Is Yelling at your Kids the Key to Adjusting their Behaviour?

Some techniques that will help to improve your child’s behaviour

Some techniques that will help to improve your child’s behaviour

I have heard enough shouting here and there. I absolutely gained nothing from it. Shouting to me, is like nagging. This tend to confuse and frustrate kids. I only lost so much energy reserved for better things. Shouting made me develop aches and I always feel sorry for myself at the end. I’m sure most mothers can relate with this.

I discovered that the habit of shouting didn’t change anything. It didn’t give me the behaviour I desired to see in my kids. It didn’t define who my kids were. It only defined who I was. Imagine shouting just to make sure the kids obey and do the right things. Little did we know that after the deed comes the negative effects such as psychological stress and tension. But what have we achieved so far from it?

My point is when you keep shouting at your child to do something, you will only get a temporal result at that particular time. Next time, he or she will repeat what you don’t like and even do more that may lead you to overreact. Shouting at your kids does not change their behaviour. It only makes matter worse. I know it is not easy to refrain from shouting as a parent, but there are better ways to raise your kids instead of shouting.

First of all, try to be empathetic towards them. Understand what they feel and the cause of whatsoever misconduct ensuing from them. There’s always a reason for every action. Work on your approach. By this, I mean starting up by being gentle and patient, without having to lose your mind at the slightest offense. This approach doesn’t build up overnight. It takes consistent practice to learn and master it. You can do it! When this is done appropriately, you will find out that you won’t need to shout to have your kids behave themselves.

In contrast, if you have to keep shouting at your kids to get things done, you may find it difficult to raise them the way you want to. The kids begin to lose confidence in you. Sadly, they begin to lose their relationship with you. In fact, they begin to imitate you.

Furthermore, It’s one thing to have a child and another thing to nurture with the use of the right approach which has a very prominent component which is the Antecedents.


Antecedents refer to what you can do before the behaviour takes place in order to make the behaviour more or less likely to occur. They are various things you can say and do which increase the likelihood a behaviour will occur.

Unfortunately this approach is rarely used in a systematic way, but it changes behaviour depending on the delivery. Let’s look at an example of Antecedents approach. Have you ever said to your kids in a gentler manner the following statement? if you really want to learn how to cook, turn off the TV to avoid distraction and to improve concentration.

The “If you really want….” part along with your expression, body languages and tones are Antecedents that you hope will increase the likelihood. Of course your kids will be so delighted to comply with you. Why? Because you have set a positive event to influence a positive reaction in your kids.

How about when you ask same request as stated above in exasperation with your eyes rolling and face frowning, making it sound like a threat and pressure to your kids? You may get a turn off response from your kids. Perhaps they may do your biddings at that moment but grudgingly. They will see the chore as boring. Note that you have influenced a negative reaction in them (kids) with how you presented your request even if it was for their own good. But I suggest you asked in a gentle manner to get a positive behaviour.

However, the approach on setting a positive event is more likely to get compliance from your kids base on how it is delivered. That is the tone of your voice which matches your facial expression and body language. Sometimes it is difficult to follow this approach but with patience and consistence practice as a parent, it becomes natural to you that you forget the last time you raise your voice on your kids.

Remember kids have emotions just like adults do. They like to be treated with respect too.
However, what you say to them and how you say it can greatly increase or decrease the chances of the behaviour you would like to see in them. Sometimes when you ask a child to do something and he fails to do it, it’s normal and will require patience and maybe more times from your end. There may be a reason why your child does not seem to comply with your request.

On the other hand, you may need to use these techniques under the types of Antecedents which are: Prompts, positive setting events and negative setting events.

1. Prompts are direct ways to guide behaviour. It is classified into three parts namely: verbal, physical and visual Prompts.

2. Positive setting events: These are indirect antecedents that greatly increase the likelihood of a behaviour. They are called setting events because they set the stage for the behaviour you want. Setting events usually have to do with how you present or say something. These are often better like a gentle tone and friendly body language alone are enough to make your child to follow your instructions.

3. Negative setting events: These are indirect antecedents that decrease the likelihood of a behaviour or increase some behaviour you don’t want. These are often subtle, like your tone of voice and how you phrase something. A harsh tone alone is enough to make your child not to follow your instructions.

On top of that, limiting your child’s choice with phrases like ‘do it now because I said so or because I’m your mom. It sounds like you are adding threats and pressure. Aggressive orders do not make the behaviour more likely in the short or long term.

What you say or how you say it can either be a positive setting event or negative setting event. The tone in your voice, phrases you use, body languages can greatly increase or decrease the chances of the behaviour you would like to see in your child.

Moreover, when using Prompts, make it clear and specific. For instance, instead of asking your child to ‘go and arrange the toys’ which is too general and less effective. You say it this way ‘ pick up your toys, and put them in the basket’. In this case, you’re communicating through verbal (saying it out) coupled with physical (your body languages) and then visual (showing him the toys and where to keep them). This may lead to compliance depending on your voice tone and your expression like I said earlier.

One more thing you need to know is that giving your child a chance to make choices increase their likelihood of compliance to get a desired behaviour. Sometimes, the behaviour may occur now or later. Maybe it can be done one way or the other. Whichever way, try to be patient.

As a parent, your patience and time will be tested and tried by your child. Not like he is a cool headed person. He needs to be given some times or probably has some reasons which he may share with you. A time will come, when he won’t wait to be asked to do something you have been saying before.

To back it up with my little experience, I have a two year old daughter who is gradually mastering some of the things I taught her. When she is pressed, she did tap me and say ‘poo’ before placing her on her potty. At times, when I’m busy and she wants to poo, she goes straight to her potty, struggling to pull down her clothe until I help out with the rest.

So all of these above techniques are designed for a short term use but they lead to a long term change.

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Written by Mercy Christian

Wife, Caring Mom, Foodie, Child Care Expert & Volunteer. Devoted mom of two wonderful and lovely kids, Dominion and Olive. Lover of God and Humanity!
Lifestyle blogging became a big part of my life since I had my second child.

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