I’ll never forget the first time I yelled at my kids. It was more of a raised voice than a yell, but it was the way I felt when it happened. I remember feeling irritated with my kids, for the first time ever. What’s wrong with me? What am I upset about, they’re just being kids.
I was 7 months pregnant with baby number three and my girls were starting to squabble over the same toy. And so out of frustration I yelled at my girls when a calm and steady ” please stop arguing” would have sufficed. In my personal experience I have found a direct link to me yelling at my kids to me being frustrated and angry. And guess what, I still feel frustrated and angry afterwards and my kids just feel scared.
Neither of these emotions should be taking place in my home. Home is a haven. It’s a place of rest, peace and love. So when mummy starts to feel stressed, overwhelmed and just plain irritated by what’s going on inside the home if those feelings go unchecked – yelling will occur. But who is at fault here? The kids or me? Is it their fault that they didn’t clean their room when I asked, is their fault that they’re now hurting each other from petty arguments? No, it’s my fault and here’s why.
When you’ve reached breaking point and there’s no response from your kids it means you’ve waited too long to intervene. I’m the one who didn’t follow up on the kids tidying up their room and let the whole morning go by without reinforcing consequences for disobedience. It’s also my fault that petty squabbles turn into violent brawls because I didn’t step in at the beginning and separate them with consequences.
Now this may all sound a bit extreme, but it happens very quickly. With multiple kids in the house things left unchecked can escalate very quickly and it’s the same with my attitude. My temper can ripen and flare in a moment but it’s all because I didn’t do something about it earlier and I’ve just left it to fester. Fester, fester, fester, rot, rot, rot.
Yelling is a fear tactic. It’s not discipline.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
If this is a very common volume of speech in your home then there’s work to be done. Discipline is to be done from a heart of love to instil love in our children. If we’re yelling in anger and frustration we’ve waited too long and it’s now on us. It’s my responsibility to have self-control, long suffering and patience with my children. But’s it’s also my responsibility to raise up my children in the way they should go.
I’m talking from my own personal experience. I have my moments of exasperation when I just want to be able to to finish a phone call without being summoned by the sound of screaming children, or eat my food without having to get up and go find the stray children who walked out of the kitchen without unloading the dishwasher like I asked . It’s exhausting and constant work being a parent, but it’s absolutely necessary in order to raise our children in love.
People in positions of high esteem don’t need to shout to be heard. Their respect is earned and their voices are heard. That’s how we should be as parents. If our children respect us, they’ll listen. If they don’t we’ll be ignored. So the next time you see your kids ignoring you or fighting or arguing – step in. Rather than letting the frustration become unleashed on your kids through yelling get yourself physically in their space and talk to them firmly and calmly eye-to-eye. No intimidation necessary, just follow through.
Showing this kind of self-control is a priceless lesson to our children. We want to model to our kids that we don’t start yelling when things aren’t going our way. We don’t yell at each other because we love one another. It’s that simple.
Have you struggled with yelling? Let’s take time to apologise to our kids for yelling and show them how we want to communicate from now on.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31
Here is a fantastic post with tips on how to stop yelling from Alison Wood.