Google+ Authentic Parenting: Respond With Sensitivity - Why Yelling Is Wrong And How You Can Avoid It

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Respond With Sensitivity - Why Yelling Is Wrong And How You Can Avoid It

Intuitively, most of us know that yelling is wrong. It just doesn't feel right. In most cases, when a parent results to yelling, it's because he is tired or has used up other resources. It is not because you are in control.
When you have to raise your voice to communicate with your child, to get your message through, you are proving to them that you have run out of resources, that you can only get out of the current situation by dominating your child. When we raise our voices it can quickly become about who can scream the loudest or the longest, or worse- the most hurtful words. If it comes to a screaming contest, be sure that in most cases, your child will outdo you.
Yelling is never a solution to a problem. It might shut your child up immediately, but that would only be out of fright. So ask yourself if you want to be parenting your child through love or through fear.

Any type of punitive measure, like yelling, spanking, time-out... rises out of the parent's incapability of dealing with the situation in a loving manner, and is most often a result of false expectations or a reaction to a parent's judgement of the situation. In Non-Violent Communication, you see how to communicate in a way that does not involve judgement.

While in theory we might know that yelling is not the way to parent a child, it can be difficult to find an alternative when we are strung out and can't cope. In order to avoid yelling at your child, a good starter point might be to find out what triggers the need for yelling in the first pace. If you analyze your behavior, you will soon find out that similar situations lead to this behavior, and you will be able to predict and anticipate the yelling. Remember, yelling does not make the trigger go away. In fact, most often it will worsen the case.
My trigger is when my daughter's volume goes up, i.e. when she's angry, and I am trying to do something that requires a certain amount of concentration. What's yours?

Here's a list of things to do to make your house a yell-free zone:

  • Determine your triggers and anticipate the behavior that sets them off.
  • Use alternative loving behavior to ease out: holding, cuddling, kisses, soft tallking.
  • Look at your child. Look him in the eyes, you might be less compelled to yell.
  • Try to avoid stress and be wll rested (agreed, this might be the hardest part and often out of your control)
  • If you feel any attempts might be futile, leave the room and vocalise if necessary.

To scrap yelling from your behavioral patterns might be trialing. It takes a lot of introspection. Sometimes, you might be bullied into yelling. Yelling is a socially accepted parenting tool, and other might make you feel you have to yell at your child when he is doing something that they deem misbehavior or naughty. Don't fold to the peer pressure. It is your child, don't let anyone bully you into parenting in a way that  is counterintuitive.

An additional note I would like to add to this, is that the no-yelling rule also applies between partners. We sometimes forget that we owe our partners the same respect we try to approach our children with. More over, the way you and your partner treat eachother is the relationship model your child will carry with him for the rest of his life.

This post is part of the 2010 API Principles of Parenting blog carnival, a series of monthly parenting blog carnivals, hosted by API Speaks. Learn more about attachment parenting by visiting the API website.

Read on:
22 Alternatives to Punishment

Photo courtesy of CGAphotos on Flickr



  1. Good tips for avoiding yelling, which is my weakness.

  2. Good article! I especially like how you ask parents to look into their own triggers. Very powerful to use these situations to continue our own maturation.
    Check out
    for a related article.

  3. Nicely done. I really appreciated reading this.

  4. You are so right on - the only time I yell is when I've run out of ways to parent gently. Wonderful reminder & tips!

  5. My trigger is when I'm overwhelmed about OTHER stuff; I will then yell when my child(ren) give me even one more upsetting/challenging thing to deal with.

    One more tip which might seem counterintuitive: commit to stop yelling, but if/when you fail, immediately forgive yourself. Apologize to your children or partner, fully (and don't explain WHY you yelled unless they ask). Recommit to not yelling, to exploring. But try your best not to fall prey to guilt and shame, which will usually only sabotage your efforts.

  6. I think yelling is my biggest fault - it's so yucky and I am glad to read your tips on parenting without it. I think I might post affirmations up around the house on the positive reminders to help me out! Thanks


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