Yell If You Want To

by Sarah Chana Radcliffe, M.Ed., C.Psych.

Free Will

One of the really wonderful things about being human is our ability to choose freely. It’s up to us. Of course, God gives us some very strong direction, advice and instructions; but He still leaves it up to us to choose our course of action. Therefore, when it comes to parenting, we can all do exactly as we please.

Alone in our Home

Alone with our children, no one can stop us from saying or doing whatever we want to. Thus, if a child isn’t “listening” and we’re getting frustrated, we can yell at her if we so desire. We can yell at her whenever we want to, as many times a day, week, month and year as we choose to.

Short and Long Term Consequences

The short term consequences for children who are yelled at too frequently and/or too intensely may include any of the following:

  • Behavioural problems such as aggression or lack of cooperation
  • Academic problems
  • Nervous habits
  • Moodiness
  • Health issues (including headaches and stomach aches)

The long term consequences for children who are yelled at too frequently and/or too intensely may include any of the following:

  • Low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Personality disorders and other psychiatric issues
  • Addictions
  • Health issues
  • Impaired relationship with parents
  • Tendency to choose abusive friends and mates
  • Troubled marriages due to lack of anger management skills
  • Troubled parenting due to lack of anger management skills
  • Troubled work relationships
  • In some cases, criminal behaviour

Safe Havens

In homes in which parents choose to handle their feelings of frustration, fear, disappointment, rage, resentment and upset respectfully, the entire family enjoys a safe haven, an oasis in an otherwise stressful world. When parents maintain their dignity and respect the dignity of their children during moments of correction, boundary setting and discipline, their children’s brains become wired for self-control, restraint and sensitivity. In other words, when parents move through the parenting day quietly, respectfully and kindly no matter what they are feeling inside and no matter what their children are doing outside, they provide a powerful model for their children to emulate. Moreover, when they teach their children the skills involved in such self-management, they send an enduring message: family life is about respect: we do not give or receive verbal abuse no matter how frustrated, irritated, provoked or otherwise upset, we may be. The results for children reared in this manner generally include the following:

  • High regard for self and others
  • Life-long positive relationship with parents
  • Ability to achieve academic, social, mental, emotional and physical potentials
  • Reduced levels of stress; higher levels of well-being
  • A life filled with love: successful marriage and parenting experiences
  • High level of emotional intelligence leading to success in every endeavour

Yell If You Want To

If you’re tired, stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated with your spouse, annoyed at your relatives or otherwise challenged, you may feel like yelling at times. Or, if you are feeling helpless and out of control with the kids, unable to get them to do what you want, you may feel like yelling. Yelling “works” – it changes what a child is doing right now. But it comes with a price. The consequences of yelling are real. In the most minor case, where yelling occurs only rarely, it teaches the child about idol worship: “when I want something and you are not providing it, then I no longer have to show you basic respect and I no longer have to behave appropriately; when I want something and you are not providing it, then I no longer have to care about your feelings – I can just scream in your face.” However, frequent and/or intense yelling does more than teach this one lesson of self-worship – it damages personality.

Nonetheless, if you want to yell, go ahead. Yell if you want to.