Screaming is the New Spanking

Posted on Nov 5, 2020 by 14 Comments

If Momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy…so the saying goes from my childhood. It was true then and it’s true today. When you’re stressed out, tired, hungry, frustrated, your patience is at a minimum and when your child does something, anything that gets the best of you, what do you do?

Well, if you’re like most parents out there today, you scream. That’s according to a New York Times article just out.

Screaming has become the new spanking. Instead of resorting to hitting our children, parents today yell. And they yell a lot. It’s more socially acceptable than spanking your kid, at least in public. And even though Dr. Spock says that shouting was “inevitable from time to time,” it leads to parental guilt. Who needs more of that?

You can blame yelling on all sorts of factors today like multitasking, lack of time, squeezing in quality time, well, a whole host of things that are daily occurrances for most families.

One way to look at it is like this - if you got yelled at at work, it would be very disturbing. So why is it okay to yell at our kids? I don’t know. I just know it happens.

As a child of a yeller (who isn’t, right?) it can be scary to be yelled at but I’ll tell you, it’s REALLY effective, though I’ve read that mental health professionals say that’s it is ineffective. It’s not - if it didn’t work, why would so many parents continue to do it?

These professionals also warn that it can be damaging to a child’s sense of well being and self-esteem. I’ll attest to that. It does take its toll in a big way. I mean, I still flinch at the thought of making my yelling parent angry. And I’m 38.

The thing is, parenting is hard. It’s quite possibly the hardest thing one will do. Parenting is non-stop and you don’t get to take a break when you are at your wits end. You are still a parent. If your child decides to act up when you are down and out, well, then, sometimes you lose it. Will yelling ultimately affect our children? Yes. Then again, everything we do will affect them in some way.

My advice - start saving for their therapy fund now.

photo credit: joshuahoffmanphoto

Posted in: Parenting
Kate

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  • http://none Richard Wiliam Narlian

    Screaming really does not affect the wrong-doer,as much as it is a basic primal expression from the outraged party.
    Logic would say that a cool,leavel headed converstion,explaining the negative ramifications of the initial action,failure,…..would be more effective,

  • Beth

    What your article leaves out is the frequency of these yelling and/or screaming sessions as a baseline for what you are discussing . Coming from an emotionally and verbally abusive home where the mother’s screaming sessions were often (every other day at minimum), and lasted between two and four hours each time, I can tell you with factual certainty that a parent’s yelling and screaming has a lifelong negative impact affecting the child’s self-esteem, sense of well being, how they treat others, patience for others and many other basic attributes of the child and interactions s/he has in life. This is not an article subject to be taken lightly and with so little information provided to its readers to reference how to control the yelling and screaming impulse. Adults who frequently yell and scream are, in essence, displaying childlike behavior that they know will not be “checked” by another person because they are, in fact, considered an adult by their physical age and, therefore, cannot be made to physically stop doing so by another person. As it is not okay for a child, boss, co-worker, vendor, etc. to yell and scream at another person in each of those managed circumstances (as the example titles in this sentence suggest) it is also not okay for an adult to then decide that since their home life is not kept in check by the social norms and mores as public and work spaces that they are free to yell or scream at others. The one place that humans retreat to at the end of the day is to be a place of rest and rejuvenation; a safe place in which to survey the day they have had, learn from it and then rest for the next day to come. If a child cannot count on that space to be a safe haven where one’s emotional being is just as important as their physical well being then the safe haven of “home” will become a jail cell or torture chamber. I want to comment specifically on certain sentences you wrote in your article. My comment s are below each quoted item:
    “You can blame yelling on all sorts of factors today like multitasking, lack of time, squeezing in quality time, well, a whole host of things that are daily occurrances for most families.”
    - The blame of yelling and screaming goes to the one whom yells or screams. I can no more physically make your vocal chords scream than the next person. Neither can the child, spouse, etc, etc, etc….blame for this always falls on the person who is actually doing the yelling and screaming.
    “One way to look at it is like this – if you got yelled at at work, it would be very disturbing. So why is it okay to yell at our kids? I don’t know. I just know it happens.”
    - Why is it okay, you ask in this article?….it is not okay. It never will be no matter what article suggests that it is or what folks on the street say. It never will be okay.
    “As a child of a yeller (who isn’t, right?) it can be scary to be yelled at but I’ll tell you, it’s REALLY effective, though I’ve read that mental health professionals say that’s it is ineffective. It’s not – if it didn’t work, why would so many parents continue to do it?”
    - Here you do not define what “REALLY effective” means…..if you define it as mentally scarring a child into being scared of the parent then, yes, it is “REALLY effective”…..Constant yelling and screaming from my parent just made me realize over and over again that they had no sense of self-control, very little (if any) respect for others, no respect for themselves, showed me they were willing to act like a five year old that didn’t get their candy for the day, etc, etc. Their yelling and screaming meant that I learned not to do those things. I’m just as stubborn as the next person with my own issues that I have spent my entire life working on and screaming is no longer one of them. One can learn not to yell and scream. I have done it and it is because I learned that once I began to yell and scream that everyone stopped paying attention and immediately reasoned that I was just a village idiot that could not be trusted. I don’t think losing respect and being disrespected by a child is what a parent is going for when yelling and screaming, but it will be what happens….for life, if the parent keeps up the abusive behavior.
    - By the way, who are you to say that the troves of mental health professionals whom have collectively spent years studying this subject are wrong? Your comment just completely baffles me. Your opinion that they are wrong is written like fact. You are the one that is wrong. You need to check yourself on writing this type of opinion article.
    “My advice – start saving for their therapy fund now.”
    - I think this is a careless comment to make on such a serious topic. Families can save the lifelong emotional toll (and cost, human and monetary-wise) now by controlling their behavior. It makes much more sense to start now than to ignore the issue. This comment is a “giving up” kind of comment…..and folks that are in their right mind have control over themselves. Start now because later you may lose your children altogether, as they will not want to put up with an abusive parent.

  • RG

    The comparison of this article is apples and oranges. It totally assumed before anything else that parents who do choose to spank their children are out of control or abusive when doing so, and that their reason to discipline in that way is anger. Not fair, not fact, not even close.

  • Kate

    @Kevin, thanks for chiming in. If you feel like sharing, I was wondering in what circumstance would it be OK to discipline your child by spanking. I know, in my family, there are mixed opinions.

  • http://villy-k.blogspot.com/ Villy K

    I am so against spanking your child! Screaming on another hand isn`t helpful either! I do scream at my boyfriend and guess what he is 30 and it doesn`t help!!!! NO!!!! So I would say you really really have to take your time and talk to your kid on his language an explain why and why not! Just be patient!!!!

  • jules

    Screaming does not invite listening.

  • Cate

    This is a poorly researched and written article. I’m surprised it ever made it to print (or online).
    Sometimes, and when I say sometimes I mean RARELY should a parent have to yell at a child. If they have properly raised their child it should be a RARE occassion.
    Our PTA President screams at her 2 kids EVERY DAY. One child is almost 11, the other is 13. They are completely out of control. She blames part of it on her son who was diagnosed with Aspergers about a year ago. Personally, I see her children’s poor behavior as a result of her lack of parenting. No boundaries, no consequences other than screaming at them over the cellphone. Also, this is a woman who is ALWAYS at the school with PTA. She isn’t one of the Moms doing the work, she likes to be out front glad handing and taking credit. I find it pathetic that every time we have a parent information night such as bullying, cyber bullying, health ect, she never attends. She is a SAHM, but doesn’t do anything WITH her children. She doesn’t encourage them to take up sports or scouts or anything productive. They watch tv.
    My opinion. Sometimes there might be a reason to raise your voice, but it should be rare.

  • Kate

    @Jules. Amen. Really, really, really good point.

  • http://www.personalisedbabyclothing.co.uk Jon

    I don’t tend to get screamed at @ work. However, when I had a boss, I did what I was asked, or at least started a constructive and thoughtful debate or discussion about other ways to do things, or why something hadn’t finished on time. However with my 2 and 3 year olds, sometime they don’t listen, don’t do as they are told and put themselves at risk through lack of experience… so a shout / scream attracts attention accordingly. If I was at work, crossing the road to a meeting and bus was coming that I hadn’t seen, I’d hope my colleagues would scream at me!

  • Kat

    “…I’ve read that mental health professionals say that’s it is ineffective. It’s not – if it didn’t work, why would so many parents continue to do it?”
    This statement is total fluff. Is this not the exact same argument that people made for spanking??? I agree with Cate that this article lacks clear research and is poorly written. All it does is bring up an issue and then says it’s too hard to control, so why bother trying to deal with it. Is this really the approach you take to dealing with your anger around your kids?

  • Kat

    I was yelled at constantly as a kid and after a while my siblings and I figured out that all we had to do was endure the yelling and then it’d be over. We didn’t get punished, just yelled at, what a joke. I say its totally ineffective because if all you ever do is get yelled and that’s all the punishment you get, then you keep doing stupid stuff. I spank only once and a while, the threat in between in what really works. But I have good kids with an open line of communication where we dont yell, hardly spank, and do our best to get along in this world….and we believe in GOD!

  • Rebecca

    I made the mistake of yelling with my first daughter and all it has resulted in is teaching her to yell too. It got to the point that we sounded more like sisters yelling at each other than a parent-child relationship! It was a tough lesson to learn, partly because I had to stop and realize just how much I was yelling. Now that I have worked on changing that behavior, I also realize how hard it is to teach my daughter to change the behavior she learned from me. Now that I have two daughters, I try to avoid making the same mistake.

  • http://busykidshappymom.org busy kids=happy mom

    What I’ve realized that screaming means…. they’ve won (because I’ve lost it).