There is no point in arguing that parenting is hard. It has its moments of bliss but stressful moments too have their fair share. A parent’s job is not just to put food on the table, but also to maintain a harmonious environment in the house which is essential for the healthy development of children. However, it is also a fact that growing children are difficult to handle and often parents are pushed to the limits to contain the situation. But, being humans, sometimes parents lose their cool. The results are disastrous for the kids’ mental health and their relations with parents.
Being a single mother of two growing kids, I come across such challenging dilemmas more often than I can handle. And all I could do was yell. Anxious, stressed-out, vary of shouldering everything alone, there was little more I could do. Having always strived to be a perfect mother for my kids, I realized that this is not the way. I was convinced that there must be an alternative to this. And I was on the lookout. Luckily, I stumbled upon this No-Yelling System and my relationship with my kids has never been better.
Why did I join this Challenge?
Like I said, I was on the lookout for a change for a long time and I found numerous catchy options but nothing could get my attention. They were all beating around the bush but not getting to the point. Their approaches were quite ordinary with no logical backing. Moreover, their ways of administering were not better than the countless long lectures I have already given to my kids, to their annoyance.
However, the 28-Day No-Yelling Challenge was something new to me. It struck at the pulse point, which was yelling. Having dealt with post-yelling guilts, I realized that this was the primary issue. So, I was hooked. Additionally, it was not another long lecture. Not only for kids, such long lectures were tedious for me too. A step-by-step approach with a system for tracking progress was all I needed.
I wanted to know what I was doing wrong, and the system gave me away. Testimonials from countless other parents, in similar situation, was an additional benefit to make up my mind.
To implement it, no additional arrangement was needed. I received the daily instruction emails in the morning, while I was still in my bed, and I came out of my room with a resolution to implement them throughout the day. It was sort of a game, a challenge, which kept me intrigued.
The results were simply astonishing. By the 7th day, I had started sensing a positive vibe around the house. By the end of the program, I was nearer to the ideal mother I wanted to be than I ever was.
My Overall Experience
I am providing a glimpse into my transformative experience. Like all good things, it came with following the instructions to the letter.
Day 1: Speak Quietly
The first instruction was to stop yelling altogether. As the kids were accustomed to me yelling in the morning for breakfast, school bags, teeth brushing, and all the other things in the world, it was quite a shock for them.
The instructions told me to speak everything as quietly as possible, they called it Quiet Speech. Initially, the kids were curious. Later, they started responding. Gradually their yelling subsided, even among themselves.
Day 2: Shoulder Tap
Speaking quietly is not always practical when you factor in the distance and the kids being busy with some other activity. So, the 2nd day instruction was to walk up to them and gently tap on their shoulder. This personalized approach with physical proximity worked wonders and strengthened the resolve to no yelling.
I always blushed when my youngest always hugged me when he found me so close. I have found the bonds thus created to be my true strength.
Day 3: Complete ban on Yelling
The 3rd challenge stipulated a blank ban on yelling. It categorized yelling into bad, good, and unconscious. Good yelling was exceptional to me, we had subsided the bad yelling, but unconscious yelling was present.
It always happened in the morning when I yelled from the kitchen for breakfast and often a yelling contest would ensue in the hurried and tense mood of the morning. This yelling always created a bad impression for the whole day on the moods of everyone.
On the 3rd day, as per the instructions, I started to go to the kid’s room to call for breakfast instead of yelling from the kitchen. This small exercise did wonders as we all left the home in good spirits.
Day 4: The 3-Step Education to Make them Follow your Command
This lesson involved 3 steps. The first one was to give clear instructions. The second is to explain the consequences in case of failure to meet those instructions (no threats). And the third was to take action on the consequences.
In my case, I was worried because of the kid’s habit of putting their dirty clothes everywhere and not in the laundry. I used to march all over the house to find their clothes. I applied the 3-step approach to this issue.
1st: I gave them clear instructions that they have to put their dirty clothes in the pink bin beside the washing machine.
2nd: I warned them in case they failed to do so, I wouldn’t wash their clothes and they would have to wear dirty ones to school.
3rd: When they didn’t do so, I didn’t repeat myself. The next day, they had to go to school in dirty, wrinkled clothes.
The result was that I never had to repeat myself.
Day 5: Involve your Kids in Decision-Making
I used to waste a lot of time deciding about dinner. The kids never agreed on anything, refused to eat and tensions were frequent. By applying this approach, I started involving them in the cooking decisions. I would ask them whether they want home-cooked or pizza. In case of additional costs for their choice, they will have to pay from their pocket money.
Both choices were good for me and the kids learned valuable lessons along the way
Day 6: Yes, But How?
The 6th lesson taught me to never say NO all the time. The kids get rebellious and bored in this way. I had witnessed this multiple times. My daughter will come up to me and demand all sorts of crazy ideas.
One time she asked for a limousine to go to her friend’s birthday party. So, instead of saying no, I said yes, but how should we pay for the car since we had to renovate the kitchen? By getting her to think and not imposing my decision on her, the result was what I wanted in the first place.
Day 7: Sweeten the Deal
Sundays were cleaning days. And I struggled to get the help of my kids. I always yelled and yelled but to no avail. After getting this lesson, I tried to sweeten the deal.
So, on the coming Sunday, I asked them to help me clean the house and in the evening we can bake their favorite cookies together. The cookies were not too good, but the day was well spent and a valuable lesson was learned.
Day 8: 48-Hour Rule
Kids make all kinds of preposterous demands. We can not fulfill all of them but we can try for some. The lesson was about to implement a 48-hour delay and if the kid want something by the end of it, get it for them. It explained that for more pricy things, you can combine “yes, but why” and other rules taught before.
This helped me a lot during shopping where my kids tried to buy everything they liked. However, I found their interest in most of the things was fleeting. I got them to behave without any meltdown by this simple rule.
Day 9: Smart Negotiations
The 9th-day challenge was to negotiate smartly with your kids. Some things like doing your homework were non-negotiable. But for things like getting a new game, make them earn it. Set a task for them with their consent, and get them what they want only when they offer something in return. This will teach them the value of things.
However, there must be a distinction between negotiable and non-negotiable things.
Day 10: Make an Emergency List
The lesson asked me to make an emergency list and categorize the items under Emergency, Non-negotiable, Negotiable, and Typical Child Behavior.
The emergency section involves life-and-death situations and even yelling is allowed to save them. For non-negotiable things, use the 3-step education process. For negotiables, the “yes, but why” rule is a go. For the last section, be as lenient as possible.
The list will be different for every house but it helped me a lot in setting some ground rules for my kids.
Day 11: Empathize with Your Kids
Kids can’t handle emotions like adults can. In such meltdown situations, it is not advisable to reason with them. Instead, the lesson asked to first listen to them, empathize with them, and then turn the situation around once they feel they have shared.
I used this technique to get my daughter out of body shaming by some of her classmates. Later, we also found the opportunity to practice this with a neighbor kid and my kids found a wonderful friend.
Day 12: Partner Signals
The lesson included a wonderful approach to partner signals and how they can work together to not let adult tension create havoc in their kid’s life. Being a single mother, I had no such opportunity. However, during long weekends at my mother’s house, I practiced this rule and got some good results.
Day 13: The Do-Over
This instruction struck my weak end. During the first week, I yelled despite my best intentions. The rule taught me to diffuse the situation amicably and not let blow it over to a full yelling contest after the initial yell. The next time I yelled, I apologized for yelling and went on like before. Later, I saw some healthy influence of my apology on my kids.
Day 14: Set a Magic Word
Arguments between parents and growing kids are frequent. My daughter, who is in her teens, used to argue fiercely with me and I responded similarly because I didn’t know any better.
After learning this rule, we set up a magic word. During our next argument, when things started getting out of hand, I used the magic word and stopped the conversation. After a day or two, I started the conversation again and came to an amicable end. This was possible because the heating emotions had simmered down and we both had a chance to revisit our positions objectively.
Day 15: Reconnection Protocol
Interestingly, the challenge takes the human factor into account that parents may resort to former tools in the heat of emotions. After all, it is not possible to change oneself completely in just a few days. The reconnection protocol works after a tense episode between you are your kids.
It says that instead of becoming cold and angry, use this mistake to make your family come together. Things like keeping communications open, expressing your emotions, and encouraging them to open up about their feelings about the episode will help build a strong bond between parents and children.
I experienced that with my youngest. After applying the instructions, he opened up to me and we were able to diffuse tensions without much harm.
Day 16: Tagging System
The 16th-day instruction speaks of creating a tagging system with your children. Create tags like urgent, help, and important. These are for occasions when you don’t have time to explain or argue with them.
I once used the “important” tag with my kids to stay at home while I had to run back to the office. Thankfully, they cooperated fully once they understood the whole situation.
Day 17: Expiration Date
People panic when they lose control. In such uncontrollable situations, giving an expiration date to them works wonders in diffusing the sense of uncertainty.
One time, my kids were being more chaotic than usual along with their friends during a sleepover. I gave myself this expiration date that this will only last for an hour tops. With that, I was able to maintain the no-yelling system.
Day 18: Buffer Time
Before learning this instruction, we were always late for school. Thankfully, I learned this rule and marked a buffer time of 20 minutes as we were daily 20 minutes late. Then, I adjusted the whole schedule accordingly.
In a few days, we were all on time and I did not listen to the teacher’s complaints any longer.
Day 19: Redirection
The 19th-day rule is about redirecting your kid’s attention toward something else in difficult situations. My youngest can be very stubborn. So, this tool came in handy, especially during shopping.
Day 20: Use your kids Alter Ego
Kids develop their alter egos based on their favorite characters, cartoons, or anyone else. They try to associate themselves with them. In difficult situations, ask them what would your favorite celeb do in such a time. I used this with my boy and asked whether Spiderman wouldn’t help his mom. Within a second, he was up there helping me clean.
Day 21: Quiet Sofa
This technique is about creating a quiet corner in your house where nobody is allowed to be disturbed for a specified time. By doing this, you can recuperate your energies as a parent. The same goes for the kids, when they are in the quiet space leave them alone.
Day 22: Emotion Verbalization
This rule can come in very handy for any parent as it did for me. Instead of yelling or throwing things to express your anger, verbalize it. Convey it to your kids in a calm way that you are angry at the moment because of this. You can also use the quiet space at the time. Over time, the kids will start respecting your feelings and the yelling will subside.
Day 23: Freewriting
There were times when I couldn’t get something out of my system, no matter how hard I tried. Once or twice, my kids were the reason, and other times they had to bear the brunt. Both cases were harmful. Then, I learned and started freewriting. I would go to the quiet space and start writing whatever would come to my mind. It took me no more than 30 minutes to calm myself down.
Day 24: Emergency Message
This 24th-day technique is quite similar to the earlier one. Here you write a message to your future self, advising her to be calm and use the principles you have learned before. Believe me, it works.
Day 25: Box Breathing
Day 25 came with a very handy tool, not just for dealing with kids but for handling any situation in your life. Whenever you find yourself in a tight spot, do this.
- Inhale slowly for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for 4 seconds
- Exhale slowly for 4 seconds
- And hold empty lungs for 4 seconds
- Rinse and repeat
After doing this, hopefully, you will be able to better control yourself.
Day 26: Zen Breath
In Zen Breath, you stop breathing from your mouth and start using your nose. Moreover, you use your throat instead of your nostrils. It doesn’t take much time nor does it require a lot of practice but it helps calm you down.
Day 27: Muscle Relaxation
This lesson taught me that when you are under mental stress, your muscles start tensing followed by negative thoughts. The result is more physical and mental discomfort. To diffuse it, you can use the Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique. In simple words, you inspect your whole body and tense and relax all the muscles one by one. Or you can just focus on the part you feel most uncomfortable about. I have used this technique once and found it to be helpful but I prefer the Zen Breath more.
Day 28: Patience Cues
Patience is a skill that can be developed. The instruction included some patience cues that work best. Among them calming your mind, focusing on your breath, releasing the tension, reminding yourself that parenting is not torture or a chore, reminding yourself of your strengths, and taking one thing at a time has helped me the most.
This whole experience was a life-changing transformation for me. Each challenge was like a building block that was helping me construct the mother I wanted to be. I have had setbacks during its course but with persistence and love, my relationship with my kids and the environment of my home is just like the one I dreamed of.