Thursday, September 15, 2011

Yelling WITH Your Children

Over my career, most of my superiors have been fantastic and brilliant people. Nevertheless, I certainly had a few stupid bosses in my very early working years*.

But I’ve never, in any job, been screamed at for 45 minutes because a boss woke up on the wrong side of the bed, had refused to put on pajamas the night before so they are cold, standing in front of me in just their underoos, yelling for a blanket, angry that I got the wrong blanket, angrier that I didn’t put on their blanket right, crying because I’m paying more attention to getting someone else out the door so they don’t miss the bus, screaming that I’m hurting their feelings, and upset that they have to use the bathroom like a normal human. 

It would be unacceptable for a boss to scream at underlings or coworkers with that kind of frequency, amplitude, and chaos.

People love to get upset with moms who yell at their kids. I don’t like to yell at my kids, but I will, especially if they can’t hear me otherwise. Don’t get those self-righteous panties in a bunch, I don’t scream at my kids. What’s the difference? Screaming is angry, abusive, and out of control. Yelling is encouraging, provides direction, and in control. Yelling is how stuff gets done. Just ask any mom who has lost her voice due to laryngitis: nothing gets done.

Do those same people get upset at kids who yell at their mothers? I need to know.

Anyway, there’s plenty of yelling and hollering from my kids. I got a big holler from Proximo today because I wouldn’t skip the commercials on the TV show he was watching. I tried to explain that it was “live” TV, but these spoiled, entitled children don’t understand; they’re still frustrated that the TVs at grandma’s don’t pause--like, at all. Our previous analog limitations defy their tiny comprehensions.   

“WHAT?!?!” screams EG when I ask him to do something awful, like pick up the family room. He follows the screaming with a flop onto the floor and crocodile tears. Dude. Maybe I should get you a dog and let it get run over so you get some perspective. Cleaning the SMALL family room is nothing. You should see the 1000 acres of weeding, baseboard scrubbing, and the Bataan Death March I had to do at your age. I don’t even make you can. We didn’t have a dishwasher. I was the dishwasher. And TV? Not only did our TV not pause, but we didn’t even have a TV. That’s right. Please, stop screaming about picking up 3 socks and your Lego battalion.

Yes, I yell sometimes because I love. And because I want stuff to get done. But you don't get to yell back at me because your blanket is on backwards. That's ridiculous.

*No, none of them read this blog. We’re talking a supervisor at the call-in service center, that sort of thing.


A Few Tacos Shy... said...

I just had a conversation with my mom yesterday about this very topic. She says she didn't yell at my youngest brother and sister and that because of it they don't have an appropriate perspective of reality. They get so upset when they see parents yell at their children and it is just unrealistic expectations. I love my mom.

Delirious said...

I have to admit that I was a yeller. But I never used obscenities, or demeaning names. I just yelled because usually action followed. Also, I have a large house, and really, that's the only way I could communicate without walking all the way upstairs.

TheOneTrueSue said...

First off, yes, I would be really upset if I saw a kid yelling at his mother like that. That is totally unacceptable behavior (and in my house would get you grounded in a second).

As for the yelling... I think if the parents are yellers, the kids are usually yellers too. They've learn that when you are angry and upset about someone's behavior it's ok to yell at people or to yell until you get your way.

I'm not being self-righteous. I've gone through yelling phases and when I did it turned the volume up in our house considerably. I had to knock it off.

I mean, do whatever works for you, obviously, there are a million different good ways to parent, but I don't think it follows that you can't have obedient kids who respect authority if you don't yell at them. I had a friend who would whisper at her kids when they were in trouble, and believe me, when that happened, those kids LISTENED. It's not about volume, it's about authority.

My kids still know who is in charge. Actions have consequences and they know that I am not messing around, I will drop the consequence bomb on them. It doesn't really matter at what volume I deliver that message. I still yell sometimes when I just can't keep it together, but I don't feel o.k. about it.

AzĂșcar said...

Hmm. In the cold light of morning this post makes it seem like I yell a lot. I don't. But I have, and I will.

We're working on appropriate reactions with the bigger kid. His over-size reactions usually come right after school when he has chores to do and he'd rather decompress or play.

The littler one is just in a morning tantrum stage because he is not a morning person. He likes to stay up late, sometimes two hours past their bedtimes, and then he's grumpy and capricious in the mornings. I don't yell back at him and he does get to go to time out for yelling at me, but lawsy, that much screaming in the morning sure is like a screwdriver to the brain.

Baby screaming at night, kids screaming in the morning, and you just take a deep breath and try to calm everybody down without losing it yourself.

I wonder if being an older mom helps me keep a lid on it. I can just imagine myself in my early 20s trying to handle this much emotional outburst and I think I would have been a more terrible mother.

AzĂșcar said...

"More terrible mother"? I don't talk good in the morning.

ali said...


I'm sorry, but this kind of thing really pushes my buttons and I have to contend a little:

I agree with what you are saying, in theory and ideally that is the way one would parent all of the time. Unfortunately, we are not unemotional robots who are able to produce the same calculated and unemotional response to a certain behavior with perfect consistency. I think this is the kind of comment that alienates other mothers-- I think we can all agree on what the perfect parent looks like, and we try to emulate that most of the time, but everyone has their limit and unfortunately sometimes things compound and make it difficult for one to keep calm. I have a hard time with people who can't admit to losing it on occasion. Do I yell at my kids in a controlled way sometimes? Yes. Have I lost it completely and screamed at them sometimes? Yes (and I'm not proud of that, but it nonetheless happened). Life isn't perfect, and I don't always have the emotional reserves to stay in complete control.

I'm not afraid to admit that, I don't give a fig what anyone thinks of me.

JMadd said...

We all lose our cool every once in a while. And then we get ourselves under control and move on. People who yell at their infants in Walmart that they are going to "pound her ass" if she doesn't stop crying... well, that's a different story and not tolerable. And those people, I follow out to the parking lot and get their license plate # so that I can report them to DCFS.

craftyashley said...

Yelling is encouraging, provides direction, and in control.

- And THAT is why we can be friends.

TheOneTrueSue said...

Ali - I did say in my comment that I yell sometimes. Because I am not a robot. So I'm not sure why you're reiterating what I already said.

A few tacos shy's comment said that her mother felt that her kids didn't turn out well because she didn't yell enough, and I don't agree with that and was responding to that comment. Yes, we lose our cool sometimes and yell, sure. But it shouldn't be something that we're all like, oh yeah, yelling at my kids in order to get them to do what I want - definitely the best way to go. Because it's not.

ray-ray says said...

"Yelling is how stuff gets done." Couldn't agree more.

And I just re-read the title and am laughing 'cause it's totally true....the "with" part.

TheOneTrueSue said...

Oh Carina, I FEEL YOU about the tiredness thing. When Emma is tired, forget it, just put a fork in her.

ali said...


You did say that, I must have missed it the first time I read it. My apologies.

La Yen said...

Every other evening:

Me: *silence*
Me: Dear Heavenly...


Heidi said...

True Sue,

I have to admit that I think your panties might be tinged a little with self-righteousness (perhaps it's just self-righteous skids?) because your comment does seem a little judgy to me.
I appreciate that you admit that you occasionally yell, but then you follow it up with what seems to be some more judging.
I don't think that anyone here thinks that "yelling at my kids in order to get them to do what I want (is) definitely the best way to go." I think that people are just trying to be realistic. Carina and Ali, way to keep it real.
I also agree with Taco's mom who thinks that kids who were never yelled at "don't have an appropriate perspective of reality." I think that you can have obedient kids who do respect authority and were never yelled at by their parents, but those kids are more likely to go running back to their mom when they step out into the cold, cruel world unprepared for the fact that real life can be hard and some people not only yell, they scream. Like Taco said, they have unrealistic expectations.

TheOneTrueSue said...

Oh brother. Heidi, I don't really want to play comment war here. I left a comment that stated what I think. Carina isn't a wilting flower, she doesn't need validation from me on her parenting style. She already knows she's a good mom. I think people are allowed to speak to the issue without it being a judgment on her as a parent.

I think Taco's mom is totally wrong, and I think you're wrong. That's o.k., we're adults. We're allowed to disagree without name-calling. Aren't we?

TheOneTrueSue said...

PS: Our kids will encounter all kinds of people in the world. There will be people out there who swear - do we have to swear at them first so that they know how to deal with it? I'm sure they'll manage. Believe me, I'm not a shrinking violet (what is with the flower metaphors) as a mother, they still have their crosses to bear.

the emily said...

At my house the yelling comes from my 5-year-old when I make him urinate IN THE TOILET. Because he much prefers his bed and/or the couch.

Kalli said...

I never yell things like "DON'T COME OUT OF YOUR DAMN ROOM", or "WHAT THE HELL, KID?",ever.

I'm perfect.

You're a terrible mom.

I can't believe you guys yell at your kids? WHAT IS THIS? NAZI GERMANY?

A Few Tacos Shy... said...

(((hugs))) all around! A sense of humor is imperative while raising children (hence the silly conversation with my mom; sorry it was taken so seriously). We all do the best we can and at my house that does include some yelling now and then. I hate doing it and I warn the kids that it's going to happen if they don't behave but sometimes it's the only way they listen :(

annie (the annilygreen one) said...

well, i'm just jealous of everyone whose kids will actually listen to yelling. if i yell at my daugher she just laughs and runs away...probably thinking, "haha! i made mom lose it!" of course, she doesn't listen to any volume level, so i should just save my voice.

Jenny said...

Ha, my six year old had a total breakdown this morning over being cold too. Like it's my fault he slept in his underpants even after I told him he was being stupid and unreasonable.

Slish said...

Loved, loved this post. Thanks for keeping it real! I yell with my kids too. :)