We are all guilty of yelling at our kids at some point in time. It’s a visceral reaction to wanting to be heard, especially after you’ve repeated yourself a thousand times.
Didn’t I tell you three times yesterday to pack your lunch?
Why don’t you ever listen to what I ask you to do?
You’re not helping around here! Do your part!
In short, yes, yelling at kids can be harmful. However, there is a time when it is okay to yell at your kids. If you’re trying to keep them from falling into a pool or to protect them from another impending danger, you need to get their attention immediately, so DO YELL! But if you find yourself yelling at your kids constantly to get your point across, this is when it can be harmful. Here’s why:
Reasons Why Yelling at Your Kids Can Be Harmful
#1. Constantly yelling at kids can lead to mental health issues. One study showed that kids who grew up in homes with consistent yelling were more prone to depression, stress, anxiety, and other emotional issues. Blaming and shaming can certainly cause emotional stress on a child.
#2. Your kids will start tuning you out. If you’re always yelling, your child may start to tune you out. In their minds, they’ll likely say, “There she goes again!” and become way too accustomed to your elevated tone. So, when it’s really the appropriate time for you yell (to keep them from danger), they might not take you seriously.
Better Alternatives to Yelling at Your Kids
#1. Instead of blaming your child for not being prepared or completing a task, ask questions: “Where did you last see your notebook?” and “What can we do next time to make sure you’re able to find it?”
#2. Rather than shaming your child for forgetting to tell you something, calmly discuss your expectations: “It’s so nice that Lena invited you to her birthday party. Next time, can you make sure you show me the invitation right after you get it, so I know not to schedule anything else on that day? We might not be able to make it if we have something else planned.”
This approach definitely takes practice, but in the end, you’ll notice a difference in the way your child responds to you. And their happiness and understanding is definitely worth the effort!
How do you handle discipline with younger children? Read Hospitality Health ER’s blogs on Positive Discipline Ages 1 to 5 and The Whining Toddler: 3 Pointers to Gain Your Sanity Back.