I understand why some mums yell at their children, but that doesn’t make it okay.
Yelling at our kids is just one of those things. It’s a result of the stress and hardship of parenting. Who doesn’t yell at their kids, right?
Except we don’t often stop to really think about the impact it is having on our children.
When I say ‘yelling’, I’m not talking about raising your voice to tell them to hurry up and brush their teeth or get their school bags or stop throwing food. I’m talking about when we really lose it and scream and yell in their faces, startling them, scaring them, making them cry.
The debate surrounding yelling at kids has continued this week when blogger and mum-of-three, Maxabella wrote about her tendency to 'roar' at her children, a level that goes beyond yelling. She braced herself for criticism but says, "instead I was supported and soothed and made to feel normal".
So yelling is normal now?
Then, she touched on something that goes to the heart of the reason why I'm not comfortable with yelling:
One thing that I did notice, however, was a general theme of mums feeling ashamed whenever they yell at their kids. They feel guilty and like a ‘bad parent’ when they yell. Even though we all do it. Even though, despite knowing we have other options (although with time outs also being questioned, those options are frankly getting slimmer and slimmer), sometimes a yell is all we really want to do. Yelling might not ‘work’ necessarily, but man does it ever feel good. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s about the mum, not the kids. Surely?
Despite her admission that yelling isn't something most mums feel good about, she goes on to mock so-called 'experts' who explain that yelling at your children causes damage and is just as bad as physical abuse. She then ridicules techniques like gently chastising your children by pulling them close and really communicating with them, without raising your voice.
I understand where she is coming from. The guilt and shame that mums feel after they yell, causes them to try and make light of it and refuse to believe it can have lasting negative consequences for their children. None of us start yelling at our kids with the intention of doing damage. We're just mad and stressed and angry and frustrated.
Research shows that yelling at children can be more harmful than smacking them. Watch the video below to hear more. Post continues after video...
I'm really sorry to be the one to tell you this, but I believe it is damaging to yell at your children, because I was raised in a home where yelling was a daily event. The terror and fear I felt as I watched my mum's face contort with rage - the same face I was meant to turn to for love and trust and support and assurance - had a horrific impact.
Then I started yelling at my kids, and I know what I looked like to them. I know the monster they saw. I know how they felt when I started ranting and 'roaring' over a mess they'd made or something else they'd done.
Their stomachs were in knots, they felt displaced, scared, unsure of where to turn or what to do. The person they are meant to trust the most in the world, the one person they should always be able to rely on to keep them safe and make them feel better, was now the source of their fear and terror.
Maxabella says, 'yelling has become the new smacking', insomuch as it is being demonised by 'experts'. We all know we aren't meant to hit our kids so now we've stopped smacking and started yelling. If this is the case, it's not okay. And she knows it, because she takes another U-turn and writes:
Now, reading the literature has me trying hard not to be a yeller as much as the next mum and most days I manage to get there. The kids are misbehaving and I despite the fact that my head wants to explode into a thousand pieces out of my mouth, I don’t yell. I sit them down and gently talk them through how their behaviour is making the rest of us feel. We talk, I listen, they listen and then we hold hands and sing Kumbayah as a pan pipe whispers in the background.
See how conflicted she is? See how she starts out ashamedly confessing to yelling, then feels relief that she is supported by other mums who yell, then mocks experts who say yelling is harmful, then admits to trying to stop yelling due to the expert advice??? Her conflict, played out over one page, is the same conflict we all live each and every day.
None of us really wants to yell at our children. It just happens. But we can try and do it less. When you are yelling at your kids, they are not learning the lesson they need to learn. They are not really 'hearing' you. The negative impact of the actual yelling removes the opportunity for them to learn.
Yelling about it teaches them to fear you, end of story.
How do you feel about yelling? Do you yell at your kids? Were you yelled at when you were a child?
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