to sit down and eat is usually a waste of time. You have allowed the child to eat on the run, and it will be difficult to change him without persistence.
Part of raising the child is to let him know there are certain times for meals and everybody sits down to eat at that time. That is when the child should be ready to eat and be placed at the table with food on his plate. If he does not eat during the meal time, the food should be removed and the child dismissed (without a fuss) and not given anything more until next meal. By then, he will be hungry and he will eat. The less commotion made, the easier it will be to set the pattern for meals and the only discipline would be to not give in and give the child treats in-between mealtimes. As with all things in a child’s life, if you make an issue of it, the child will make it a major issue. Always try to avoid over-reacting. Children love to mock adults.
Should bedtime be the main problem, there are certain steps that need to be taken. Quiet time before bedtime is always the best route to take. For young children, ages two through four, they should not have television time after dinner. They should be given their bath after the meal and settled down to some quiet activity that gives them the chance to relax. Their day has been full of activity and now they must unwind, just like you. Reading stories to them is always a good idea. Taking time to discuss some of the things they did during the day, or making plans for tomorrow would also settle them down.
Stress the fact that they must stay in bed and go to sleep or there will be no special plans for the next day. You don’t have to promise a trip to the zoo or taking them to a movie. Any simple thing that can be done at home can still be “big plans” to a child. Baking cookies, making sock puppets, picking flowers, whatever you can think of to do especially for and with the children is a plan.
All of these suggestions are based on having a structured routine. Structure in a child’s life and routine are the makings of a well behaved child. Yelling at them does not make you the authority figure., Yelling at them only accomplishes one thing… it teaches them to completely ignore you. And believe me, children are far better at ignoring you than you could ever imagine.