The topic of whether parents should ever shout at their children is a controversial one, and a new TikTok video is recommending a rather novel method: whispering instead.
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As reported in The Mirror, Parenting coach Tia Slightham of the website Parenting Solutions shared a video of herself giving advice on the shouting debate. Tia advised parents to try whispering what they want to say to keep the child's stress levels low and retain their attention – but does it work?
WATCH: Ola and James try out the whispering method
In their column below, former Strictly stars Ola and James Jordan, who are parents to 22-month-old daughter Ella, share their views on this unusual technique. They also tried it out with Ella in our exclusive video – and the results are pretty funny.
Ola and James try the 'whispering method' with Ella
Ola: We tried the whispering technique with Ella and it doesn't work! She doesn't listen to us even more.
James: I think it's ridiculous. What if they're about to put their hand in a fire and you've got to run up to them and gently whisper in their ear, 'No that's dangerous, no don't do that Ella.'
Ola: It didn't work for Ella. She just looked at us like we were mad. I also think it's a natural reaction to shout. If she's climbing my chair and she's just about to fall, you're naturally going to shout, aren't you? You're not just going to go and whisper to her.
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Former Strictly dancers Ola and James Jordan
James: It's not like we shout at Ella regularly anyway, we actually don't – you do it because you want that shock factor that they realise they're doing something wrong. If you go up and whisper to them, how would they know it's wrong?
Ella's 22 months. You can't sit down and have a conversation with her yet to make her understand what she's doing wrong, so they need that shock to go, 'Oh! That's not good because they look really angry'. That's the reason why you do it and why it's been going on for centuries and centuries. Now we have to start whispering to our children.
Some parents maybe go a bit overboard, because I've seen shouty parents in supermarkets before and it grosses me out a little bit. I think certain parents that shout all the time at their children, the kids get used to it, 'Oh mum's shouting again'. We do it very seldom.
What about if it's not a dangerous situation but they are just being a bit naughty?
James: Yeah, like when Ella throws her food on the floor.
Ola: And I tell her, and I tell her, and I tell her so many times that sometimes you just lose your cool don't you, and then you shout. Naturally, you shout. But what do you do? She doesn't listen and she doesn't listen when you say it quietly.
Daddy with his little girl Ella
James: If she tries to run across the sofas or something like that or she's doing something that perhaps she shouldn't be, generally she does listen. But for some reason, when she's throwing food and we shout at her, she does stop for a while but then she does it again.
Ola: I think she does it for attention.
We ask them if they think the whispering technique would work on older children, say when you call them down for dinner…
James: But if you whisper, you have to go all the way upstairs, sit down with them, have a little whisper in their ear, then go to the other child and have a little whisper in their ear. It would be a five-minute thing, instead of a quick shout up the stairs. The expert might say that's lazy parenting. Sorry, it's ridiculous. It doesn't work and it's not going to work. It's a fad.
Ola and James on asking your children for permission
Ola: This whispering thing reminds me of something I heard about how you should ask a baby or toddler to change their nappy. Apparently, you should 'ask' your child to do things, you shouldn't just 'tell' them and do it. If I tell Ella she runs away!
James: Naturally we say, 'Come on, you need your nappy changed' and then she knows, and tries to bolt.
Ola: If I ask her, of course, she's going to say no. It's like when my health visitor asked if I let Ella play with her food, squeeze her food? When I was young I was told not to play with my food. She said I had to let her play with it. No!
James: Ella's a really clean eater and I like that. When you go to a restaurant when you're older you don't eat like that, so teach them when they're young to try and be clean.
Ola: Yeah that put my back up.
James: It's a new thing. I'm quite old school. My parents and Ola's parents were very much you eat at the table, you don't walk around with food – we're like that – because I think it's the right way rather than giving them too much freedom and choice. You're supposed to be teaching your children right from wrong.
Ella has a cuddle with mum Ola
Ola and James' favourite parenting techniques to use with Ella
Ola: For me, what I find is when she gets frustrated and angry, I'm trying to be calm. I always go down to her level and try to talk to her. She's got a short temper.
James: She gets it from her mum!!
Ola: I try to be calm and that seems to calm her down as well. We don't use time out with her – she's still very young. She understands what 'no' means though. She knows when she's naughty. When she wraps herself around my curtain in the kitchen, she knows what she's doing.
James: For some people that might be a small thing, but it's not to us. Our curtains were expensive and I don't want my child pulling them off the rails or damaging them. That's just the way we are. We're quite clean, tidy people.
Ola: When we get home Ella takes her shoes off straight away and puts them in her cupboard downstairs. You teach them.
James: Everyone's different though. There is a right and wrong but it's also about what works for you and what you're looking for in your child.
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