is yelling at your kids really that bad?

Colette @ awriteheart.comShe brought an audio recording. Although it was her husband who had secretly recorded her while he was away at work, it was she who freely pressed play for me to hear. In the recording she was screaming. Screaming at her three young children. Out-of- control screaming, name calling and cursing. As an anger management counselor I have heard many recordings. None of them shock me but they all affect me. Usually they are brought to me from a partner or an older child. They want me to understand what is happening in their home and hope that if someone can hear what they live through, then maybe they can help. Tears streamed down her face and I held back mine as we listened to the screaming that went on and on. I heard babies in the background, the little ones who somehow provoked her to such rage. They were crying and one was begging her to stop. When the recording ended she looked up at me. She was now the one doing the begging. For help.

I have heard so many excuses as to why a parent screams.
I know I shouldn’t scream but I had a bad day“,
“I wasn’t feeling good“,
I am just so stressed out”,
yelling is in my heritage and it’s in my blood”,
the women in our family are screamers”,
the men in our family have always yelled”,
they just got under my last nerve”,
he pressed my buttons”.
Although parents often feel bad for screaming, the excuses make them feel better… justified… and  lessens the guilt.

The Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Training in this verse doesn’t just mean good behavior, it means bad behavior as well.

[custom_headline type=”center” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h3″]Nine major consequences to children when parents scream in anger: [/custom_headline]

They will scream at others .

You are modeling and training your child how to treat others.

They will  live on a roller coaster of their emotions.

is yelling at your kids really that bad?You are showing them how to respond wrongly to emotions, such as frustration, anger, and annoyance, etc.  The most successful people in the world are people who have high emotional intelligence (ability to use emotions intelligently and to read other peoples emotions).  It is said to even rank higher on the scale than IQ.  People who can control their emotions are stable and wise.

They will become poor problem solvers.

You are training your child to scream and yell instead of problem solve whatever the issue at hand is.  One woman stated that she was screaming at her girls to stop screaming at each other.  She realized that her screaming was not going to fix the problem.

 They will feel insecure and shamed.

By screaming at your child in anger you are planting shame within them.  It takes hold and produces the fruit of insecurity.

 They will be confused about what real love is and learn to push others away.

When children are shown both love and hate by their parent it causes children to be confused and afraid to trust people.  They also learn quickly how to disconnect from others.  It will negatively affect their future marriages, relationships and general well being.

They will be internally, and often externally, angry and rebellious.

child yellingYelling causes defensive walls to go up and deposits seeds of resentment into a childs heart.  Many times children who grow up with a yelling parent will  have deep, underlying hatred for that parent; anger will be returned.  It will negatively affect the parent/child relationship 100% of the time.

 They will learn to sin towards others.

The Bible tells us to be angry and sin not. The anger itself is NOT the sin. Yet, many fail to see that yelling and screaming at another person in anger is sin.

They will be fearful and struggle with the proper view of God.

The parent-child relationship is suppose to be used as a positive picture to show the relationship between Abba Father and the child of God.  Children who are raised with stable, kind, loving, fair disciplinarians rarely struggle with God the Father and His characteristics.

They will feel unsafe.

Yelling parents are not safe and good relationship takes consistent safety.

I heard a man say recently “That boy deserves to be screamed at!” My blood boiled. Oh, is that right Mr. Foolish man? Yes, a child needs to be properly disciplined and trained. Yes, a child needs to be sternly corrected. But a child should never be screamed at in anger. Part of the definition of abuse is: language that condemns or vilifies (shouting, use of foul or abusive language towards another) usually unjustly, intemperately and angrily. So according to the dictionary, yelling in anger at your child is abuse.

A highschool guidance counselor, after hearing me speak on this subject, said that he is guilty of screaming at his own kids in anger. He said “ I don’t have any intention of stopping. My kids better just do what I say or else!”.   Why in the world would anyone ever think that this is good, productive parenting? It’s true that you may get your child to obey out of fear, but you will lose their heart. And when you lose their heart, you lose relationship.  You lose influence.  You lose them.  You lose, period.

Save your yelling for positive parenting – before your child runs into the road or falls into deep water. Use your yelling voice to get your child’s attention and for his safety instead of a way to explode your frustrations, thus giving way to their dysfunction.  I wonder….What if you were being secretly recorded while disciplining your child? Would you allow someone else to yell at your kids the way you do?  What if your authority yelled at you the way that you yell at your kids?

Is yelling at your kids really that bad?  YES.  I have worked closely with angry people and their families for 16 years and my answer again is “yes”.  I have seen many people change when they understand the seriousness of their behavior , when consequences are explained to them and when they realize that screaming is a choice.

Parents, do what it takes to positively train and effectively communicate with your children. The choice is yours!

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be” –Thomas A’Kempis

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7 thoughts on “is yelling at your kids really that bad?

  1. Great article! It is much easier to scream then to be consistent in loving discipline! Children do follow in our footsteps.

  2. Incredible! So that’s what happened to me? My mom always yelled at me and my sister. She was angry a lot. I wanted to grow up and move ASAP so bad that I moved in with an equally abusive boyfriend, not physical but always angry and yelling at me. Thank God, I “woke up” after 4 years of self-destruction. I’m now married to a wonderful man who cherishes me and my 3 year old son. I had to learn true love from him and how a real relationship is supposed to be. It took nearly 5 years for him to “undo” the damage my mom did to me. I’ve caught myself being like my mom towards my son a few times and it scared me and him both (yelling). Seeing the fear in his face broke my heart and I have not since yelled at him. I whisper now or talk really low when he’s upset and ask questions and talk through his tantrums. The result is so much better and no yelling required.

    Even now I still anger easily with my mom (I’m 30 years old) we have not spoken in 6 months since she left my son alone in the house bc she was so angry with me. I’m struggling to call her because we always end up the same, she’s the only one who upsets me this way. It’s exhausting to be around her. Thanks for listening.

    1. Kristin, Thank you for sharing your testimony with us. Its refreshing to hear how your life has been changed through God, your loving husband and your dedication to changing the dyfunction! I prayed for you today! God bless, Colette

  3. Colette, you are so right!

    I hated living with my Dad and as kids some of us would discuss how we wished he would die – no joke. My most heartfelt wish was to grow up and get away! Six moths after HS graduation I was married — thankfully I am still married to this wonderful, precious Christian man who is so calm & gentle and a wonderful Dad to our three children. But I know of other women who had a rough childhood who married abusive men!

    Did you know that screaming and overdoing on physical discipline – abuse – can be passed on to the next generation? I was an overly tough disciplinarian with my own children. I only understood much later what incredible frustrations must have been part of my Dad’s daily life. I’m not suggesting we didn’t need discipline but there’s a big difference between discipline and abuse. As a child I was afraid of him and would go out of my way to avoid being around him b/c he always seemed angry!

    I never did get to know my Dad very well. Even after I accepted God’s gift of salvation it took me quite some time to not fully expect God to show up with a mean expression and an angry voice. Parents – if that’s what you want for your children then go ahead and continue with the screaming and abusive discipline.

    1. Anne, Thanks for sharing! What you’re describing, dysfunciton being passed on, is an interesting and sad thing. Counselors call it recreating. Unfortunately, dyfunction is passed on because it is comfortable (even if its not a good comfortable), its familiar, its training and often becomes instinct….even though it may be hated. In fact, people subconsciously postion themselves to recreate dyfunction. I love the success stories, like yours, where God comes into a life and make all things new! ~Colette

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