Listen up: Yelling does NOT make you a bad parent! Here are 6 lies to STOP believing right now (and how to break free from them).
“I will NEVER become one of those yelling moms.”
I specifically remember making this promise to myself as I lovingly held my brand-new baby as a new mom.
Fast forward 11 years and 4 kids…and here I am, a mom who yells. Sometimes a lot.
With a full house, things get loud and we have days where the hustle and bustle of it all adds up. And sometimes, my tricks just don’t work. I whisper, I dance (not a pretty sight), I use humor, I redirect, I get down and make eye contact…and the list goes on.
But sometimes, nothing works. And the only thing I can do to get anyone to listen is to simply get louder than everything else that’s going on. In short, I yell.
I’m sure you can relate.
THE TRUTH ABOUT YELLING
Over the years, there has been a rise in a “gentler” approach to parenting. And while I’m a huge proponent of positive and intentional parenting, its growing popularity has lead to one major drawback:
The internet is filled with well-intentioned articles explaining the importance of remaining calm at all times. And unfortunately, this has generated a wide-spread misconception that good parents don’t yell.
Well, last I checked, parents are human. And because anger is a natural, human emotion, we all experience it. And even good parents give in to it occasionally.
Now, of course, it’s a worthy goal to work on yelling less. Who wouldn’t want a more peaceful home?
But anyone who tries to NEVER yell again is setting themselves up for disappointment. And they’ll end up feeling like a bad parent far more often than they should.
So to help relieve some of the pressure I’m sure you’ve carried around at some point, we’re going to debunk 6 myths about yelling. Here are the most common lies about yelling every parent needs to know about.
6 LIES ABOUT YELLING
I’m sure we can all agree that yelling isn’t ideal – but it doesn’t make you a bad parent. That’s a lie we can let go of right away.
Need a little more convincing? Here are 6 more lies we need to let go of. Learning about them helps us let go of the guilt we carry so we can focus our energy on building better habits instead of tearing ourselves down.
Which ones do you believe?
LIE #1: I AM DAMAGING MY CHILDREN.
REALITY: Every relationship has its ups and downs. The trick is to keep things balanced.
Every parent has felt the sting of guilt after yelling at a child. And many of us have probably read frightening articles about the damaging effects yelling can have on kids.
But here’s the thing: yelling isn’t as damaging as you might think. That is, of course, if you understand the importance of connection.
In an interesting study on relationships, an important discovery was made: There is a “magic ratio” of positive and negative interactions that makes a relationship strong. That ratio is 5:1.
This means that for every 1 negative reaction (“If I catch you with your muddy shoes on in the house ONE more time…”), there are at least 5 positive reactions.
This can be anything from a quick hug to 5-10 minutes of distraction-free conversation.
These positive interactions will keep your relationship strong and balanced so that even when you do yell, your kids will know where they stand with you.
SOLUTION: The next time you yell, pay attention to how many positive interactions you’ve had with that child. If needed, take some time to squeeze in some one-on-one time and continue to look for everyday moments to connect with them.
LIE #2: I’M THE ONLY PARENT I KNOW WHO YELLS AT THEIR KIDS.
REALITY: Anger is a human emotion, and every parent gets angry. You don’t always see when other parents get mad.
It’s easy to look at parents who lose their temper in public and think, “I would never do that.” (Of course, if you’ve ever taken a child out in public, chances are, you’ve had your patience tested at some point too…)
But when it comes to the parents that always seem to have it together…truth be told, you don’t always know what goes on when they’re at home.
When it really comes down to it, there’s one truth we can always be sure of: Every child will test every parent every day. Period.
Some days we handle it better than others. And we might usually have more good days than bad, but we all have bad days at some point.
That doesn’t mean you have bad kids, and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent.
It just means that children are continually growing and learning their world. They’re testing boundaries and discovering their independence and personalities.
So rather than beating ourselves up when things go wrong, we can instead focus our energy on learning more about our own anger. Then we’ll be better equipped to sweat the small stuff.
SOLUTION: Don’t set unrealistic standards. Instead, take time to learn about your anger, your triggers, and behavior patterns you want to address in your children. Knowing these things will help you as you work toward yelling less.
LIE #3: I’M A TERRIBLE PARENT BECAUSE I YELL.
REALITY: Good parents yell too. Often it’s because they are working so hard to be good parents and keep it all together.
With all that parents do, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. They work hard to take care of their families, teach their children, and manage their lives and homes.
They have expectations for themselves as individuals and as parents, and they have expectations for their children and how they should be. And sadly, they spend a lot of time feeling like they aren’t doing enough for what they think their family deserves.
In short, they wear themselves down trying to be enough.
But here’s the funny thing about anger: Often our anger is the result of our EXPECTATIONS, rather than the actual events themselves.
So, the first step in overcoming this lie is to be more realistic in our expectations for ourselves and our children. That doesn’t necessarily mean lowering your standards. It just means finding more practical ways of getting there (and learning what to let go of).
The second step is to take better care of ourselves. It’s much easier to manage everything when our cups are full.
LIE #4: GOOD PARENTS STOP YELLING AND NEVER YELL AGAIN.
REALITY: Yelling is tied to emotion. The trick is to learn how to manage, not suppress, the emotions that trigger yelling.
All parents experience emotion. It’s part of being human.
And when we feel good, fulfilled and supported, we can go a long time without yelling.
But what about the times when life gets hard? Busy schedules, new routines, changes in child development or changing circumstances at home can make life messy. And during these times, it’s a lot harder to stay calm.
Truth be told, it’s impossible to go a lifetime without yelling. Despite our best efforts, we will always have times in which we’re challenged.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t yell less, right?
Rather than focusing on what NOT to do, we can instead, learn more about what we CAN do to ensure we have more good days than bad. We can take steps to simplify our lives. We can fill our toolbelt with parenting strategies that work with our personalities. And we can work on our emotional health.
SOLUTION: Don’t try to “never” yell again. Instead, aim to yell less. Progress is always better than perfection.
LIE #5: I CAN WILL MYSELF TO STOP YELLING.
REALITY: There is a lot that goes into yelling. If you truly want to yell less, you need to learn more about what’s actually going on.
It’s easy to believe that anger is the only culprit behind our yelling. It’s the most obvious emotion after all.
But anger is much more complex than many of us think. In fact, anger is a secondary emotion. Always.
Anger is the result of a series of emotions and beliefs that happen beneath the surface. Some of these are tied to current circumstances and how we are currently feeling.
And others are much more deep-rooted.
If you truly want to have control over your anger, it’s vital to learn more about these hidden emotions and beliefs. When you do, you will be surprised at how much easier it is to manage difficult situations when they arise.
SOLUTION: Work on your hidden beliefs, discover your triggers, and put measures in place to help manage difficult situations. (Need help with this? Head here to learn all about The Peaceful Parent Solution.)
LIE #6: IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO BREAK THE YELLING HABIT.
REALITY: It IS possible. It may not be possible to NEVER yell again, but with practice, it is totally doable to yell less.
Yelling can make us feel like a bad parent. It can leave us feeling hopeless, and that’s a lonely place to be.
But I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. So many parents just like you want a calm, peaceful home. They want strong, healthy relationships with their children. And they want to actually like being parents.
But parenting is hard. And it challenges us in ways we never imagined, which is why getting help is so essential.
We have to find strategies for managing our anger, we have to find systems for simplifying our lives, we have to find parenting tricks that work, and we have to find support systems that can carry us through.
Breaking the yelling habit is hard. And you’re not a bad parent if you struggle with it.
The key is to start small. Find something you can master, and let that small win motivate you to keep going until you get to a place where you feel in complete control.
Then, if you do yell, it won’t be the worst thing in the world. Because you’ll have a strong foundation to work with.
SOLUTION: Find strategies, tips, and tricks that work so you can pull yourself out of the yelling cycle if you fall back in. (The Peaceful Parent Solution Starter Guide is a great place to start. Get it free here.)
ONE FINAL TRUTH ABOUT YELLING ALL PARENTS NEED TO KNOW
I hope that debunking these yelling myths helps you realize you’re a better parent than you think. But this knowledge would be incomplete without one final truth. It’s not an easy one to hear:
When it comes to yelling, we are usually the source of the problem. Not our children.
This final truth is what keeps yelling from becoming a problem – the kind of yelling that tears our children down and destroys trust.
When we yell to prevent a dangerous situation, or even when we yell because we’re angry, that’s very different than when we get carried away and give in to rage. If we find ourselves starting to blame, belittle, criticize or anything along those lines…stop. Take a time-out until you can calm down.
Here are 3 phrases you can use to keep yourself in check:
- What is the feeling behind my words?
- Is there a clear cause-and-effect as to why I am so upset?
- I’m not mad at…, I’m actually frustrated by…
It’s important to understand this final yelling truth – not to make you feel like a bad parent, but help you understand that anger is within your control. It’s empowering.
YELLING DOES NOT MAKE YOU A BAD PARENT
It’s not easy to admit you struggle with yelling. I know, I’ve been there.
But I also know that it’s possible to have more good days than bad. And it’s possible to raise happy, responsible, hard-working children without yelling being your go-to parenting tool.
I also know that it’s possible to have healthy relationships with our children so that if we do yell, we can apologize and reconnect. And they will still be able to trust us.
It’s not always easy, and it’s not always perfect, but it is possible to yell less. And that starts with knowledge. Debunking these misconceptions is a great place to start.
And if you’re ready to take it further, be sure to grab The Peaceful Parent Starter Guide so you can learn the first 3 steps to breaking out of the yelling cycle for good.
Which of these lies has been the hardest for you? Let me know in the comments!
OTHER HELPFUL POSTS:
- Do This Not That! 10 Powerful Alternatives To Yelling
- The Surprising Reasons You Yell At Your Kids And How To Stop
- 5 Simple Ways To Discipline Without Yelling
- How To Recover After Yelling In 5 Simple Steps
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