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Yelling Is Not a Bad Thing

In the past few decades in the United States, there’s been a consistent push to strip away all means of discipline to the point that we are simply coddling children instead of imparting life lessons. This holds true for the latest trend being advocated by parenting experts. The idea of not yelling at one’s child at all no matter what the scenario.

There is no exception to practical hands on experience in raising a child. You can read volumes of books on the subject matter, hear the advice from fellow parents as well as your own parents, tune in to radio and television talk shows, and of course surf the internet to read parenting web sites for assorted opinions. In most cases, the parents I’ve spoken with follow a culmination of bits and pieces of resources as well as a healthy dose of trial and error.

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve raised my voice during times of stress. But I do try to be mindful of my message. Especially since yelling can escalate to a hurtful tone fueled by emotion rather than rationale thought. Approaching any flare up with patience and understanding certainly helps. Young kids can’t always articulate exactly what’s bothering them. In a way, Mothers and Fathers need discipline first. Truth be told, this parenting thing is a tough gig.

Yet raising one’s voice does have its place as an effective tool to defuse potentially dangerous situations. For example, keeping them focused when approaching a driveway, or crossing the street, or breaking up a sibling rivalry fight. Unlike a tantrum which arguably could be scaled down through soft tones via some variety of emotion coaching, decisive action lends itself to act with heightened immediacy. The bottom line, it’s impossible to be a perfect parent. But we can strive to be good enough.

What do you think? What’s your approach to high stress situations with your kids?

  • MSH

    I count to 10 (sometimes twenty) calmly when I feel I am about to raise my voice.

    • cutemonster

      Sometimes counting to 30 helps too. 🙂

  • I was just writing about my bout of yelling from earlier today. I’m with you in that I think it can be an effective method of grabbing their attention. It’s just a matter of using it at the right times and making sure the message warrants it.

    • cutemonster

      Great minds think and yell alike? 🙂

  • We are all human and yelling whether you like it or not is a part of being human. We become emotional and for lack of a better term, “yelling happens.” I totally agree it is more about the message or the intent behind yelling that matters most. If we never stop yelling our kids won’t listen to us and our message will never get heard. A good balance of yelling at the right time and keeping a level head are crucial.


    • cutemonster

      Yes sir. Just about everything we do seems to be about finding the right balance. That Miaggi guy from the Karate Kid was on to something. 🙂

  • Last week, my kid walked in front of me just when I was transferring the boiling pasta water to the sink, and I almost bumped into him with the boiling water. I yelled, and he cried. In a situation like that, though, I agree that yelling is the only thing you can do, but the yelling would have been much more helpful if I didn’t also yell when he didn’t get dressed quickly enough in the morning, or when he was mean to his sister.

    There are different types of voices, even yelling voices, and I think we have to make sure we keep the real yelling to situations where the yelling shocks the child enough to save him from being injured. The rest of the stuff–being mean to his sister or to us, yelling simply doesn’t help–it only makes real yelling less powerful.

    Don’t get me wrong, though. I think that if you don’t yell (or hit) your child, it doesn’t mean you’re coddling him necessarily, but I’m far from where I want to be as a parent. I never hit, and hopefully never will, but I yell too much and take too much stuff personally. Like you say, it’s not easy, and we’re not perfect.

    • cutemonster

      We all want the best for our kids. Checking our emotions during stressful situations is never easy. It takes a lot of practice. But as long as we’re mindful, I think as you said, we can limit the yelling to moments when safety of the child is an issue. Thanks for your insights Oren.

  • Jeff Rivera

    For me, there are always two sides of a coin in every situation. Yelling is no exception. Regardless of what others may say, I’m a believer that to raise one’s voice is an integral part of disciplining our children. There should be a coexistence between Authority and Respect.

    • cutemonster

      All too true Jeff. It’s finding the proper balance that’s the tricky part. Being a parent’s a tough job. 🙂

  • Paul

    I’m 20 and I take care of my little brother, age 8, when our parents are at work. No one is a fan of yelling since it’s not just a sign of authority, but aggression. In a case where my brother accidentally spilled a glass of juice over the kitchen floor, I looked at him and called his name is a stern voice to grab his attention. I sighed, then told him to be more attentive to his surroundings. Then, I grabbed a piece of paper towel and cleaned it up as I spoke to him. If it ever became a repetitive case, then eventually I will give him a towel to clean it up while keeping an authoritative posture. This example should be set for all other accidents no matter the scale.

    • cutemonster

      You’re wise for your age Paul. Patience really is key.

  • Francine

    It seems simple to me. Think of what you’d want yourself. Car barreling towards me? Save my life by shouting, thank you. I’ve done something you disagree with? Explain it to me like a human being, no need to frighten me, make me feel bad and hurt our relationship. It’s not as difficult as it might seem if you practice living in such a way that your own needs are met as well as your child’s. Treat both of you well and it’s a win-win.