The Barking Mum - Yelling at kids: to do or not to do?

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Are you constantly yelling at kids? To yell or not to yell? Mummy gives you her personal experience on how baseless yelling can be dangerous for your child..

Yell at kids

Okay, so I yell too much — not just a bit too much but, a lot too much!

Of course, heaven knows, I’m not the first mother on Earth who habitually raises my voice yelling at kids and then justifies it at the same time.

I don’t know about you but there are really some days when I feel that my kids were born with the innate ability to push my buttons — to the point where I end up raising my voice and going off like a mad lady gone loose.

Well you know what? Those “buttons” that I have? The ones that are “pushed” and cause me to lose my temper? You probably have them too.

So maybe it’s time for us to dig deeper and try to understand what our “buttons” are all about, i.e. what triggers us to react and act the way we do. Oftentimes, we just need to understand where our kids are coming from, and also take a look at our own attitude.

So what if I yell?

Scientific research tells us that yelling constantly may damage a child emotionally. Children could also end up adopting the habit of tuning you out if yelling at kids is one of your habits.

A 2013 study 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, even states that parents’ “use of harsh verbal discipline —defined as shouting, cursing, or using insults—may be just as detrimental to the long-term well-being” of children, particularly adolescents.

Personally, I don’t completely buy into such studies but neither do I completely dismiss them. Yelling may be something a lot of parents consider a natural thing to do and verbal discipline may even have its upside, but I believe the most important thing is to observe your child’s actual response.

Is he learning something, i.e. is there an actual behavior change after you raise your voice at him? Or are things just getting worse?

The problem with yelling is that many times we lose our focus and end up not being clear with what we want to happen. In the end, both parent and child end up being in a lost all situation.

My personal experience

Going back to my personal experience and dilemma whether “to yell or not to yell,” let me just say that this ‘barking’ mom has learnt to balance her tone.

I believe that sometimes children get too comfortable with every aspect of their lives so the constant yelling challenges them to be better people. My kids have already accepted the fact that I yell at them to clear their room, finish their homework and do their chores on time as part of disciplining them.

In our home, it is a given that I raise my voice to make a point which, given in a normal tone of voice, would usually be ignored.

Click to page two to read about the downside of being a yelling mum

The downside of being a mum yelling at kids

There was this one time when my kids misbehaved and crossed their boundaries. Frustrated and tired from entertaining live-in guests, my mind was mentally punishing them in various ways.

The minute I stepped into our home, I raised my voice and sharply ordered them out of the house to avoid making a scene in front of our guests. I went outside with them, took both their mobile phones away and told them to get into my car.

We left the house with me still seething with rage. I was out of control and while waiting at a traffic light, I screamed at both of them to get out of my sight.

Guess what, they were out of the car in seconds! I was shocked at their response and wasn’t able to react immediately. To add to my horror, I realized they were cashless and I had no way of contacting them since I had their mobile phones.

The next two hours found me searching for my kids on the streets of Bangkok. People who I spoke to on the streets offered me no comfort and even said that I might never see my kids again.

Admittedly, the whole experience altered my views and made me think long and hard about the negativity of yelling. I honestly thought that I would never see my children again. I still feel a lump form in my throat whenever I recall that day. I consider myself lucky that they eventually found their way back home.

Because of that incident, I learnt how yelling can actually be dangerous and have disastrous effects. Now I believe that it’s normal to yell but it’s important to make sure that it’s ‘safe yelling’ — yelling that won’t cause permanent damage but will bring about improvement and change.

Don’t just flip the lid because you’re exhausted or busy and need to get things done. I may be criticized for saying this but if you must yell, do it with love.

And if you do end up raising your voice, don’t beat yourself up after it. Seek your child’s forgiveness if you caused them any hurt, then let go of the emotional guilt.

The video below will show you why:

 

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