Tag: yelling

“I Overreacted and Gave My Child Too Harsh a Consequence…. Now What..?”

Dad: Kerry, I’m a single dad and wondering how I can gracefully back out from having overreacted and given my son a harsher consequence than I should have?

Clever kidHe’s 4 and was throwing water out of the bathtub. I got mad and told him he had to go straight to bed with no stories. I cooled down a few minutes later and realized I had overreacted. I told him I was sorry that I’d gotten so irritated and I had reconsidered and that he didn’t have to go to bed yet. But now I’m worried that I’ve lost credibility with him. Was there a better way to handle that?

Kerry: Chris, I think the way you handled it was completely appropriate. It’s ok to teach your kids that sometimes we adults re-think things and change our minds. It’s also ok to model that a normal part of being a grown-up is making mistakes and then fixing them.

If you want to bring a little more playfulness into your parenting, you can try a “re-do.” That’s where you tell your son that you didn’t like the way you handled the bathtub scene and that you would like to re-do it. You playfully back out of the bathroom and pretend you are talking backwards. Then you stick your head back in and ask if he’s ready for you to do that scene over. You can say, “Bathtub Scene, Take Two.” You might even ask him to splash the water again! (That’s optional.) Then you go in and handle the situation the way you wished you had done it in the first place.
Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2014 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and
Family Therapist
and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps
parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Want to Stop Yelling at Your Kids?

Bless my kids and their cranky days.

If my 3 boys were perfect and delightful all the time, I’d have no credibility as a parenting instructor. Lucky for me, I don’t have that problem!

Just the other morning, I was tempted to yell. I came right to the brink when two of them were participating in their well-loved sport that I call “Combat Brothering.” I was so annoyed.

It started with little snide comments….under the breath criticisms about how the other breathes or chews or feeds the dog or blows his nose. Then it ramped up to yelling and tattling. That day’s round involved throwing gumdrops at each other and leaving them wherever they fell, mostly on the carpet where I almost smashed one into my newly cleaned rug. Irritating. After screaming at me about his spelling words, one son got himself sent to his room to “get sweet.” He came back down too soon, still slinging word-darts at me. By this time, I was fed up. I felt the irritation rising. I know my pattern and I could tell I was on the road to yelling at my kid.

I knew that I had to head this off then and there, before I raised my voice and sentenced myself to a day of mommy-guilt. I remembered my friend’s technique for getting kids to cool down and I told one son to go run around the block. Ya, right. He said, “You come with me!” I looked down and saw that I still had on running shoes and workout clothes, so I said, “Fine!”

As we both ran outside on a beautiful spring morning, I realized something: If we parents want to stop yelling at our kids, the most important thing to focus on is preventing the escalation. When we’re not yet at “the edge,” our brain functions better and is more resourceful. When we are calm we can remember to use the parenting strategies we already know. But once we reach that explosive point, it’s really, really hard to rein it in, kind of like the BP oil spill. Once the pressure got to a certain point, there was no stopping it until it had spread sludge everywhere and coated everything with muck. Isn’t our parental yelling pretty much the same?

It takes a lot of work for some of us to stop yelling. One technique that can help is going “brain dead” (a Love and Logic™ idea) when our kids argue and yell. The trick is to keep ourselves from getting engaged in the fight. After all, as Hal Runkel says in Screamfree Parenting, “parenting is about parents, not kids.”


Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2012 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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