Only yell if there is a fire

FIreWhen friends with kids come around they always say how quiet and delightful Miss Dee is. They wonder whether getting their kids to hang around Miss Dee might make them become quieter by osmosis.

I agree with the delightful, but the quiet used to puzzle me. I think she is somewhat chatty and not particularly shy.  It was only when Miss Dee had a bunch of friends over for a birthday party a few years ago, that we realised she is nowhere near as loud as some of her friends.  Perhaps quiet is the wrong word; maybe gentle is better.

She takes after her dad in that sense.  I, on the other hand, do raise my voice sometimes.  This is mostly when I feel Miss Dee is not listening or being particularly difficult about something.  I have worked (and continue to work) very hard to stop myself from shouting.  My father used to shout and, to a younger me, he seemed terrifying in his temper (I love him to bits and he did mellow with age. His bark was always worse than his bite anyway.)

My theory is that unless there is an emergency, there shouldn’t be any shouting.  If Miss Dee is not listening then I wait until she is finished speaking and then point out to her that she is not doing her bit.  I am not doing too badly – I can’t remember the last time I shouted at her.

Surprisingly, many parents don’t see anything wrong with shouting at their kids.  It gets them results and it gets them quickly.

So why not yell?

In my experience is a lose / lose situation for a number of reasons:

If you yell, you’ve lost control 

Losing control of your emotions and reacting angrily takes away from your credibility.  You’ve lost the battle before it even began.  Would you yell at your colleagues to make your point across?  And if you do, they (and possibly you too) will think you only won the argument because you resorted to yelling.  Win your point with reason and clarity instead.

It is a form of violence

Studies done have shown that repeated yelling has a significant negative impact on kids and leads to rebelliousness, vandalism and sometimes worse outcomes.  The impact can be equated to physically hitting children in some cases.

It stops you from listening

I want to be able to develop a strong relationship with her, so she feels she can tell me anything anytime.  My yelling at her results in her shutting down and the trust is eroded.

Her dad and I have striven for a home that is a sanctuary.  This is the place where we come to relax and unwind, where we can be safe and be who we are. Miss Dee included.

To create and maintain such a place, being in a thoughtful frame of mind is key.  Listen first, think before you speak, take two or three deep breaths if you feel the thoughtfulness slipping away.

If anger is contagious, so is peacefulness.  I know which one I’d rather catch and keep.

“It takes hands to build a house, and hearts to build a home.” Anonymous.

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