I have loads of tricks relating to the topic of “crime and punishment” for kids but today I want to talk about a very practical trick that I learned several years ago at a parenting class. The reason you may love the Silent Cry Trick is because it is one of the best tricks you can use to get your children, ages three to approximately 10, to not thoroughly embarrass you in public the next time that you deny them a privilege or discipline them.
If you have children in that age range, you might be familiar with what I’m talking about. Many younger kids don’t take to punishment or the word “No” very well so they do what comes naturally for most children. They HUMILIATE us by crying, stomping or pouting loudly in public. They do this in a really obvious way in order to broadcast to the world that they are MAD AS HELL and you are the reason for that. It’s embarrassing stuff. Trust me, I used to do it when I was little to (that’s me in that picture). I also know this first hand as a father because my now 10-year-old son Jonathan was the one that led me to enroll in my first parenting class over this and other issues.
Back when he was three, my boy was a professional rebel. At the slightest sign of discipline or scolding he would burst out crying. Loudly. Very loudly. In the privacy of our home, it was okay because as a dad I was naturally great at ignoring him flop on his side like one of The Three Stooges. He would tire before I did. In public? That was a different matter. You corrected him that at your peril because Jonathan’s public outbursts were so embarrassing that we often had to think twice about disciplining him near strangers.
This changed when I went to a local church and took a parenting class that taught me about the Silent Cry Trick. The trick is very powerful and simple. Whenever you discipline your child in any way and he or she cries, the rule is that they are not allowed to shriek or otherwise make a big fuss about being corrected. If they do that, you have to tell your child that they MUST cry in a “low voice” or they will be considered to be in disobedience. If they keep crying loudly at you, you have to remind them that they are in rebellion and that the punishment will be increased unless they IMMEDIATELY comply.
It is notable and very important that the Silent Cry Trick does not deny children the need to vent their hurt. It’s not about shutting children up, as many of us parents would normally think is the best recourse, but rather about training your kids to express their anger or frustration in a very low decibel, controlled way that is not disruptive or humiliating.
I use this trick with my two older kids with great success and can’t wait until my nearly two year old girl Briani is old enough to get it. Do you have a similar trick you’d like to share?