All moms yell at least once in their lives. They feel overstimulated, overwhelmed, or angry, and raise their voices. It may feel like it solves something in that particular moment, but it rarely solves the situation. It doesn't correct any behavior, that is; it may just quiet everyone down and make them obedient for a short while.

Yelling here and there isn't really the issue though, and again, it's bound to happen. When yelling becomes a lifestyle change and moms are doing it daily, there might be a problem. For one, it is obviously not doing much if it's a daily occurrence, and two, it may be doing more harm than good to both mother and child.

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What Yelling Actually Does

scared child

Essentially, yelling teaches children to fear their mothers rather than understand the consequences of their actions. Children learn so much about right and wrong from their parents. If there is anger and aggression continuously being tossed around in their day-to-day lives, they are going to perceive that as normal. Their behavior will reflect that

Author and parent educator Laura Markham, Ph. D., says your number one job as a parent after assuring the safety of your children, is to manage your own emotions. A study published by the National Institute of Health points out that yelling makes children more aggressive, physically and verbally.

Yelling in general, no matter what the context, is an expression of anger. It scares children and makes them feel insecure. If it comes with verbal put-downs, it qualifies as emotional abuse. That can have serious long-term effects. Staying calm, and not yelling, is reassuring to children, it makes them feel loved and accepted in spite of bad behavior.

What It Looks Like To Not Yell

mom/daughter disciplin

When children feel loved unconditionally, accepted, and safe, they tend to have a better connection with their parents. Typically, not a lot of yelling takes place because they can communicate better. Children respect out of love versus fear, so they are more receptive to what they say. Not to say that moms and their kids have a bad relationship if their children don't listen the first time. Things settle before any major yelling takes place though.

  • Mommy time-out: Mothers can usually tell when they are becoming escalated. They may feel irritated, or frustrated, or their heart starts beating faster. When those things happen, and they can catch it before unleashing the anger on their children, it gives them a chance to calm themselves. They can take a time-out, take a few deep breaths, reassess the situation, and go at it firmly, without yelling.
  • Explain how you feel: All emotions matter and all can be talked about. From joy and excitement to sadness, and anger. When mothers talk openly about emotions it helps children know their feelings are normal. When moms are upset, voicing it and telling children what they are doing is upsetting and why, will help them understand why they should stop. "It hurts mom's feelings when..."
  • Stay calm: Children misbehave, it's life. They are learning. Getting down at their eye level and speaking to them in a firm manner that lets them know it is serious, makes it clear to them that the behavior will not be tolerated.
  • No threats: According to Barbara Coloroso, author of "Kids Are Worth It!," using threats and punishment creates feelings of resentment, anger, and conflict for a child. It's humiliating for children, and coming from a parent, it cuts right into their core. They can become really insecure in life. If their parents think they are worthless, everyone else must too. Consequences that are straightforward about a particular event or behavior help kids make better choices.

Respectful Relationship

A mom playing with her child on the couch

Every person has the right to think independently and like different things. That should include children. Everyone makes mistakes. If an adult makes a mistake at work and their boss lays into them or is constantly pointing out what they do wrong and never when they do things right, it's demeaning. Nobody is going to respect a person more for that.

Children are the same. Discipline means to teach, not to punish and degrade. Positive discipline goes further with children than negative and typically has longer-lasting results.

Sources: Laura Markham, National Institute of Health, Barbara Coloroso