The Orange Rhinoceros: How to Stop Yelling at Your Children
Parents’ lives are full of challenges, and one of them is communicating with their children.
There are times when the pressures of daily life make losing your patience easy, and we find ourselves yelling at our kids.
What’s so wrong with yelling at your children?
Obviously, you must admit that losing control and yelling at your children is not a practical method.
Most of the time, yelling has no positive effect on children. Even if a child obeys, he does so out of fear rather than respect.
This conduct may also mark them for life. It instills in children the habit of yelling at others, imitating their parents.
However, if you find yourself yelling at your child, there is something you can do to change this bad habit. This technique is known as the orange rhinoceros.
The origin of the orange rhinoceros
This challenge came from a mother from the United States named Sheila McCraith. She felt ashamed when, without realizing it, she discovered she was yelling at her flock of four all the time.
She was so taken aback that she set out to change her behavior. In the meantime, she discovered two important things:
- She was able to control her impulse to yell at her children when she was in front of strangers.
- What children think and feel is much more important than the opinions of other people.
This realization brought her to admit she had a habit of yelling a lot at her children, but she wanted to stop.
So, she had the idea of setting up a challenge for herself. She called this challenge the orange rhinoceros.
Sheila said she thought of a rhinoceros because it’s a strong animal that only defends itself when provoked.
As for the color, orange evokes determination. And strength and determination were precisely what she needed to overcome her undesired habit.
How does the orange rhinoceros challenge work?
The orange rhinoceros challenge consists of resisting the urge to yell at your kids for a certain amount of time.
Of course, the mother came up with additional tips that allowed her to stay focused on her goal.
These tricks include: Put your determination to stop yelling at your children in writing, keep track of your progress, and take note of every time you reach a goal of not yelling at your kids.
According to this particular woman’s experience, she was able to go four full years without yelling at her children. So, it’s safe to say this is an effective method.
How to apply the orange rhinoceros technique
The orange rhinoceros technique is a sort of behavioral therapy that consists of practical and somewhat strange suggestions.
Before flooding your children with a long list of criticisms and a war of words, try the following measures:
- Breathe deeply.
- Step away for an instant. Go to another room or go out on the porch.
- Shake your body.
- Listen to music.
- Close your eyes and imagine you’re in a calm and peaceful place (beach, field, spa, etc).
- Wash your face with cold water and count to ten.
- Place orange colored objects or fabric around the house to remind you of your objective.
Change your conduct with the orange rhinoceros challenge
While it’s true that parents have authority over their children, this comes with great responsibility. Remember that you’re an example for your children to follow.
Of course, accepting the orange rhinoceros challenge isn’t just a magical formula for change. But it does allow you to accept and work on the following aspects:
- Recognize that you have a problem communicating with your children.
- Understand that you’ll need will power in order to change.
- Set realistic goals for yourself. For example, you can start out by challenging yourself to go one day without yelling, and then go up from there.
- Share your determination with others so they can encourage you to reach your goal.
- Identify the situations that cause you to fall into the habit of yelling at your family.
- Anticipate and prepare for these situations. If possible, avoid them.
- Make an effort to control your reactions, no matter where you are or who you’re with.
It’s true that, as a parent, certain situations can be overwhelming and cause you to become frustrated with your children. However, constant yelling isn’t a healthy child-raising habit.
So, if you find yourself falling into this trap, we want to encourage you to accept the orange rhinoceros challenge!