Alternatives to “stop it” Gentle Parenting Phrases
These Alternatives to “stop it” will help you connect with your child. They will also help build their emotional, social, and problem-solving skills. Keep reading to find many examples that you can put straight into action today!
How to stop yelling
Slow down and simplify your life
Sometimes it can feel like you don’t have time to be patient or to reason with your child when they are not cooperating. The thing is, children are more connected to themselves, and to nature. It is adults that have become disconnected and their lives have become very busy. This leads to more stress and less time to be calm and understanding as a parent. When we don’t acknowledge this, we are repeating this pattern and our children will learn to be the same. We need to break these patterns so that the next generation can be less stressed and more connected to their internal state and emotional well-being. There is no greater reason to slow down and simplify your life than to be more connected to yourself and your children.
Listen to your children
Children are experts in their own lives, they just need to be heard. When we listen to their feelings, thoughts, and views we are able to understand them, and this leads to less yelling. When children feel listened to, they also grow to understand others. When we listen to children we are helping them to learn how to regulate themselves which is an important life skill. Also by hearing them, we are giving them a safe space for them to feel like they can open up, which is important for child protection and safeguarding.
Understand it from their view
Try to think to yourself, what would I have needed at their age? When something happens and it doesn’t seem like a big deal to us, we need to remember that it might feel like it to them. These little problems are helping them to figure out how to deal with problems. They’ll be more competent later in life if they grow up with understanding and support. This happened once with my son. He was crying because he fell over at the park. Someone said to him “You don’t need to cry about that” and his response was “But you’d probably have cried when you were my age”. This has now become a regular phrase we use in our home. I’ll say to my son “yeah i’d have felt the same at your age” and he also says to me “I’d probably feel the same if I was a parent” its very sweet!
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Look after yourself
And of course, an absolute priority is to look after yourself. This means yelling, and feeling parent guilt far less often because you’ll feel better and react more consciously. Research shows the importance of self-care as part of sustainable behaviors within a positive family environment. I recommend trying these self-care-at-home ideas.
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Alternatives to “stop it”
If we lead with yelling or, accusations, then our children are going to shut down, go in defensive mode, or just not listen. No one wants to listen to someone who is shouting at them, especially a child who is learning from how their parents behave. However, connecting first as alternatives to “stop it!” are part of having a secure attachment where our children feel heard and valued. We want to understand the reason for the behavior so we can help solve it. Because when children feel good, they do well. It is always important to connect with our children especially when we need to correct their behavior. They need to know that the way they feel is always valid, this will keep them connected to themselves.
- It seems like something is bothering you
- Is there something you need help with?
- Are you trying to tell me something?
- I wonder what is going on for you to do that
- I can see you don’t feel like talking at the moment, I’m going to be here when you’re ready
- I know, it’s frustrating/disappointing when that happens
- I can see that you’re upset about that
- Looks like you’re feeling overwhelmed/nervous at the moment
- That sounds hard for you, I’d feel the same way too
- You don’t want to do this, I know I understand
Tell them what they can do as alternatives to “stop it”
Children want us to teach them. This means giving guidance and instructions. If we are just constantly saying “Don’t do that” or “Stop doing that”. That’s like someone telling us we aren’t doing our job right, and leaving it at that. We need the guidance, we need to know how we can improve and what the right thing to do is. Children want to make their parents proud more than anything. And we want them to feel proud of themselves.
- Could you sing instead of shouting?
- Could you use a quiet voice just like a mouse?
- Walk next to me like a sensible soldier
- Stroke the dog gently like this
- Come over to this part of the garden and dig here instead of in the flowers
- Could you say it like this instead “Please could you make me a drink?”
- It’s not ok to shout at me. You can tell me you’re feeling frustrated and I can help you
- It’s ok if you’re feeling nervous at the moment, would you like to have a cuddle or play with a fidget toy till you feel ready?
- You can’t hit your sister when you’re feeling angry, you can tell me you’re feeling angry and we can go kick a ball in the garden together
Prepare them in advance as alternatives to “stop it”
Preparing our children for expectations and rules in advance can help with alternatives to “stop it”. If your child tries to repeat the behavior. You can remind them of the rule instead. Following through with this consistency provides them with stability.
- When we go into the shop, you can choose one snack and no more than that
- We need to be quiet when we go into the library because people are reading
- I will let you know when you have 10 more minutes left to play, and then we will go home.
- You can play with this gently, if it gets a bit too silly then I will need to take it away
- You can have 20 pushes on the swing, and then your brother can have 20 pushes. Can you help me count?
Help them instead
Children naturally have lower impulse control than adults. The human brain isn’t fully developed till we are well into our 20s, and impulse control is going to be lower at major developmental leaps like puberty, and the toddler years when the brain is growing at a faster rate. So their behavior can appear really frustrating to us, but yelling at them and repeatedly telling them to “stop!” isn’t helpful because sometimes they just can’t. They need our help while they’re developing these parts of their brain. Knowing that their parents will step in when they are struggling to regulate their emotions and behavior will make them feel safe, and it will model healthy regulation skills. We need to remember not to shame them, and to know that most of the time the behavior is normal. Children are learning, they are not supposed to be perfect.
- I’m going to bring you into another room because I can see you’re struggling to listen at the moment
- I’m going to put you on the floor because it hurts when you hit
- I’m going to take that stick from you because it’s not safe to wave it around
- We’re going to take a break and have a rest or something to eat because I can see right now you’re feeling overwhelmed
- I’m going to lay this pillow on the floor for you so you don’t hit your head (for tantrums)
- I’m going to take you outside because you have a lot of shouting you want to do
Make it a game as alternatives to “stop it”
Children have beautiful wonderful imaginations. We can sometimes forget this and get so wrapped up in trying to get all the jobs done. Parenting doesn’t need to always be a task or a job. We can have fun with our children with these alternatives to “stop it” and this will improve our relationship with them too. Play improves the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and young people.
- Have a race to the door when you need to go out
- Play beek a boo with hands feet and head when getting dressed
- Use a sock as a talking puppet to wash face
- Play “wheres the…” and find things around the room when changing nappy/diaper
- Let them brush your teeth or a toy’s teeth while you brush theirs
- Allow them to wash their toy’s hair or a doll’s hair while you wash theirs
- Place a stone somewhere they want to return to, and say you can check when you come back (helps when you need to leave somewhere fun)
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Now head over to the forum to share your thoughts, get advice or connect with like-minded others! see you soon 🙂