Is Yelling the New Spanking?

Confessions of a mom who yells. Would it be better to spank?
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Is Yelling the New Spanking?

Confessions of a mom who yells. Would it be better to spank?

-Sarah Maizes,


When I grew up in the ’70s, we got spanked. This wasn’t shocking. Everyone got spanked. In fact, if you didn’t get spanked, it was understood that you were the product of liberal hippies and chances are your mother didn’t wear a bra and your lunch contained natural peanut butter.

Believe me, I didn’t like it. In fact, I hated my parents for it. I was embarrassed, humiliated and emotionally scarred by the experience. So much so that I vowed, like the millions of other parents who grew up in my generation, that I would never strike my own children. And I don’t. Not ever. For any reason.

But BOY, can I yell – and I don’t just mean in bed. I yell at my kids all of the time. I’m not sure if it’s any better than my parent’s more “hands-on” approach, but it’s certainly effective.

Read Should You Ever Spank Your Kids?

I don’t want to yell. In fact, I start each day with the notion that I’m not going to yell … ever again. I’m going to be “easy-going” and “keep my cool” and impress upon my children that their mother is peaceful, serene and just.

But inevitably, after being with my three children through 20 minutes of wrangling, dressing, brushing, serving, feeding, making lunch, bagging snacks, finding library books and locating their backpacks, my patience begins to wear thin. “I am asking you again, could you please pick up your plate and brush your teeth?!” “Why didn’t you tell me I had to fill this out last night!” “You need a diorama of the polar ice cap TODAY?!”

I know what you’re thinking. “This is your fault. If you prepared your children the night before and left a little extra time in the morning for ‘breathing room,’ you and your children wouldn’t feel so stressed out and you wouldn’t need to yell.”

Let me tell you. I’ve tried this. I’ve spent the half hour before bed laying out clothes, making lunches “to order”, placing homework inside of backpacks by the front door – and it does makes things easier. But it does not solve the problem. “The problem” being the three children who decide they want something for lunch other than what I packed the night before, or that they’re hot and need to wear a different shirt, or that they want their hair in braids, or a different lunch box, another muffin, the “good” syrup, more milk, less milk, no milk, or maybe even a pony – all before they go to school.

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5 thoughts on “Is Yelling the New Spanking?

  1. My parents spanked me and all my sisters. Spanking meaning a paddling on the rear end *only. I disliked getting spanked but I knew why I was getting spanked and my parents always ended it with a hug. I never ever hated my parents for it. I plan on spanking my children because it teaches them that there are consequences. When we hit our preteen years there were groundings and other such consequences put into place. The problem with spanking is when it is used on a child in any random place they can hit and it is done in front of everyone. Punishing a child should be a time to teach that child why they are in trouble and for what. I always disliked being yelled at more than being spanked. It is humiliating, and now as an adult I will not tolerate being yelled at. So, spanking such as any other thing in life is done if practiced correctly.

  2. I would much prefer to spank, than to yell. If your parents did it right, then you wouldn’t have been emotionally scarred from it. I was spanked, and both of my sisters were spanked. It did me and my sisters, nothing but good. But, the two times in my life that someone I looked up to, and respected, yelled at me- those times I remember as humiliating, embarressing, and emotionally scarring. As a child, I hated those people for it.
    If you were spanked and carried ill-will for it, then you weren’t spanked, you were abused. There is a difference.

  3. I also yell even scream sometimes. I feel terribly guilty. And often feel like iam a bad parent. I too was spanked and vowed not to hit or spank. When my parent finally spanked it was because she had lost total control. She also was a yeller. I try very hard not to yell but it happens anyway.

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