Is yelling your default as a parent? You might want to think twice.
While parenting will no doubt test your patience to the limits, fathers and mothers should never be guilty of constantly yelling and scolding their children. According to an expert, doing so can bring long-term negative effects on children such as making them more aggressive and more anxious later on in life.
In a Fatherly article, we read some insights regarding the topic from Dr. Laura Markham, founder of Aha! Parenting and author of ‘Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting.’
Sure, there may be instances when you’re too stressed or too tired and you can’t help but lose your cool. If this happens rarely than usually, then that would be okay. The danger lies, however, if it has become your default and you are already bordering on verbal abuse.
So what exactly happens when you raise your voice all too often?
According to Dr. Markham:
“Let’s say during a soothing experience [the brain’s] neurotransmitters respond by sending out soothing biochemicals that we’re safe. That’s when a child is building neural pathways to calm down.”
However, the opposite occurs when a toddler with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex gets yelled at.
“The kid releases biochemicals that say fight, flight, or freeze. They may hit you. They may run away. Or they freeze and look like a deer in headlights. None of those are good for brain formation.”
It might sound a bit ironic but the reality rings true – the moment you raise your voice, your words “lose credibility,” the article said, and so you fail to reach your children in an effective, meaningful way.
Dr. Markham puts it this way:
“When parents yell, kids acquiesce on the outside, but the child isn’t more open to your influence, they’re less.”
Yes, your kids will follow what you demand of them when you yell (such as to pick up their toys, etc) but one thing you might want to remember is that you begin to look frightening in their eyes.
“They’ve done studies where people were filmed yelling. When it was played back to the subjects, they couldn’t believe how twisted their faces got,” Dr. Markham said.
As we all know, children are great imitators and so they emulate what they see in us, as parents, whether good or bad. This means you should strive to be a model of patience if that’s what you’re teaching them. You got to walk the talk, so to speak. Otherwise, you are also training little yellers in the future. So what they adapt from you will determine how they treat others – such as their siblings or their friends.
Shouting, as you can tell by now, is merely a short-sighted solution to problems. So its definitely not worth it, especially when you consider the fact that your relationship with your children suffers if you are a habitual scolder. The trust crumbles and they’d likely end up keeping secrets from you if they make mistakes out of fear that you’ll only get mad at them anyway.
Yes, you read that right – humor! You’d be surprised at how much laughing can help you deal with things which may seem stressful at first glance.
“If the parent responds with a sense of humor, you still maintain your authority and keep them connected to you,” pointed out Dr. Markham.
Also, sitting down and calmly talking with your children will always help strengthen your relationship.
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