The harmful effects of yelling at our kids

Yelling at the kiddos is sometimes a behavior you do not even think about. Your days are busy, you’re trying to do as much stuff as possible during the day and your kids are not listening at all. So you raise your voice to get their attention. Before you know it, yelling is a regular part of your day. You think that without yelling you can’t get your kids to listen. 

Does this sound familiar?

It is very easy to fall into the habit of “I yell so I’m heard” kinda behavior. But yelling doesn’t give you the effect you’re seeking.

When we are yelling at our kids, we expect them to “get it together” and stop misbehaving. We want them to take us seriously, listen and just be good. But instead we end up with children that misbehave on a daily basis, you have to tell them everything ten times before they do it and they yell too.

Yelling doesn’t help and sure doesn’t create good listeners! In fact, yelling can damage your child’s self-esteem, children may become more aggressive and suffer depression and anxiety. That’s not what you want for your children …. I hope. Yelling combined with insults, cursing, humiliation, and criticism is actually verbal abuse that can cause lifelong damage.

The journal Child Development actually published a research about verbal vs. physical abuse. The verdict? Verbal abuse is just as bad as physical abuse. It carries stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and even aggression build up inside of the abused child.

Even if you are a loving parent who wants just the best for their children and yells “for their own good” is damaging their child’s mental development. The research led by Ming-Te Wang; assistant professor of psychology in education in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education and of psychology in Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences; also says that:

“ parental warmth”—i.e., the degree of love, emotional support, and affection between parents and adolescents—did not lessen the effects of the verbal discipline. The sense that parents are yelling at the child “out of love,” or “for their own good,” Wang said, does not mitigate the damage inflicted. Neither does the strength of the parent-child bond. Even lapsing only occasionally into the use of harsh verbal discipline, said Wang, can still be harmful. “Even if you are supportive of your child, if you fly off the handle it’s still bad,” he said. ”

So what should a stressed parent do when kids don’t listen? Talk to them!

We all know how challenging it is to try not to yell and try a different approach instead. It will probably take you a lot of self-discipline. You’re going to stop just a second or two before you’re going to yell and think “oh I shouldn’t yell so much!”. It’s not easy. But nobody ever said parenting is supposed to be easy. You want to raise children that are confident, loving and grow up feeling like they can take on the world. You want your kids to be good at school, behave and deal with their stress healthy way.

If you want all this for your kids, you HAVE TO change your parenting style.

If you do have an argument with your child (it’s gonna happen), make sure you talk to your child as soon as possible. Don’t be mad for hours, don’t give your child the angry look for the rest of the day. This too is causing stress to their little bodies and minds.

Children thrive in the loving environment. They need to feel love and they need to know they are loved even if they make mistakes. Shaming and constant criticism have no place in this loving relationship.

Allow your child to be their own person, make their own mistakes and learn about the world. Be the “safe house” where your child returns knowing he is loved, safe and he’s not judged.

I’m not saying that you should forget about your own emotions and never be angry. You have a full right to have your own emotions. Don’t pretend that everything is always great and absolutely nothing can make you mad.

You’re a person’ not a robot. But what is said and how it is said really does matter. Make sure you make it clear that your anger is pointed towards whatever made you frustrated, not towards your child.

Surprisingly, in certain situations, yelling can be healthy and even good for your child to experience.

The only case is yelling when you’re frustrated at something else than your child. For example, the oven breaks and you yell out “Oh the oven broke again!”.
Show your children that it’s ok to have emotions. Show them the healthy way to deal with anger and frustration. Let your children see that nobody is perfect and that everyone gets frustrated at times. But we have to learn to deal with our emotions.

Keep in mind that you’re the role model for your child. You can shape their personality in greater ways you can imagine.

What about you? How do you handle the situations where you want to scream out of frustration? Do you give in to the routine of yelling or are you trying to stop yourself and take a different approach?