Do you often find yourself shouting at children and threatening them with punishment instead of a silent treatment? True, for many of us, ‘shouting’ comes as the last resort discipline measure when everything else fails. But have you ever wondered what gives way to shouting? Often in order to exert power, we shout to intimidate children for every infraction or whenever we feel challenged or threatened by their behaviour. There are also occasions when we flare up at slightest provocation and shout or when we notice shouting helps get quick results. At times, we yell out of sheer frustration and on other occasions when children don’t obey, shouting feels like the only option left in our discipline arsenal. However, congruently, you should also keep in mind that shouting is not only harmful but also an ineffective disciplinary tool.
Many of us wonder, what is the best way to teach our children discipline. We should always remember that the word ‘discipline’ actually means ‘to teach’. We should, thus, look for opportunities to train or coach our child and not just punish him/her for committing a mistake. Shouting can have a profoundly negative impact on a child’s well-being. By shouting we either create somebody who shouts back at us or somebody who is shamed and retreats. Shouting can result into low self-esteem, increase the likelihood of depression and troubled behaviour and promote aggression in children. Researchers, on the other hand, have concluded that parent’s hostility and shouting can have adverse effects and could actually lead to an increase in the risk of delinquency, by lowering inhibition and fostering anger, irritability and belligerence in adolescents. Moreover, by shouting, we model our children to do the same, which do not inculcate any positivity in them. In addition, it makes the behavioural problems even worse and kids tend to become desensitised to the volume in the long run. Also, shouting often leads to a power struggle. The more we shout, the more likely they are to behave defiantly.
Hence, it is imperative for us to understand the real reasons behind children’s behaviour and not simply interpret it as defiance. Instead of pointing out what they did wrong, we should emphasise on showing them how to set things right. Silence and not shout here plays a key role. By being silent and polite we can turn the tables in our favour. Parents, thus, need to work on their own self regulation in order to help kids with theirs. Adopting silence as a disciplinary tool can help be kind and firm at the same time. Good discipline is the result of communication, respect and love. We should, thus, motivate the child to follow the rules by using positive reinforcement and praise them for following rules.
Communicating with children and helping them understand what they did wrong instead of shouting can make them realise their mistake and defer them from repeating it in future. This can also be used as an opportunity to teach them something better and what they can learn from their mistakes. Apart from that, setting clear expectations, using reminders instead of commanding or ordering them to do tasks, and coming up to an agreeable solution among others are some techniques that can be adopted in order to silently discipline the child without having to resort to shouting.
In other words, silence is definitely a better disciplinary tool that positively impacts children and brings out the best in them. Moreover, it cannot be denied that children respond better to silence than shout and would comply with the rules set for them when spoken to softly. Silent treatment can, thus, form the basis of a strong and respectful relationship ahead.
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