So apparently, there is a study out that says yelling at teens is not an effective form of discipline. Not only doesn’t it work, the study purports, but yelling at them may be as harmful as hitting them. If you are a parent who regularly yells at your teen, like I do, and you have not already heard this, you are probably moving rapidly through the five stages of grief right now:
- Denial: What? You’ve got to be kidding. I don’t believe this hogwash. My parents yelled at me all the time and I turned out fine.
- Anger: I’m only human! Sometimes this kid drives me absolutely crazy!
- Bargaining: If I can just yell for the next year or two maybe my kid will get the message and then I can stop.
- Depression: It’s official. I am clearly not cut out for this parenting thing.
If you’re lucky, you’ll reach Acceptance and find a new way to communicate. If not, you’ll probably bounce between frustration and guilt – in other words, fall back into the state of mind common to the average parent.
If I can’t yell, my parenting style will experience a serious void. I have this mental picture of me standing in front of my kids, mouth agape, completely paralyzed. Man, will they ever take advantage of that.
Thing is, I agree with this on principle. I don’t think losing your temper gets you anywhere. When I was managing employees I wasn’t a yeller. I worked hard to maintain my composure even in the most uncomfortable circumstances and at my angriest, was likely to dish out no more than a withering glance.
But at home, I find myself yelling more than I want to. In a house with three kids, it too often feels like the only way to be heard. Literally.
I typically apologize after I lose my temper. Later. When there is no longer steam emitting from my ears. But according to this study, by then the damage is done. So once again, I face my imperfection and go off to wallow in guilt and frustration. And wait for the study that documents the damage done by the withering glance.
How do you keep your temper when your kids – or coworkers – drive you nuts? Inviting all those better than I to weigh in…