Is Yelling the New Spanking?

Portrait of young woman shouting with a megaphone against yellowFor those of us who would never hit our kids, we have to ask ourselves: Is yelling becoming the new spanking? The results of one study may surprise (and frustrate) you!

According to Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, for those parents who understand the damaging effects of physically punishing children and avoid it but strike out with time-outs, counting, and similarly ineffective methods, “screaming has become the new spanking.” But to what extent?

Yelling vs. Spanking

The online journal of Child Development has published a study that indicates yelling at children has negative, long-term effects on their well-being similar to those of corporal punishment. Over a two-year period studying spanking and yelling, the effects on children were still similar regardless of whether or not a parent yells out of frustrated support, has a close bond with the child, is otherwise loving and affectionate, and/or only yells from time to time. So, what are well-intentioned, frustrated, parents supposed to do?

How to Avoid Yelling at Kids

Tuned in parent Sumitha Bhandarkar, creator of A Fine Parent, has a helpful series of tips for how to stop yelling at kids even when you’re at your wits’ end. (Like I said, helpful stuff!) Here’s one method Sumitha dropped into our tip jar that’s great for staying calm in the heat of the moment, so you can then find a solution and not add to the problem.

When you are really upset with kids and about to yell, get in the habit of saying “Mommy is really upset now and will stay quiet for 5 minutes until she calms down.” And stay mum for 5 minutes. This will not only help you calm down, but will model self-restraint to kids. Now when my daughter is upset, all I have to say is, “Looks like you are upset, let’s stay quiet for 5 minutes to calm down.” She understands what I mean. Sometimes she wants to be held and sometimes left alone. Either way, it’s a lot easier to resolve the situation, and the number of power struggles in our house have gone down dramatically. -Sumitha Bhandarkar, A Fine Parent

What I love best about this tip — besides how it helps us skip the part where we lose our cool, obsess about the seeds of emotional distress we may have sown in the kids, feel ashamed, then feel frustrated that the kids don’t respond half the time unless we’re screaming at them like Dora at a Chuck E Cheese birthday party — besides all that, I love that Sumitha’s tip points out the importance of us modeling self-restraint.

It’s important . . . that we as parents strive to keep our cool, remembering we — all of us, ultimately, are the only ones in control of our moods. After all, how can our kids keep calm amid chaos if we cannot? ~Tips for Healthy Mood Stability, Tuned In Parents

Thank you for being tuned in parents. A special thanks to tuned in parent Sumitha Bhandarkar for contributing to this article! I welcome your comments, suggestions, tips, and all things parenting! There’s more for you, too, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

About Elle C. Mayberry

Elle C. Mayberry is a mom and author, who just released a new children's book with her young daughter. With a passion for parenting and degrees in psychology and "make it workology," she created Tuned In Parents (TiP).

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