Are you tired of yelling at your kids? If so, read this book. Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood, by Jim Fay and Charles Fay, Ph.D. is a wonderful parenting book. This book is geared for parents of children from birth to age 6. They have other books if your child is older and you want to try the love and logic approach. However, if you start young, you will save yourself a lot of grief later on.
My son is almost 2 and I have been researching and reading parenting books like crazy. A few months ago he started the "terrible two's" and having fits of rage. This was very frustrating and my natural tendency is to yell at him to stop that.. But that's not how I wanted to parent. Which is why I set out to find other ways. Can I be a parent who speaks softly to my child? Will my child listen if I don't raise my voice? I will be honest, this approach was not the most natural for me. I grew up in a home where yelling was the norm. I didn't like it and yet it is so easy to go back to how you were raised. However, after some practice, not yelling becomes very easy.
I love how the love and logic approach works. No more yelling, no more repeating yourself. One of the first steps to this approach is making deposits in your child's life by giving them lots of choices. This way they gain healthy control over their lives and learn to think for themselves. The choices you give them do not hurt anyone else, are choices you approve of, and can be fun. Such as, "would you like to go to the park or stay home and play." "Would you like milk or water to drink for lunch?"
When you need your child to do something, such as clean up their toys, give them one chance. If they choose not to obey, then there is an age-appropriate consequence. First show your child empathy by stating something like "how sad" or "bummer" then state the the consequence. Such as, "feel free to pick up the toys you want to keep." Then the toys that your child doesn't pick up, you take their toys away and say, "how sad, how would you like to pay for your toys?" If they need help deciding offer some suggestions. Then they earn back their toys by helping you with chores. Obviously, this example is for older toddler/preschooler, but you can start teaching your child how to pick up their toys early on by helping them and gradually letting them do it by themselves. Then once you are consistent with the consequences you will naturally eliminate many of the problems you are having. What kid wants their toys taken away? If they don't care or don't want to earn them back then get rid of them. Also by only asking once and giving them one chance you are preparing them for the real world. Most of life you only get one chance. If you take your eyes off the road for a few seconds to look at your phone and a tire in the road comes flying at you, you may have lost your chance to safely get out of the way. The police officer who pulls you over for speeding usually will not give you a warning but will write you a ticket, and so on.
If your child whines or yells at you, simply teach them that you do not listen to whining or yelling and will listen to them when their voice is as calm as yours. Then ignore their behavior until they use a calm voice like yours. This also teaches your child self-control. Because honestly, who enjoys hearing a person whine?
You do not have to yell or raise your voice to get your child's attention. Using a soft voice works wonders. Not losing your temper makes parenting a lot easier. And you know what? Your child will listen. I have been using the methods in this book for a about a month and it is amazing how well it is working on my 22 month old. If you want to learn more, read this book. It is probably one of my favorite parenting books. Simple to use, loving, it builds responsibility in your child, and it works!
While this book is not a Christian book, one verse in the Bible kept coming to mind when I was reading about keeping calm when dealing with my child.
Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) - A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.