I have a large family. I have one daughter- one of the middle children- who is always whining and clingy. She uses this piercing voice when she does not get what she wants. When the house gets busy, dinner time or in the morning, that is when she starts. All I do is yell at her- it is destroying our relationship. What can I do?
It sounds to me like you have a sensitive child. Sensitive kids don’t like noise and hustle and bustle. They can actually sense their parent’s anxiety and stress, and they become overwhelmed with all they are feeling and they act out.
Find ways to reduce stress from you dinner time and the morning rush hour. Don’t be scared to ask for help from your spouse,mother, or the teenager next door. Try to have dinner ready and the table set before your kids come home. Make lunches the night before and have children lie out their clothing before they go to sleep etc.
A book with a lot of great ideas is “Time Management from the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern.
If you need to yell (we all do it sometimes) talk about your feelings using “I” statements:
“I get really upset when I am in a rush and directions are not being followed”
“Right now I just need help, later you can use that voice that you are using, but not now, now the napkins need to get to the table”
Problem solve with her when you have a quiet moment:
“You seem to get upset or sad during dinner time or in the morning, right when I am so busy. I don’t have a lot of patience during these times and I end up yelling and I don’t like that. It hurts me and you. Is there something we can do to help you through these times?”
Faber, A., Mazlish, E. (1999). How To Talk So Kids Will Listen. NY: Harper Collins.
Morgenstern, J. (2004). Time Management From The Inside Out. NY: Henry Holt and Company.
Sheedy Kurcinka, M. (2006). Raising Your Spirited Child. NY. Harper Collins.