As usual, this article was borne out of a current life circumstance for me and my household. I know I’m not the only parent to have lost her cool with a child ... or children. The challenge is to get angry the right way so that the teachable moment won’t be lost.
Not Yelling -- Good in Theory, Hard to Practice
Most parents recognize in their cooler, normal-tempered moments that staying calm during an altercation, argument or disagreement with their children is the Golden Rule. Resolve things logically and without raising your voice.
But most parents also recognize how seemingly impossible this ideal becomes when your child has challenged pretty much every rule you’ve ever made and seems to enjoy doing it to get you as mad as possible—at least, that’s what it seems.
It’s also difficult to break the habits of how we were raised. Raised voices may have been socially acceptable then, but is frowned upon and even a reportable offense nowadays.
It is in this climate, Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions says, that parents “are at a loss for what they can do. They resort to reminding, nagging, timeout, counting 1-2-3 and quickly realize that those strategies don’t work to change behavior. In the absence of tools that really work, they feel frustrated and angry and raise their voice ...” (3)
How Yelling Hurts Children
According to a study conducted in Dubai, India and in the United States done by the University of Pittsburg and the University of Michigan, yelling may not be as harmless as we think. In fact, it may have the same kind of psychological impact on a child’s self-esteem and the parent-child relationship as physical forms of punishment.
Dr. Amy Bailey, clinical psychologist at kidsFIRST Medical Center, in Dubai said, “Though it may not create the same physical scars, research has clearly indicated that emotional and verbal abuse is as damaging to a child’s psychological well-being as physical abuse. Children who have experienced persistent emotional abuse tend to emotionally withdraw as they are frightened of what reaction their presence will have on others.” (4)