Why do we yell at our kids ?


A few weeks back Shail Mohan shared some thoughts on her blog as a reply to one of my comments .

@Krishnaleela,

If we recognize our own confusion and fear as an adult, we will stop shouting at children for things beyond their control. The screaming and shouting can be kept as last resort instruments for more productive purposes, when they disobey our just demands for example. Don’t you think so??
But sadly most parents I have found shout when they are scared and confused. What signal does that send to the child??!

I was thinking about it for a while and delaying my response as it is one of the biggest problems confronted by young parents like me.I am noting down the random thoughts that crossed my mind .

Just take a look around you. Every where you will see parents yelling at kids as though they have done some fatal crime . Just now I saw a parent haul her son brutally after yelling at him  . This was just for sitting on the dust in the parapet . Yes , there was some dust there . I too agree. But I don’t think it needs that much attention and show off . Whatever signal she wants to send her child she is sending a message of supremacy to others who happen to sit there 😛

As Shail wondered what signal do we send our children by yelling at them? I gather the child thinks he / she has gone terribly wrong . Or that they are always wrong . And are not loved . In a way we are telling them we have more important things  . By doing that we are also closing the door of communication . The only door open to us parents to reach our kids once they venture into the real world far away from our protective wings . Mind you , this magical door is kept open to parents only in this magical young age . Soon the door will be crowded with strange looking friends and macho heroes that you will not even get a space to peep in to see what is going on inside there. Make the best of it while you can .

By screaming and shouting we are also putting the child in an equally confused state and taking away the safety feeling and confidence. After an outburst have you ever asked your child what he/she understood ? Just try it next time and you will get the most funniest answers. Most of the time the child doesn’t even understand what they are scolded for. The very thing that you wanted to convey is lost in the uproar.

The yelling comes from the fear that your child, the fruit of all your efforts , the prodigy who is going to gain you all the credits for being a super parent may do some thing wrong.  Instead of thinking that the child is just being a six-seven year old we take the short comings as our own failure in parenting and is eager to cover it up. Just like Shail noted , one of the grave aftermath of yelling , screaming and shouting is the fact that we are left with no arms and ammunition for the future when we are more likely to deal with serious problems other than jumping on the bed or playing ahead of sleep time.

As they say , the problem with parenting is it doesn’t come along with a manual . And your child is same as the surprise Kinder Joy you buy for them . You don’t know what is inside . No body tells you before hand what is right and what is wrong for your child . Trial and error is the only option.

It would have been great if there were some arrangements to train the expecting parents on the psychology of kids , different types of kids and the expected emotional behaviour at different stages and so on.

Some thing I have observed with great interest is parents , especially mothers are always eager to advice other young parents. I think this happens because they learn what is right and what is wrong only after bringing up their child  🙂

Grand parents could have done a great deal of help. But like most of the mothers reading this would accept it , we are not ready to take advice from our mother-in -laws or even mothers when it comes to bringing up our child . I think this happens because in our mind apart from the all the positive thoughts we have about our parents , we know what went wrong when they brought us up . And we don’t want that to happen to our child. So we try in every way to correct and compensate for it and end up doing some thing wrong in some other aspect. And the cycle continues.

One thing that I hate in a new born baby’s room is the hot discussion that goes on and on between mother’s family and father’s family about the right way of bringing up kids . And most of the times I see the mother’s family has to mutely accept what the father’s family says. I wonder why people cannot understand there are different ways of bringing up newborns  and each style is unique to the region.

I see that I digressed. It is such a hot topic 😉 Coming back to yelling,  I admit I have also done it many times . My son had had a real tough time while I was expecting my second born . And even after child birth . There were many people to help me but no one who can be ‘me’ even for some time. I was confused and scared . I was afraid if I would be able to do a good job bringing up both the kids . I took it out on the most vulnerable person around me . That was my son and I reaped the rewards.

Now I have deliberately controlled this misbehavior to a great extend . When my kids drive me crazy I tell them straight what is upsetting me. I suggest them ways to modify their behaviour. I explain to them situations . Quote examples to show what is right and what is wrong. Tell them stories from epics , movies etc. I give them chances . I tell them that it is not a pass or fail situation . They can always improve. And that they always have a next chance .

Here are some tips or points to ponder .

1. While you are with your child try to keep your anger on hold . ( yes, it is possible.)

2. If the issue in hand is not going to affect the child’s future go easy on it .

3. Hold the child and  give a two minutes ‘ silence time’ before you speak. This will help you to get the child’s attention and give you time to gather your thoughts .

4. Take the time and patience to explain to your child what is wrong . And also make it clear it is the action that is wrong and not the doer .

5. Please don’t make statements like ‘the child is the one who is causing all the problems in my life ‘ . ( I ‘ve heard it many times from several parents ! )

6. Please don’t tell you are taking the major decisions in your life because of / for the benifit of your child. You are the one entitled to your life. And your child is entitled only to his /her . Please don’t burden them with the weight of your decisions .

Let them grow light- hearted . And let us make them ready to take on the world when the time comes .

Pleas share your thoughts !

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12 responses to “Why do we yell at our kids ?

  1. Love love love this post!!! Brilliantly said, Ash. You are such a good mom. I have an anger management problem, but this is learned behaviour (from my mum). I am trying to control this, like you said. And your sentence ‘deliberately controlled this misbehavior to a great extend ‘ – KUDOS to you for saying this. Venting out anger on children is certainly misbehaviour on the part of the parent. Take a bow, girl!

  2. A very useful post for a new mum like me. My 19 month old is slowly creeping into her terrible twos and I am afraid, I tend to show emotion every now and then when she becomes way too wilful.

    I shall keep your points in mind and try not to lose my temper. Rather it makes a huge amount to sense to talk her out of her temperamental mood.

    • Anitha , welcome to my blog 🙂 talking keeps us in our sense . It is much better and easier than losing our-self to temper 🙂

      Loved your blog .

  3. I can’t tell you how much I love this post! And you are so right. Loved every point you made. My parenting is pretty much on these lines, but yes, there are times I lose my temper. And I also make it a point to apologize to daughter if I have treated unfairly.

    ‘Please don’t tell you are taking the major decisions in your life because of / for the benifit of your child. You are the one entitled to your life. And your child is entitled only to his /her . Please don’t burden them with the weight of your decisions .’ – Absolutely! I cringe when I hear parents going on and on about how their lives have got affected or how they did something ‘just for their children’.

    Loved your post!

  4. i too lose my temper very easily.frm da past few mnths i m trying to control my anger realizing how much hurt dis anger is causing my little boy.at times wen i feel vunerable i yell at da smallest mistake he does.then i remember i m yelling coz i hac some fear. i love every single word of dis post.oflate i hav seen my kid geeting angry on smallest of things n then i realised frm where is he learning.in da process of calming him down i m learning to b peaceful.”happy mothers day to all da mom’s.”

  5. Very brilliantly written….and it made a lot of sense. I sincerely hope that the many parents who need this, get to read this post.

    Those final tips are very apt – a must to follow.

    Its better to make our child understand us by talking with them !!! Yelling and confusing them is not going to work at all.

  6. Fantastic post. Loved and agreed with point you raised here. Yes there are times when I yell and lose it only to feel sorry later.

    You’re absolutely right, every parenting style is different. And yet we come across so many who take it as their business to advice and give opinions on other people’s parenting method.

    Those final points- loved them

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