You come back home tired and frustrated from work, and the house is a mess, with your kids glued to the television. Or you have been asking them to pick the towel off the bed 20 times, already, and it’s still there. Or you have a houseful of guests, and your child who’s otherwise quite well-behaved, goes on a tantrum-throwing spree. Quite common scenarios, with common enough response – you end up yelling at the kids! And then you end up feeling guilty about yelling, and cursing yourself for being the worst parent ever!!
But does yelling really make you a bad parent? There are times when you end up doing it unconsciously, and there are times when you realise you could have done without it. But is it fair to weigh yourself down with the guilt of damaging their psyche on a permanent basis? After all, there are enough and more articles and opinions that talk about how detrimental it is to yell at our kids, and that there is no bigger villain than a parent who shouts!
While I am in no way encouraging or justifying yelling, I want us to take a more realistic look at it, and the implications of yelling for the parent and for the child. And here are my few bits:
Yelling doesn’t Mean You Are a Bad Parent
If you were a bad parent, you won’t try. You won’t feel guilty.It won’t matter to you if your children don’t grow up to be responsible and well-behaved. When you are trying so hard at being good, you do get exhausted. And we all lose it sometime when we are exhausted, or tired, or frustrated. It’s OK. We all make mistakes. And then we take steps to amend those mistakes. In other words, you keep trying, because you are a good parent.
But the long-term impact on the child’s psyche?
The researches around relationships say that to keep things healthy, there have to be more positive interactions than negative ones. So long as the child knows that she is loved, and cared for with ample expressions of positive influence, one solitary episode of yelling is not going to be life-altering. And neither is it going to push you away from your child. If you do lose your cool, be sure to sit and talk patiently to the child, to help her understand your emotions. If anything, it is going to make them cope better with negative emotions in others when they grow up.
You think You’re the Only One?
The peer pressure is the biggest villain in our lives. We all see the life that others are living through a limited window of social media, or the brief interactions on social occasions, and it all looks literally picture-perfect. Nobody else you know shouts at their children. At least, they are not putting up the videos of them yelling at their kids on their FB accounts. But you know what, try talking about it. You’ll be amazed at the number of people coming back to you sharing their own yelling stories, and feeling guilty about it.
The Point is to Try to Yell Less
I don’t think I can stop yelling completely, but I know I can try and reduce it. Identifying the circumstances that get me out of control, and working on avoiding those will help. I can make sure that I spend more time with my child, showing him that I care. And I need to tell him that I love him and explain why I yelled. Like I said, a good parent tries. And I am going to try!