I would love to say I never do it. That I am a constantly calm mum, who never ever raises her voice at her children. But that would be a complete and utter lie. So here’s the truth.
I try so hard not to, and I feel awful every time I do it. But I do shout at my children. And from the conversations I have with my friends outside the school gates I know I’m not the only one who does it.
The thing is, we’re all human.
We slip up, we get frustrated, and we shout. And part of me thinks it’s good for our children to see that we’re not perfect and that we do lose control at times. What really matters more than the shouting itself, is what we do afterwards.
So there are 3 things I try to remember to do in the moments after I’ve shouted.
1. Say sorry.
This is always the first step for me.
I take some deep breaths, get down to my children’s eye level if I can and say I’m sorry for shouting.
Then I’ll explain why I got so angry and why I ended up shouting.
I think it’s important to explain what it was about their actions that led to me shouting, to try and avoid the same thing happening in the future. But it’s also important to explain the emotions I was feeling at the time. To let them know that we all feel these big emotions, and to give them the words to be able to discuss their own feelings of anger and frustration.
The apology bit is really key for me though.
As well as letting them know that I’m sorry for shouting, it also lets them know that I’m human, that I don’t always handle things perfectly.
If my children are upset after I’ve shouted then I’ll give them a big hug to reassure them that everything is ok.
Studies have found that children need 5 positive interactions for ever 1 negative one, so it’s important to reconnect with them after shouting. You don’t have to do anything huge, just give them your time and attention. Put down your phone and have a chat with them about their day. Get down on the floor and play with them for a bit. Sit on the sofa together and read a book.
Just do something positive to balance the scales a bit and get your day back on track.
3. Let it go.
I don’t mean forget it ever happened exactly, but forgive yourself for doing it and move on.
None of us are perfect as parents. We all slip up and make mistakes. We all have days when we’re tired and stressed and we snap.
Don’t let it taint the rest of your day with your family. Take a minute to calm down, talk it over with your children, have a big hug and then let it go.
So, next time you reach boiling point and shout, don’t beat yourself up about it too much. Just say sorry, reconnect and let it go. And remember that we’re all just doing our best as parents.
Do you shout more than you like, or are you generally a calm and in-control kind of parent? What do you do to put things right with your children if and when you do shout at them?