Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yelling is counter-productive. Not only is it not an effective way to discipline your teenager, but it causes resentments. Causing resentments is not the best way to manage a teenager who may be on the verge of being out-of-control. Why does it happen so often?

I believe that it is because the yelling becomes the discipline. In other words, there is no discipline or accountability. We just rip em a new one. That'll teach em. Unfortunately, this does not usually teach them much, other than this: if you're feeling mad go ahead and yell and blame other people. Once our teenagers have learned this lesson we can be sure that we will at some point have them yelling and blaming us. How can we cut down on the yelling?

First: admit that yelling is not effective. Period. It just doesn't work for you- except that maybe you feel better because you blew off some steam. But what did it do to change your teenager's behavior? Admit that it must be all about making you feel better because it is not helping your teenager's behavior.

Second: become aware of when you are yelling. Pay attention to what precedes a yelling outburst. Try to see it coming so that you can strategize how to avoid it. Ask your teenager to point out to you when you are yelling. That's a favor that most teens would be more than happy to perform.

Third: Follow a strategy to change your yelling. For example, hold your teenager accountable for his behavior. Theodore Roosevelt wrote, "I have always been fond of the West African proverb: `Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.'' Do less yelling at teens and do more holding teens accountable. Ground them. Take their cell phones. Take their license. Take their computer time. Suddenly, you will feel less like riping them a new one because you sort of did that already.

Fourth: Move in closer- make good eye contact- and talk slowly and quietly- and really mean what you say. Your teenagers will be surprised. You might be surprised too at how effective and powerful this is. Also, if they are yelling at you they will find that it is difficult to continue to yell once someone moves in on them an inch or so and starts talking slowly.


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Anonymous said...

I have been reading the PSST Never the Less blogs and found the one on YELLING very helpful because at times I have gotten into shouting matches which were completely counter productive. I am proud to say that I stayed completly calm and rational even when Cisco was angry in the car today. He was angry and unhappy and swore some. Since I stayed calm he was willing to share with me that he had talked to his X-girl friend and he told me the things she said that made him angry. I sympathized with him and his anger melted away.


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