I believe that parents can establish and maintain control over children without shouting or becoming angry. Not only is it possible, but I think it is highly desirable that parents use only gentle measures when raising their children. The spin-off effects include a better rapport between the generations, a warm, relaxed atmosphere in the home and a great likelihood that the closeness will continue as the child grows into adulthood. It is essential to establish authority, such that a child understands that when a parent issues an instruction, the matter is settled. The parent must accept the responsibility of their role and not miminize this in the hope of befriending, rather than parenting their child.
Some parents feel that the modern way of bringing up children requires reasoning and debate with their child in all matters. I would say that for the important decisions, the parents must make the decision and simply tell the child the outcome. This is because if children find that by arguing or demonstrating, they may change the parent's decision, they will not accept the parent's decision as the final word. It is essential for a parent to be firm in their resolve to abide by a decision.
Initially, if a child has been accustomed to getting their own way, this will require some determination. But even children who have become accustomed to pleading for a change in their parent's decisions will soon drop this habit once they find the parent has a new attitude and that bargaining now never succeeds. Children who never, from the beginning, find any success in arguing with their parents, won't ever attempt to change a decision once the parents have made it. Obedience can be obtained through entirely gentle measures. This specifically excludes physical punishment, or threats of future pain or humiliation (or frightening a child with potential "supernatural" consequences).
While the non-gentle approach to promote obedience can produce rapid results in terms of a child's short-term behavior, it is always at the cost of either mental or physical pain or loss of self esteem (for either or both parties). Gentle measures require a greater use of the parent's patience and imagination than non-gentle methods, but maintain a more harmonious relationship and foster mutual respect. Gentle approaches to encouraging good behavior are endlessly varied in form, dependant on each case, but there are many common themes: You must choose the right time. The most effective time to attempt to modify a child's behavior may not be immediately after they have been disobedient. A child is more receptive to instruction on how to make decisions, how to make the right choice and how to behave when in a calm state of mind.
Establishing a close connection of affection and sympathy between the parent and the child before making any comments on behavior will create a more profound effect. Using non-confrontational language is likely to encourage the child to listen to what you are saying rather than try to simply defend their actions. The use of a story: stories may enable a child to revisit a recent event in their own life from a different perspective. This can encourage the child to consider their actions in the way desired by the parents, without causing the child to feel guilty. Time to think: allowing a child time to reflect upon a story will encourage them to find the moral in the tale, which you can then discuss. The purpose of using a calm and considerate approach to training children is to create an impulse in the right direction of a child's thinking such that rapid improvements in character are bound to follow.
There is a cascading effect of improved awareness by the child of the effects of their behavior on others and an increasing ability to see things from another person's perspective - one of the necessary characteristics of maturity.
Brendan McKeogh is the father of three boys and publishes books and articles on the subject of parenting and relationships. He offers a free mini-course via email through http://www.classicparentingsecrets.com