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There is only one sure thing that happens when you shout at a child. You scare them. 

I was starkly reminded of this this week.

It was Monday morning and, as usual, I gave the kids their 5 minute nudge to get ready to leave for school: socks on, shoes on, lunches in bag, water bottles in bag and coats on. Five minutes later I looked to see my youngest still on the sofa, lost in the world of YouTube. Grrrrrrrrr! So I shouted at him to move and get ready for school. He leapt up, did what was asked and off we went to school. I didn’t think any more of it.

The next morning the same routine. I gave the kids their 5 minute nudge and this time my youngest immediately jumped up and got to it.  Excellent you may think, but the speed at which he reacted made me think. I think he was worried I was going to shout at him again.

This broke my heart. I don’t know any parent or carer that hasn’t shouted at their child. We all know we shouldn’t but during times of frustration it’s sometimes difficult not to. Children can become so absorbed in what they are doing or at times, they will ignore requests as a way of testing boundaries or trying to get what they want. This can test the calmest of us and it can be difficult to resist that urge to raise our voices. Yet by raising our voices we can make children feel intimidated or threatened.  If a child feels this way they may instinctively adopt a fight or flight response which, if not considered in context, may come across as argumentative if they shout back or belligerent if they turn away. This, in fact is a primitive response based on our need for survival.

This understanding of our instinctual primitive responses will help us see how shouting can trigger behaviours in children. the impact that shouting can have on a child will lead to a greater awarenessI taught worked in a school where policy stated that teachers must not shout

This moment of clarity

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