“Want to stop screaming at your teen? Easy. Then just stop screaming at your teen.”
How could it ever actually be that simple?
There is the truth that screaming doesn’t work all that well, especially if your teen has become so used to hearing you yell that it doesn’t have much of an impact anymore … but we know parenting a teen is emotive and when tensions and frustrations are high… so too are voices!
Trust me, I’m no innocent here; having yelled at my kids (and teens in class) more often than I’d like to. Though with self-reflection and growth comes change, and I’m certainly less likely to let loose with the loud voice now. Experience has shown me yelling is rarely effective and my heart has recognised that’s not how I want to communicate.
When you acknowledge that being a teen in today’s world can be as frustrating for them as it is for us parenting them, we can parent from a place of compassion. No one is doing it easily.
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We need to consider the likelihood that our teen’s moods may have been fuelled by a day of peer drama, confusing classes at school, confronting social media messages and more. None of which are easily processed by the developing teen brain.
How do teens react to the stresses of their daily life? Emotionally of course. And that in turn promotes an emotional response in us … and these are the times we all want to scream at each other.
Problematically, screaming turns parents into their teen’s emotional equal. It might be a case of fighting fire with fire, but it’s not taking the high road and showing them a better way of communication.
When you lose your cool, scream and get out of control, they know and feel it — and while you remain in that fight with them, your authority and parental leadership is undermined.
- Your teen will learn how to make you lose your authority and control. They’ll discover the buttons to push and enjoy the sport that this becomes.
- Your teen will learn that power (gained by yelling) can be what it takes to get their own way and apply this strategy when dealing with others
- Your teen will learn how to easily undermine you and your decisions by screaming back. They’ll eventually stop listening when the screaming starts and the wheels will just spin.
There are more negatives that can come from yelling, those are just a few.
SO… if you want to avoid the raised voices roundabout let’s discuss some tips on how to stop the screaming battle with your teen
Have Face To Face Communication
That’s right! A back-to-basics discussion, where you can guide your teen in the art of conversation without yelling.
This should of course be without gadgets or any other interruptions that can distract from the message.
Start simply, perhaps over a family dinner, and inform them that from now on everyone in the household will commit to minimise any yelling by practicing calm and fair communication. You may even like to establish some guidelines for this, like:
- No screens allowed during the conversation
- Allow each person to speak without interruption
- Never let the conversation finish without a plan moving forward, or at least an agreement to disagree without blame or hard feelings
Implement Some Family Schedules and Routines
Many teens and parents who end up yelling and arguing do so because there aren’t clearly established routines and boundaries.
Having reasonable expectations, with these clearly communicated, eliminates the wishy-washy space where misunderstandings and frustrations can creep in.
Some examples of where expectations and routines can be established to ease the angst include:
- An agreed time at night where devices are turned off and put in a family area, such as the kitchen, until morning
- A roster for sharing common household tasks such as clearing the dishes, taking out the bins etc
- An agreement around their self care routines to ease any need to nag
- Regularly scheduled family time
- A willingness to review things and make adjustments to what’s not working for everyone
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Set Your Best Example…. Especially When It’s Hard
Your teen may not listen to what you have to say or appreciate the calmness you are trying to create unless they see the change and effort in you. The shift from yelling and screaming needs to begin with the parent, as the adult, leading with action.
The above ideas…. and of course walking away from inflammatory situations should you need time out for counting to 10… should be helpful in avoiding future screamfests. And, believe me, the screaming battles in your home will dissipate naturally once you stop starting them or engaging in them if invited to by your teen.
If there’s a story about this topic or some ideas you’d like to share, please feel free to get in touch.
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