There is an immense amount of pressure on parents today to be perfect. When you were a kid, if you didn’t mind what your parents asked you to do, when they asked you to do it chances are you either got yelled at in a voice that clearly warned you mom and dad had reached their breaking point, your butt spanked, grounded or all three. In other words, there were consequences, and you learned from a young age when you had stepped over the imaginary line drawn in the sand by your parents AKA, your authority figures.
Today, parenting is all about NOT damaging the fragile psyches of our children. About learning from the mistakes our parents made, about positive discipline, and finding the most non-violent and non-hostile ways to deal with our out of control children. Spanking is out. And yelling, otherwise known as ‘raising your voice’ is also a trait deemed negative by parenting experts.
The thing is, these experts aren’t raising YOUR children. The experts that condemn you for raising your voice or yelling at your child, haven’t spent the past 7 hours trying to get YOUR child to do his or her homework. And ‘feel good’ parenting that is filled with nothing but joyous praise and prefaced by positive reinforcement is proving to raise a generation of children who feel they deserve a trophy just for participating in life. As these kids become adults, how will they ever deal with a critical boss, or handle failure, or more innately realize that the rest of the world is not going to treat them with kit gloves?
Even so, parents all over the globe experience an extremely frustrating encounter with their child, blow their top and then wallow for hours or days in guilt. The wonder, ‘Do I yell at my children too much?’ ‘Am I bad parent for losing my temper and raising my voice?’ ‘Am I damaging my children’s self esteem by yelling?’
The first thing that you need to do is take inventory. Realize that at some point, cortisol levels of every parent reach a level where you are going to lose your temper and raise your voice and yell at your child. In a survey for The Washington Post, 98% parents polled admitted that they yelled at their child from time to time. And of that 98%, 74% felt guilty about it.
One parenting experts explains yelling at children like this. You should strive to be a level headed, self-controlled parent 80% of the time. But during the 20% of the time when you are either so fatigued, or so frustrated with your children that you behave out of a context that you had hoped you would never visit you should learn to let it go.
On the other hand, if you cannot speak to your children without yelling, and are constantly nagging and hollering at your kids you may have some anger issues to deal with. What many parents find when raising children is that their day-to-day behaviors become so upsetting and aggravating, that they stay mad from one day to the next. After a week, months or years what they are really ‘yelling’ about is not the ink stain on the freshly painted hallway door but the accumulation of frustrating moments you have experienced over the long haul.
If you yell a lot, or always you need to learn to reset from one day to the next. Staying angry, and remaining in a state of angst and frustration with your kids will not allow you to be the loving parent that you desire to be. It will also cause you to yell more than necessary, which can be extremely negative for your children’s sense of security.
You also need to realize that you aren’t doing a very good job at teaching your children how to effectively communicate if everything that comes from your mouth is spewed with excessive volume. Essentially, you will raise children that become adults who yell. Not good. On the other hand, if you raise your voice, or yell occasionally, and normally when the children have pushed you too far then you aren’t doing any emotional damage. In fact, some experts even say, that yelling when done without name-calling and demoralization, is a clap of oral thunder that gets your children’s attention and is much healthier than physical violence.
Parents also need to realize that when they do yell at their child, they shouldn’t wallow in their guilt afterwards. Instead, once the kids have conformed and the shock of seeing mom or dad so upset has worn off their face, sit down and talk with them reasonably about what happened. Explain to them that you shouldn’t have had to ask them 41 times to clean up their plates, or told them 12 times to brush their teeth. Kids need limits. And parents need to have limits. Apologize for losing your temper, which will help them see that sometimes in life it is okay to feel anger. Sure, in a perfect world with unicorns and rainbows over every rooftop, yelling would not need to exist because kids would be always obedient and ever willing to accept the boundaries handed down by mom and dad. But we all know this world doesn’t exist. So move on!
Yelling, can of course be a problem. As parents, it is important to set good examples of behavior and to try and remain in control and hold onto self-control when dealing with children. If you have difficulty with this, then your best option is to seek help to find other ways to deal with your kids that are more positive. However, nearly all parents, at one point or another yell at their kiddos. It’s a dirty fact of parenting, one that today’s experts would like to shun from the reality of raising kids. Yet, it’s a reality indeed.