To Yell or Not To Yell

30 posts in 30 days...or as my husband calls it: An Invitation to Mediocrity.

Boy, do I feel myself accepting that invitation.

In an attempt to stave off mediocrity, let's wade into a parenting issue, shall we?

Here's the question: "Is it OK to yell at your kids?" This is a question posed today by a local parenting blog. It quotes some crazy statistic that says that 88% of the parents questioned admitted to yelling at their kids sometime in the past year.

Only 88%? Seems a little low to me.

I don't know a single parent (or a married one, for that matter) who does not yell at their children. And I live near Berkeley, the granola-eating, consciousness-raising, teach-your-kids-to-express-their-feelings, space-for-everyone-at-the-table center of the universe!

Face it, we ALL yell at the kids. Sometimes we regret it, because we should; sometimes we don't regret it, because the situation called for it.

Neither do I know a single parent that doesn't worry about the yelling, because of course we do. We worry that we are doing long term damage to them, that we are creating monsters who will yell at their own children because they learned how from us.

Just today, I heard my oldest yelling at his siblings with the same tone, inflection, and even words that his parents have used when yelling at him.

That's not good, but it is real. People get mad. People yell. Maybe, too, people learn how to be angry, how to let it out, and how to apologize if they've crossed a line.

I've told my kids from an early age that it's OK for them to get and be angry. I'd rather hear them lash out than have them keep it all inside.

Yeah, this could be a big rationalization of my own habit of yelling too much. But rest assured, I also worry too much and I also work really hard every day at not yelling.

Putting parents under a microscope for yelling is dangerous. Telling parents not to yell because they will irrevocably damage their children will set them up for failure and make them feel like terrible parents.

Everyone yells. Are we all terrible?

We're all doing our best, for cryin' out loud.

* * *


Heather said…
First of all...happy birthday :)

and hell yeah I YELL AT MY KIDS!

I have several levels, the highest notch I save for special occasions. My favorite though, is the lowest. Takes tremendous patience (of which I severely lack - deficiency at birth, I swear!) but I whisper what I feel like yelling & every body chills out, including me.
nicole said…
ack, did i miss your i need to get on facebook. ack.

oh, i yell. a lot. too much. my name is nicole and i am a yeller.

Teacher Mommy said…
Heh. Yell? Me? NEVER!!!

(please note that if you heard me say this aloud, it would be glaringly obvious that my voice is DRIPPING with sarcasm.)

I think they'll survive. They better. Or else!!! ;P
Viv said…
Uh oh, um, I don't even worry about yelling at my kids, because I yell when I'm only talking to myself...sometimes I think it is a fervent desire to be heard over the bedlam, not necessarily anger.

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