As a parent, it’s normal to get frustrated. You have a busy schedule, an abundance of responsibilities, and a plate that often seems too full to manage. When your child comes to you with a problem, mistake, or even an attitude, it’s easy to let all of your frustrations leak out in your response. Maybe it’s how your parents talked to you, or you are having a hard time controlling your own emotions. When you’re talking to your child, your words matter. Yelling or scolding isn’t bad parenting per se, but it will affect how your child learns, grows, and talks to others in the future.
I want to explain why the way that you talk to your child matters more than you think. Keep reading to learn more parenting advice about talking to your children.
Emotional Development and Health
Parents often disregard how much of an impact they have on their children’s mental health. While we don’t often recognize mental health struggles until children are in their teens or early adulthood, the issues are rooted in childhood.
You are your child’s primary social connection. That means that they rely on you to treat them with compassion. Remember that children are experiencing many things for the first time. Their emotions feel bigger than ours because they don’t yet know how to handle them.
When you downplay or scold these emotions, you teach your child to keep them to themself. You show them that emotional repression is the right answer.
Too much scolding can also result in poor self-esteem, fear, and a child becoming withdrawn.
Parenting without yelling may feel more difficult, but it also results in a happier and more emotionally balanced child.
Is the Emotional Disturbance Long-Term?
If you start early enough, you can repair the bond with your child and erase the damage. That said, if you frequently use loud or aggressive language with your child, it may result in bigger problems as they get older.
Children respond to yelling in a similar way that they’d respond to physical punishment (like swats or slaps). It activates their fight-or-flight response (or a spike in cortisol).
This stress can stay with your child. They won’t remember why you yelled at them, but they will remember that feeling. Even yelling at your child can result in future mood or personality disorders, even if those are uncommon.
Remember that what might not seem traumatic to you can still be traumatic to a child.
The Parent-Child Bond
Your parent-child bond is everything, and if you talk to your child with respect and kindness, you shouldn’t have a problem. Children who have healthy bonds with their guardians and other family members are more likely to have better self-esteem and more productive attachment styles.
You want your child to know that you support them, and you want them to feel safe coming to you with problems or big emotions that they don’t know how to handle.
When you don’t talk to your child in a way that makes them feel comfortable and loved, you’re teaching them not to come to you. This can cause children to develop lying habits in the future.
You want your child to feel close to you. Don’t spoil your relationship when it’s still in its early stages.
Future Social Interactions
As a parent, you are your child’s first role model. This is a scary position to be in! You are responsible for how your child learns to interact with the world and the people around them.
So what happens if their model includes yelling, scolding, and language that makes them feel sad or uncomfortable?
You don’t want to normalize it. Consider how you envision your child interacting with the world in the future. How would you like to see them treat their friends? What about a partner?
Children who aren’t given a good model for how to interact will either still copy what they see, or they’ll become antisocial. Instead, provide a model of happy and healthy interactions and relationships and they will follow suit.
How Can I Learn to Do Better?
Don’t ever feel guilty about needing to do better. If you’re a new parent, it takes a long time to develop parenting strategies that work for you and your family, and nobody is perfect.
There are several things that you can do to improve the situation.
The first is to learn to take a step back before you respond to your child. Try to remove yourself from your frustrations and see things from their point of view. When you put yourself in your child’s shoes, you’ll notice that what they’re going through is valid, even if it seems silly to you.
Children aren’t yet good at applying logic. They respond with emotion, but that doesn’t mean you should.
You can also seek out parenting help. Parent mentoring comes in many forms. It could come from creating a strong network of parents who can all share advice with one another, it could come from parenting classes, or it can even come from parenting books.
You can come up with some great positive parenting solutions if you open yourself up to help from others.
Your Words Matter
Children are like sponges. They absorb everything around them. They learn from the way that you speak to them, and it influences how they feel about themselves, how they treat others, and how they navigate the world.
When you talk to your child, your tone and words matter. Make them matter in a good way.
Parenting is hard work. Emotions run high and it’s difficult to manage all of the different responsibilities and interactions that come along with raising a new person. That’s why I want to help you.
You can dig into one of the best parenting books of the year and learn everything there is to know about managing and preventing misbehavior and modeling good behavior. Pick up a copy today.