Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Instead of Yelling

I've been around many families, and we each have our own patterns of interactions with one another--some good, some bad; however, one interaction that should never be allowed to take root is yelling. Yes, I said it, yelling (i.e. raising your voice).


You know, when your two kids are poking each other for the millionth time today; when your 2-year-old knocks all of the books off the bookshelf again; or even when your 16-year-old comes in late after curfew...Each of these times merits scolding and you would be justified to be critical and raise your voice a little, right? You're just trying to get your point across, right? Well, you tell me. What are you teaching your child when you act this way? What kind of an environment are you creating in your home? Is it one of love, trust, and growth?

One mother writes:
"Please stop teasing your brother!' I yelled for what seemed like the millionth time. Then, I shuddered inwardly as I wondered how I must sound to our three boys...It suddenly hit me like a clap of thunder: maybe it really was the millionth time! Each day I found something to criticize, and my words of discouragement poked holes in fragile egos and deflated budding feelings of worth" (Pettey, Sep 2000, Instead of Yelling, Ensign, p. 7).

This mother was not some horrible monster. She only had what she calls "high expectations" for her sons. She wanted them to be "kind, polite, tolerant, forgiving, and respectful" (p. 7). But do you think this is the kind of environment she was fostering? No, I do not think so.

Do our children need correction? Yes, but they do not need yelling. Instead, our children need to see us not react in the moment. They need to hear our positive words of encouragement in regards to what they do well throughout the day.

This mother noticed what she was doing by yelling in the heat of the moment at her children, and she decided to change. She states, "I began to see a marked difference in our home. It seemed brighter, happier place to be, and our boys' faces glowed with each positive remark. They even accepted correction and advice better" (p. 7, emphasis added).

To read her story and what she did to change, click here.

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