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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This isn't another "help me stop yelling" thread, although maybe it is, in a way....

I'm a recovering yeller. My parents and DH's parents yelled at us as discipline when we were kids, and now we do it too, but we're trying to be more gentle. I have been working really hard on my anger and frustration and I think I'm making progress. I let the little things slide. I speak quietly when I'm getting ready to lose it, instead of yelling instantly. I use logical consequences when necessary.

It seemed like things were getting better, but DS (3.5) is getting WORSE! I have not had a single interaction with him in the past three days that didn't end in me yelling. Even just talking to him, I say something, he ignores me. I ask if he heard me (I know he did, he's RIGHT THERE), nothing. I ask again, louder, and he doesn't answer til I yell at him. This is just in conversation, but of course it's even worse when trying to correct undesirable behaviors like throwing toys or biting Daddy, or jumping on furniture.I am trying to use more positive statements, like "be gentle" instead of "stop that" but sometimes it just doesn't work. Either way, I say it nicely with no response. I yell, I get a response (sometimes, and sometimes I lose it and send him to his room so I can get some time without him being annoying/without having to yell at him.

We have had lots of conversations after the yelling about how I'd prefer it if he could respond when I use my nice voice so I don't need to use my mean voice. I don't like using my mean voice, and it makes us both unhappy, etc. He tells me, "It's okay." But it doesn't change anything. And I can see that it's affecting him and it's getting us in a vicious cycle where he then craves even more attention, b/c I'm doing my best to avoid him so I don't have to yell, or b/c I'm just done.

I don't know what to do. It seems the longer I wait to yell, the worse it gets. Sadly, it seems like the yelling is getting results, but at what cost? There is no way I want to continue this way, for either of our sakes. Time away from each other isn't helping at all. I had the whole morning to myself today and yesterday, and it didn't make a bit of difference in my patience level once DS came home b/c he is so relentless.
 

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I feel for you and remember that age well - (far and away the most difficult for me) I don't think of myself as much of a yeller but dd, ESPECIALLY AT 3.5, caused me to yell and lose my patience ALOT...

Couple of things I would suggest - Could he have been 'trained' that he doesn't have to listen to you UNTIL you yell? For example, I would say something several times and not until I was yelling (and fuming mad) did I GO and physically ensure what ever I had asked was done - (stop harassing the cat for example) Perhaps your son knows he can ignore you until he hears you yell? To stop that try to ask him ONE time and then immediately follow through with whatever action is needed

Also - be sure you have his attention - hearing and listening are not the same thing - If needed, get down on his level and have him look you in the eye and say what you need to say.

Take a look at the thread on power struggles - some of that is actually quite applicable here as well -

Lastly - what is he getting from the interactions? Does he crave the intensity of the experience - can you find ways to have more positive but intense interactions - I haven't read it yet but I just ordered The Art of Roughhousing in hopes to get some great ideas of very physical and intense interactions beyond wrestling (I hate that but dd LOVES it)

Those types of interactions will do much to increase your sons connection to you and at the same time the physical work will provide the needed outlet that ALL kids need and enables them to 'behave' better...

If you haven't read Playful Parenting yet I would recommend that as well...
 

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If he's jumping on the furniture and you want him to stop, do you go over and physically take him off the couch with a 'the couch is for sitting, not jumping. You may jump on the ground/trampoline etc'?

I have recently coined a phrase with my family and friends. GOYA parenting: Get Off Your Ass Parenting. This has helped me yell less. I would ask ds to stop, demand he stop, yell at him to stop, get frustrated and angry at him etc. Now I try to think to myself 'this is a GOYA moment' and then I get up walk over to him and help him stop doing the offending behavior.

I will also tell dp and friends that something is a GOYA moment.

When I remind myself and my partner (and the folks we are around) to be active and not parent/discipline from the sidelines we are more successful and yell less.

But with that 3.5 is hard. I found 3 to be a pretty awful year (we are on the cusp of 4 and things are looking up). I'd take 'terrible twos' any day, over 'horrid three's!'
 

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My method when my kids were small was logical consequences. So I would decide what was the logical consequence for an action. Then when the action occurred, I told the child to stop it (nicely but firmly). If the action continued, I told them a second time and warned them what would happen if the action continued. If the action continued, I didn't say anything but just made the consequence happen.

I came up with this method after learning that I can only say the same thing so many times and still say it nicely. Twice really is my limit.

I think being removed from the main living space for a 3 minutes would be logical consequence for many of things you listed. (I picked 3 because that's his age, I went 1 minute per year). I also had a little timer I used outside their door. I'm fine with short time outs -- I don't think spending 3 minutes in their bedroom alone is harming to children in any way.

Some things have other logical consequences, picking up toys and putting them where he can't get to them, for example. But right now it sounds like he just likes being mean to Daddy, so if picking up the toys results in him biting daddy, I don't think it would get the message across.

As far as regular conversation, is he busying doing something else? Are you talking about things he is interested in? Are you sure his hearing is fine? (One of my kids had chronic fluid in her ears and truly couldn't understand what we were saying about half the time)
 

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I used to work in a public school and I often worked with difficult children (not saying your DS is difficult!). I had a hard time at first because when I would instruct some of the children to change their behavior they would ignore me. I would escalate and have to be in control. The teacher was (obviously) more experienced than me, she pulled me aside one day and explained, "They hear you, even in they're ignoring you. So what you say is, 'Here is the instruction, I know you can hear me, so I will hold you accountable for this.'" It worked every time! And I was working with younger kids a lot of the time, so this isn't just for the older set.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post

I have recently coined a phrase with my family and friends. GOYA parenting: Get Off Your Ass Parenting. This has helped me yell less.
Love this and totally agree! Especially with a 3 1/2 year old. If he's throwing toys, you say once, "Please don't throw toys." He does it again, you walk over to him, get down at his level, look him right in the eyes, take his hands and say, "We don't throw toys. Do you understand?" And don't move until he acknowledges you and says "yes." Then, you would suggest something else for him to do. "How about you build a tower instead?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This is exactly what the scene was at our house when I wrote the OP. The anger comes when I am there, saying the same thing for the 100th time in 15 minutes. And there is no getting response/acknowledgement after I say, "Do you understand?" unless I'm yelling it angrily. Suggestions to do something else are met with, "No, thanks" if there is a response at all. This is why I'm frustrated. I'm NOT just lounging on the couch, waving my hand and expecting all to perform to my will. I'm playing with him, doing other things while he plays alone, dropping what I'm doing to interact with him when necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaimom View Post

Love this and totally agree! Especially with a 3 1/2 year old. If he's throwing toys, you say once, "Please don't throw toys." He does it again, you walk over to him, get down at his level, look him right in the eyes, take his hands and say, "We don't throw toys. Do you understand?" And don't move until he acknowledges you and says "yes." Then, you would suggest something else for him to do. "How about you build a tower instead?"
As for the toy throwing, everything thrown went into a trash bag. He got upset. I explained that the toys would stay in the trash bag until he could show me (with the toys that hadn't made it in there yet) that he could play without throwing. A few more made it in there, and then things settled down. He finally asked me about the trash bag toys. I told him that if he could put them away and not throw he could have them back. He dumped them out, refused to put them away, and started throwing things again. They are now back in the trash bag, in my room.

I do believe that some of what was going on in the OP was a cry for attention, for whatever reason. I guess he felt he needed more interaction than he was getting. But even tonight, now that the worst has blown over for the moment, we had to end bath early b/c he couldn't manage to splash around and play without pouring water on the bathroom floor. He knows the rules, and then is devastated when the consequences of his actions are applied. How long does it take for them to learn you mean what you say???
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

How long does it take for them to learn you mean what you say???
I guess for some kids, it takes a while! I would just keep doing what you're doing (without the yelling) and he'll get it. In the meantime, I would try to reframe your thinking in that, he has choices to make and he's making them when he continues to throw toys or pour water on the bathroom floor. The decision he's made is that the consequence is OK. When I realized that when my kids were toddlers, it helped me stay calm, rather than yell about it. In the toy incident I would say, "Well, that's a bummer because now I have to put the toys away. We'll see if you can play without throwing tomorrow." Or about the bath: "Oh, shoot. You're still pouring water on the floor. I wish you'd have listened so you could have had a longer bath." I would mostly ignore the crying and protests afterwards except to sympathize with them somewhat about their poor decision.
 
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