Episode #23:

Stop Screaming!


What sound sets you off? Nails on a chalk board? Your co-worker loudly noshing on pretzels? For me it’s listening to leaf blowers.

If you’re like most parents, hearing your kid scream (at their sibling, at you, at their friend) triggers you more than any landscaping equipment or loud breather.

And so often we respond by screaming back “Stop yelling!” and then we’re caught in a fun little dance with our kid I like to call “who can get louder.”

Good times.

But there is a way we can use play and imagination to change the volume level in our homes. I call it “animal talk.”

When you and your kid are feeling calm, cooperative and connected together, you can ask “How might a lion ask for more pasta?” Your kid might respond with a big scream “More macaroni now!” Then you would ask, “How do you think a mouse would ask?” Your kid might whisper, barely audible, “Macaroni?”

Now here’s the fun part. Ask your kid to imagine an animal that would ask politely yet firmly – “Could I please have some more macaroni?” Maybe they say it like a racoon, a fox or walrus. The idea is you’re using the power of their imagination AND role playing to help them understand how to use a tone of voice that is strong but calm.

Then the next time they scream at their brother “get out of my room!” instead of yelling at them to stop yelling, you can ask them to use their elephant voice or toucan talk to say what they want.

This tone of voice game is simple yet powerful. It lets everyone get playful in stressful moments and gives you a tool for turning down the volume instead of endlessly repeating “stop screaming!”

On today’s “Good Enough Parenting” podcast, I share how to put this strategy in action to find a little more peace and quiet at home.

But be warned – your kid might ask you to stop using your megalodon mommy voice when they’re running late for school. And sometimes you’ll be able to, and sometimes you won’t. Just like them. And that’s good enough.