Is it okay to yell at my children?

I know a lot of people who give in to the urge to “yell” at their children.  Because they view parenting as “boss”  of their pint sized replica, they assume they have the right to raise their voice and verbally vent their anger.

There are four problems with this practice.

1.  It doesn’t stop the bad behavior.  Wait a minute Debbie….that’s not true.  When my kid knows I’m really upset with him and that he’s going to be punished – he stops what he’s doing immediately.

Exactly.  The punishment stops the bad behavior – not the yelling.  Yelling or verbally venting your anger doesn’t do anything to change your child’s behavior.  In fact, it may push that bad behavior underground.  In other words, your child may get so mad at you that you actually ingrain the behavior further.  He may not realize it, but he may continue the bad behavior out of revenge rather than the fact that he’s unable to stop.

2.  Yelling does teach your child.  It teaches him that being argumentative is okay with you.  It teaches him that he doesn’t have to use restraint in how he expresses himself.  It teaches him that it’s okay to destroy a person’s self-esteem as long as you have been provoked.

3.  And the worst of all….it destroys his ability to analyze his way through problems.  It takes practice to be a problem solver and to work with others.  It takes practice to pay attention to instructions and to follow routines.  When you teach your child that it’s okay to yell your way through difficult situations, you remove the desire to try to find solutions and you pave the way for selfishness and a demanding personality.

4.  Yelling destroys your relationship with your child.  Most parents who endure teen rebellion are hurt when their child hurls insults and yells at every parental action.  Yet, when I ask those same parents if they were argumentative or if they gave into yelling at their children – the answer is usually yes.  They spent the first twelve years showing their child how to lose control, to yell and be argumentative.  It’s kind of silly to be surprised when they turn and show you what you have taught them.

Age 0-12 is your time to build a relationship with your child.  During those years you should prove to them that you can be trusted.  One of your main goals should be to become their mentor, their beloved teacher, the one they run to for understanding and love.  You are building a relationship.  Even if you are a “yelling” person at heart – anytime you feel the urge ask yourself “What will this teach my child?  How will this change our relationship?  Will my actions help them love me?”

Does that mean that you don’t require rules to be followed?  Absolutely not.  You should train them to do the right thing – but train with logic and methodical practice.  Help them understand your goals and the reason you have requirements.  Help them understand the world and then work together as a family to be the best all of you can be.


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