3 reasons yelling doesn't work

Oct 22, 2019

Before having kids, the idea of reading WHY you shouldn't yell at children was laughable. It's pretty self-explanatory, right? It's mean and no one fantasizes about screaming like a psycho at helpless children when they envision life as a mother.


But then, you actually have kids. And crazy nonsense just seems to fly out of your mouth against your will. Kids are perfectly designed to find our weakest vulnerabilities and repeatedly poke at them with laser focus and accuracy until we crack like tortured POWs. Let the yelling and screaming begin!


So, as much as we wish that just knowing that yelling isn't cool would be enough to keep us from doing it, the reality is that it takes more than that. I have found after many years working with parents (and through my own battle-won wisdom with my 4 kids) that what really motivates us to move away from yelling is the simple fact that, IT DOESN'T WORK!


OK, so yelling is wrong, but here are the 3 top reasons why yelling is also a waste of time:


1) Yelling rewards bad behavior.

Regardless of age, people crave connection and feel connected when they receive energy, intensity, and emotion from others. When we go nutzo on our kids, they are getting all 3 of those things big-time. And even if our reaction scares, angers or saddens them, they are still being weirdly rewarded for whatever behavior elicited that reaction. They are so much more likely to repeat their mistake than if you had responded with complete boredom and disinterest. Crazy, but it's true.


2) Yelling blocks learning.

This gets at Mom-Me discipline principle #3: The deepest and most profound learning comes from experiences. The experience of Mom yelling at us teaches that Mom is a jerk and the source of all crappy feelings. The experience of an unpleasant natural consequence to a poor decision with no distracting drama teaches us to think twice before making that decision again. Our reactions to our kids behavior determine what lessons we are teaching; it's actually MORE important than the consequence they receive!


3) Yelling begets yelling.

Nothing is worse than seeing your worst behavior reflected back to you via a tiny Mini-Me. I can't tell you how many parents come to me complaining that their child is angry, throwing tantrums, hitting, biting, etc. There is no shame in it, and every child goes through it. But we almost always discover that the kiddo isn't the only one dealing with angry feelings. If you think your kid has pushed your buttons and made you yell, just wait until you get the yelling thrown back in your face and you'll really know the meaning of button-pushing! Welcome to the worst hamster wheel of parenthood: the scream-o-whirl!


Have I pushed you past the yelling tipping point? Are you ready really stop yelling at your kids once and for all? It's not easy, but there are things you can learn to keep you 'momming calm'. I'll talk about them more in future posts. But also, know that we all need help to get there, and every family is unique; universal solutions are only the beginning. If you're ready to get started with some customized support, reach out for a free Raising Great Kids Strategy Session and I'll help you 1:1. If you're not there yet, but want to dig into this stuff more, get my free Guide to Getting Kids to Listen (The First Time You Ask). It is a big first step in stepping off the scream-o-whirl ;)