“Stop it!” I screamed. “How many times do I have to tell you?! I’ve said three times to stop bothering your sister!” My son started crying as I continued, “I am sick and tired of you ignoring me when I’m telling you to do something! All you care about is what you are doing! You don’t think about anyone, except yourself! It makes me so frustrated!” That’s when he sobbed loudly. Nothing makes me feel worse as a parent than yelling at kids. As remorse set in, it became difficult to listen to his crying so I sent him to his room. And the award for best father goes to? Not me.
It took too long, but I finally went into his room and apologized for raising my voice and for some of the things I said. He turned to me in a moment of total clarity with a single tear rolling down his cheek and said, “When you yell at me it feels like you don’t love me anymore.” It was eye opening and bitterly convicting. Here are 5 things your kids wished you knew about your yelling.
1. It makes them feel unloved.
When we yell our kids feel like they have lost our love.This was the hardest for me to stomach. When we yell our kids feel like they have lost our love. Kids feeling and knowing they are loved is important to their development. If and when you lose control, be sure to follow it up with lots of loving affection and words of affirmation.
2. It makes them feel stupid.
They are trying to learn, but it’s difficult for them to understand and when we yell it makes them feel foolish. They don’t have the reasoning ability to know how their actions affect others. That takes a long time to learn. When we are inconsistent as parents, it makes it that much harder. During the toddler years, in particular, you are their conscience. In the years between toddler and ten, they have more of an understanding but still need reinforcement. If they have been abused, physically or emotionally, their growth in this area will be stunted.
3. It shuts them down.
Every time they disobey or step out of line is an opportunity to calmly reinforce what is right. You get to build their conscience more. However, when they are yelled at it shuts them down. It’s harder for them to listen and process what they did wrong. They are too busy being scared, which brings me to the next point.
4. It’s scary.
Think about your size compared to theirs. For them, it’s like looking up at an angry giant with the power to inflict a lot of damage. The louder and more animated you get, the more threatening.
5. They don’t mean to make you upset.
It’s difficult for their brains to think about anything more than the moment they’re in and how it feels. They would rather not make you upset, they are just caught up in their own world. It’s our job to nurture them to think about the world in which they are not the center. Come to think of it, I still need growth in that area.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How does it make you feel when people yell at you?”