All parents I’ve met in my life yell (or used to yell) at their kids, including myself. It seems that yelling is inescapable for parents. A few seconds later, we hate ourselves; we feel ashamed and guilty; we realize that we chip away our children’s sense of self-worth and safety around us and, despite this realization, we do it again, and again, and again, for days, weeks, months and even years. WHY?
At the surface level, parents yell because (*I quote what parents tell me):
- I am tired of saying the same thing a hundred times.
- He doesn’t clean up/ do homework/ etc unless I yell.
- It’s as if I speak and nobody’s home (spaced out). I have to yell.
- She’s old enough to know better, so I yell.
- I am tired of doing everything for them. They need to help out, but they don’t unless I yell.
- I also work full-time. I am exhausted.
- I take care of everyone around me. Nobody takes care of me. I have no energy left to be playful and to connect.
At a deeper level, and more honest, we yell because:
- we are indeed mentally exhausted and yelling feels like an acceptable quick fix in the moment;
- we lack skills for self-regulation in the heat of the moment;
- we lack understanding of how emotions + the brain work in children;
- we lack tools for connection as a way of living and being, on a daily basis, not just in a crisis ( tantrums, for example) ;
- we feel powerless in the face of the situation;
- we feel overwhelmed by the situation;
- we expect the child to change first.
In all fairness, parenting is hard. Very hard. Modern Western society has stripped parents away from reliable support systems, like extended family and close-knit communities; paid maternity leave for 1-2 years after the child is born; free quality daycare programs; and free quality mental health care programs.
What do I do now? Do I keep waiting and hope for the best, or do I take action as the LEADER of my family?
My ABC Formula for conscious parenting helped many parents, and it can help you to stop yelling. In case you’re wondering: A= self- Awareness; B= Being Present; C= Connection.