Have you had that moment yet? The moment as a new parent when you realize you are treating your child exactly as your parents treated you, despite your eternal vows to yourself to never turn into them? Every new mom has it, and it’s really nothing to be ashamed of. Though you might disagree with the disciplinary methods your parents used on you, it’s all you know. By treating you a certain way, they were also teaching you how to parent. There’s always room for change, but some parental habits are impossible to kick, especially those associated with discipline. While studies show that every cultural group differs in the way they treat their misbehaving children, one common thread between many of them is yelling. Yelling is hard not to do when you’re trying to teach your child right from wrong, but in your calm state you might be wondering whether or not it’s actually rational or educational. Experts agree that it can be when used in moderation.

As with any other type of interaction, it’s easy for toddlers to become desensitized to yelling. If you yell at your child every single time he does something wrong, eventually it will simply become background noise. At first he’ll realize that it’s negative, but eventually his fear of it will fade. For that reason, you should choose when you yell wisely. It shouldn’t be your first reaction. Instead, it should be a last resort. For example, if your child is about to run out into the road, yelling is essential. It will scare him and make him stop in his tracks as long as you haven’t overdone it in the past. Or, if your usual parenting methods aren’t working, yelling can drive the point home. However, as a first line of defense, you should try reasoning with your child and explaining to him why his behavior is bad. Once you make it clear that you are the authority figure, your child will listen to you no matter how loud your voice is. The best parents are the ones that can firmly control their child with a soft whisper. 

Don’t be a serial yeller. Teach your child right from wrong by being a powerful leader and role model, and only yell if the situation calls for it. Scaring your child shouldn’t be the goal, but you’ll need to make it clear you are boss.

Source: Jennifer E Lansford et al: Parental Reasoning, Denying Privileges, Yelling and Spanking: Ethnic Differences and Associations with Child Externalizing Behavior. Parenting: Science and Practice Volume 12 Issue 1 pp. 42-56 2012

Keyword Tags: