The thing about yelling

There is an article that has gone viral about not yelling at kids. It’s everywhere. It has tons of “likes” and “shares.”
The author talks about how she decided to stop yelling at her children (four boys ages 5 and younger). She says yelling made her the mommy she didn’t want to be and she would go to bed with gut-wrenching pain because she felt bad about it. She says yelling doesn’t work and you can miss out on moments like extra cuddles before bed if you yell. She is happier, calmer and feels lighter. Depending on which site you read the article, there are links to books about how to stop yelling at your kids, encouraging you to give it a try.
I have to say that the article really inspired me to never read articles like that again.
I am glad we all have different parenting styles and that this woman found what works for her and her family.
But this feels like another in a long line of blogs and Pinterest boards that raises the bar for what parents should (or shouldn’t) be doing, creating expectations – implied or not – that just are not reasonable for many households.
Me, I tend to think life is less about being on a high horse and more about avoiding being the jackass. In other words, it’s OK if you aren’t perfect and if you mess up once in a while, as long as you aren’t a total jerk, berating your child in public.
No, I do not scream at my 3-year-old and infant.
But do I have outbursts? Absolutely.
Neither of my children has developed the part of the brain that understands logic. My son still thinks he can fix a toy by slamming it against the wall. So when I calmly try to explain to him time and time again that putting holes in my walls is not nice and does not accomplish anything, he stares at me like I have just tried to convince him that Thomas is the green train.
My little man enjoys hide-and-seek, which is all fun and games until he shuts down a Target. True story, doors were locked and employees were rushing around the store on their walkie-talkies saying, “Code yellow, little boy in a red Spiderman sweatshirt.”
I wish I could say it was the first time. We have dealt with this issue on several occasions, and I have approached it from the “let’s talk about why this is not good” angle. That doesn’t work for a little Monster.
The day after the Target incident, he tried to run away again in the grocery store and I grabbed him by the shirt and in my sternest voice yelled, “NO! You DO NOT run away from Mommy. That is NOT NICE.”
Guess who hasn’t run away since?
And there are times when you just have to let out a “DAMNIT!” It’s not even voluntary. When the baby is JUST.NOT.NAPPING. and the toddler is sitting outside her door screaming, the words just bubble out of your throat and it feels good. I don’t go to bed sick over that. Nor do I feel bad when I yell, “Either PICK UP THE TRAIN or it stays at home!”
We have created this culture in which we view kids as delicate, and we tiptoe around them to not upset the balance for fear that we will forever scar them.
I call bluff.
One of the first things you are told when you become a parent is all about how resilient kids are. I got yelled at a lot when I was growing up. Aside from still constantly seeking approval from my parents, I have turned out just fine.
I’m not knocking the author of this article. I’m not knocking people who want to try this “no-yelling” thing.
I’m just saying that it’s OK if you yell once in a while. If it isn’t you yelling at them, it will be a teacher or a coach or a friend. I prefer to think that my rare, well-timed shouts are going to build thick skins.
Give your kids a little credit. They are tougher than you think.

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1 Comment on The thing about yelling

  1. Anonymous
    January 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm (6 years ago)

    my yelliing is not so rare and it drives me nuts buuuut so do my kids. i love them but also want to shake them when they spill grape juice on my new carpet i told them 1273 times not to take cups in that room. it does make me feel super bad when nori yells at nico and repeats my words to her verbatum. ugh. parenting is hard. really hard. and you turned out fairly normal. also, when your mom yelled at you, she scared me too so i think i learned your lessons for you. i’ll take that as a win for kath. :0


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