Everyone knows that children can appear to be a handful more often than they seem to behave accordingly and it’s really just another aspect of their growth and development as they learn about things around them and experience the world at their own pace. Nobody can really expect a child to stand still and behave at all times, nor can we expect them to be less curious about everything and anything that surrounds them or that they come in contact with. However, as much as their behavior is to be expected as they grow and start gaining a sense of independence and defiance, parents can be annoyed fast by a little rebellious kid’s antics and because of that, they give in to their desperation to attempt to gain control of the situation again by yelling at their child. The action which, as you can probably guess, brings a lot of drawbacks and manages to only worsen the situation rather than fix anything.
Unruly children are a pain, everyone knows it, but has yelling at them ever done anything good? Most of the time it just startles or scares them and causes them to cry or even try to fight back by yelling as well or throwing things, so using screaming as a way to discipline your child or gain their respect doesn’t really seem to do it, which is not surprising at all.
Below are 10 reasons you should take into account the next time you attempt to educate your child through screaming and hopefully try to find other means of disciplining them and drop the yelling habit altogether.
- It’s inefficient, to put it simply. Every single mother out there can tell you how yelling at her children leaves her with a sore throat and no results from the kids. If the child is particularly stubborn or even spoiled, yelling won’t even faze them in the way that you want it to. A spoiled child will seize the opportunity to manipulate you into feeling guilty about not only scolding them or ordering them around but yelling while doing that as well. With a stubborn child, you can scream and scream all you want, but you might find yourself yelled at right back!
- Yelling means fighting. Fighting then means your child will give into the fight or flight response and is prone to either fight back or break down in tears or even try to run away from you. Yelling at them gives birth to conflict and kids don’t really take lightly to fighting with a parent of all, someone they know is supposed to be their guardian and their best friend. What’s more, it hurts their trust in you and the last thing a parent wants is to ruin their relationship with their child(ren). A more defiant child will take it as a lesson of “to get someone to do as I say, I have to yell”, and you might find yourself being talked back to or even ordered things through yelling, something that a child should not do.
- It’s embarrassing. You’re trying to discipline them in front of their friends or classmates or on the playground and you raise your tone at them, deliver some cutting words in hopes that they learn their lesson as you take out your anger on them and perhaps whatever pent-up frustration you built during the day at work as well, and then you wonder why they’re not paying attention or why they’re even trying to get out of there as soon as possible.
The answer? They’re super ashamed of you yelling at them and treating them like a little kid in front of people they know, or even in front of a big group of strangers. What’s more, whenever they feel so humiliated, kids are less prone to pay attention and actually learn anything from the one who is trying to teach them something. It’s more likely that they’re trying to think of ways how to avoid the public embarrassment rather than thinking back on their behavior and how they can fix what they’ve done wrong.
- It can actually have a negative impact on the child’s development. Be it because they have been publicly humiliated or constantly yelled at even for the littlest things, children can be greatly affected by such wrong approaches when it comes to disciplining them. Public embarrassment can drastically lower their self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as make their trust in you wither the more often humiliating happens. Constantly yelling at them sets an unnatural standard of what’s “normal” in a household as well, which can create a lot of issues later on in life and may even make them more prone to accidentally winding up in abusive relationships.
- It’s terrifying. When everyone around them, including themselves, talks in a certain way then suddenly someone screams at the top of their lungs whenever they accidentally did something wrong, it can do more damage than good. Kids get easily startled as it is, but the response they will form to yelling will slow them down in their self-development. It can leave them wary around the parent and it can create a reflex of cowering away whenever someone so much as looks like they’re about to yell at them. It’s exactly like a child ducking away or being jumpy whenever someone raises their hand at them when their parents have a habit of striking them – it creates emotional scars and rifts in the parent-child relationship.
- It lowers a child’s respect towards your word of authority. How so? Each time you yell to get your point across or to insist that they need to hurry and perform an action or chore right this instant, it creates the idea of “yelling means business”. What does that mean? Well, it means that your children are less prone to listen to you when you speak to them calmly, as they get used to knowing that something is dire only when you raise your tone. You will find yourself calling them to the dinner table calmly, yet several times before they actually pay attention to you due to yelling the next time.
At that point, this is what it all looks like in their mind: calm tone = not serious =/= yelling = serious stuff.
- Calm means normal. If the more you yell, the more they start redefining when something is serious or not, then the more you address them calmly, the more they get used to the normalcy of a healthy household and it will teach them a better sense of responsibility as well, especially if you tried to stop the yelling habit by taking it out bit by bit, and saving the yelling for things that are absolutely dangerous – like maybe for when they’re about to mess with something that could truly hurt them. But the less you yell, the more they start to get used to disciplining being done with a reasonable tone.
- Lead by example. Children learn everything by not only copying their family members in their early development stages but by taking their example all throughout life if the said examples and models prove to be a positive influence that can help them in a different situation if they just adopt this or that behavior. That being said, it’s the same with how communication and disciplining happens in the household. A child who is talked calmly to and explained why they cannot do X or Y will try to educate other people in the same way when their own turn comes to do so, but a child who gets yelled at, threatened or punished will only get to know those means of attempting to discipline someone. As they already acquire enough pent-up frustration because of how they’ve been mistreated, it won’t be too difficult for them to attempt to take it all out on whoever earned themselves a scolding from them, and they will resort to similar ways of teaching the person how to behave or what to do and not do.
The best way to make sure your child picks up the right kind of behavioral patterns is to step back and observe your own behavior, then alter it as you see fit for your child’s well-being.
- Feeling of helplessness. As a parent, you want and expect to have the last word in any sort of matter, as you supposedly always know best and the child is under no circumstances allowed to talk back, ignore or even disrespect your decisions. Right? Well, it might not be often, but sometimes parents are wrong as well, be it because they might be overly protective and exaggerating in their attempt to keep their child from getting hurt, or maybe they’re simply misinformed. As such, whenever they try to discipline their child and they resort to yelling, it gives a clear message that this represents the final say, more often than not. That leaves the child feeling helpless in front of an ultimatum, not allowed to express their opinion or their point of view, nor to ask for an explanation. It’s extremely frustrating to be yelled at and not be able to respond in any way, especially when a parent might be wrong, so eliminating the possibility of making a child feel so helpless in front of their supposed guardian is essential for a good relationship between family members.
- Take yourself into account as well. Yelling at your children isn’t all about how it makes them feel, despite a parent’s number one job is to properly take care of their children and raise them in a healthy environment. How did it go the last time you yelled at your child? Could you feel your head getting hotter, or your muscles tensing up? Not only are you getting upset over something they did, and as such experiencing strong emotions, but you’re also pushing yourself physically when you scream at the top of your lungs. Your heartbeat intensifies, and that alone can be very dangerous if you suffer from hypertension or other heart conditions. Overall, you should stop causing your body unnecessary stress whenever you can avoid it.
All in all, you should take into serious consideration to stop yelling at a child, as it will prove to be more beneficial and healthy to both of you in the long run, and it’s a sure way to strengthen your relationship and create a healthy and safe environment for them to grow up in! Good luck!