Why Not to Yell in a Nutshell

12 Compelling Reasons For Not Yelling at Your Child or Teen

Posted Apr 12, 2015

Instead of viewing yelling as a way of controlling your child, you need to see yelling for what it really is—an expression of anger. Yelling is an adult temper tantrum. Sure, sometimes you will get angry at your children. After all, you are alive and you will react to situations. But the key here is to realize that you have a choice in how you react. If you feel frustrated or angry and are in danger of yelling, tell your child, “I’m really mad about that now. I’ll deal with it when I’ve calmed down.” 

Below are examples from some  of my young clients (names are changed) about how they feet about their parents’ yelling at them. 

“I don’t like it when my mom yells at me because it makes me cry.”—Robert, age 7

“When parents yell it puts pressure on the kid and makes them want to scream.”—Emily, age 9

“I don’t like when I get yelled at because it just makes my temper rise and it gets me angry.”—Luke, age 11

“It worsens the whole situation because when parents yell it just puts more stress on everyone. Also, when my parents yell it makes me not want to do what they ask.”—Laura, age 14

Yes, there may be times when you will be required to raise your voice. For example, you may need to yell to stop your child from stepping into the path of an oncoming car. But in most cases, it is counterproductive to yell at your child. Below are some compelling reasons not to yell at your children.

  • Yelling does not effectively alter your child’s behavior.
  • Yelling gets in the way of exploring and solving the issue at hand.
  • Yelling gives kids the wrong kind of attention, and defiant kids will misbehave to get attention, even if the attention is yelling.
  • Defiant children think in concrete terms: “If it’s okay for them to yell at me, it must be okay for me to yell at someone, too.”
  • Yelling often leaves your defiant child feeling resentful toward you.
  • Defiant children are more likely to act out in response to yelling.
  • The more you yell, the less your defiant child will hear you.
  • Yelling sends your child the message that you’re mad at her.
  • Children who are yelled at learn to respond only to yelling. They don’t respond as well to reason, or to calm, rational discussions.
  • Yelling is demeaning. It’s a way of saying, “I have power and you don’t.”
  • Yelling also conveys the message: “You’re not worth talking to calmly. You deserve to be yelled at.”
  • Yelling lowers your child’s trust in you as a safe person to open up to.

Dr Jeffrey Bernstein is a psychologist, personal and executive coach, and motivational coach in the greater Philadelphia area. He has been on the Today Show, Radio, and has written four popular books, including 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child