Woman to Women
The Parent Whisperer
5 Ways to avoid the yelling trap
By: Cheryl M. Wenzel-Nelson, M.A.
I grew up in a household with parents who yelled when they were angry. When I became a mother, I yelled at my own kids from time to time. But I didn’t like doing it because I remembered how it felt when my parents yelled at me.
When children are yelled at they may feel humiliated, sad, frightened, or angry. By yelling at them we teach them that they deserve to be yelled at and that yelling is acceptable behavior when you’re angry.
There are many reasons why parents yell at their kids. Maybe they’re having a bad day, or maybe they’re frustrated because they’re going to be late for an event, or they learned it from their parents and don’t know any differently. Whatever the reason, most parents want to stop yelling, they just don’t know how.
Following are 5 ways to avoid yelling at your kids:
1. Give your child the benefit of the doubt. Children are so caught up in what they’re doing sometimes that they don’t think about whether it is right or wrong.
2. Be angry at the situation, not at your child. If your child refuses to dress and is late for school, be angry about the tardiness, not at her for “making you late.” This will make you less likely to lash out at her.
3. Remember where your child is developmentally. Most of the time children are just acting their age, but we take it as defiance.
4. Remind yourself how your child feels when you yell at her.
5. Walk away. If she follows you, keep walking-around the house, into the yard-anywhere, until you calm down.