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Health & Parenting

Could You Go a Week Without Yelling at Your Kids

For every mom out there saying, "Sure, no problem," there are thousands more shouting, "Impossible!" Here's how a confirmed yeller got through seven whole days using her inside voice.
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Day 1: The challenge begins

I send Seamus and Connor, my 6- and 7-year-old sons, to brush their teeth after breakfast, knowing that they can't peacefully coexist for more than 30 seconds. I hear them hollering through the floor. Then a thump that sounds like somebody's head. Then howls of rage.

Any other day, I'd take the stairs three at a time, shouting that they'd better cut it out if they ever want to see Scooby-Doo again in this lifetime. But today I just stand there, taking cleansing breaths, and after a few thump-filled minutes...silence. To my astonishment, their fight ends without my intervention, and no one loses an ear either.

I'm not yelling! I think, terribly proud of myself.

Problem: My kids are. Lowering my own voice has made it glaringly clear that my children live their entire lives at the top of their lungs. I stay out of their scuffles for the rest of the day, just listening to the din around me. Where did my children learn to go full-throttle like this? Sadly, the answer is obvious.

By saying almost nothing at all, I avoid yelling for the entire day — but this tactic won't work for a whole week. Is there a way to execute firm discipline in a kinder, gentler way?

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