By: Michaelene Koskela
To yell, or not to yell, was never a question I asked myself prior to becoming a parent.
Yelling did come naturally for me. Yelling was a good way to show frustration, make a point, when I was happy, excited to tell a colorful story or being lazy (i.e. shouting “Can you bring down my hairbrush I do not want to walk up to get it.”)
I was a yeller from a very young age… though I could have gone either way as I come from a split family. My father heirs from a long line of shouters, he is the baby boy of 7 children, the family meals at my grandmother’s house if you were not seated at an end seat often your cries for a pat of butter or a salt shaker were unheard. His discipline was always in holler form.
My mother and her family did not raise their voices, they were the whisper angry, My mom would make eye contact, firmly grab/pinch the top of your arm in the sensitive tender area adjacent to your armpit, and with a haunted low tone blown thru her clench teeth she would tell you exactly what you did wrong, needed to do, and how you would do it. You listened or at least pretend you understood so that your arm would be released.
As I matured my yelling was less frequent and reserved for umpires and unknown commuters without blinkers on 128.
Until I had a three year old, I had a habit of triple word yelling. “No, No, No” and “Stop, Stop, Stop” it reached the point one night at bedtime my daughter asked “Why do Mommy’s yell and not Daddy’s?” This question made me take note. Why do I repeat myself and believe that a yell would be more effective to teach a child? The real Ah-ha moment; a few days later my daughter stood like a teacup, shouting “Now, Now, Now.” Her tiny voice commanded in the triple word demand for me to open the lid to her Playdoh.
I heard and learned in that moment why I had not gotten the desired cooperation from my child. Obviously if I needed to repeat the words or holler to get her to mind me, what was I teaching her? Mommy yells so do not take my commands seriously? Fear me? Resent me?
Times do warrant shouting when a child may be in danger and you need to shout to protect them, however that is rare- not the constant, my child whom I love and adore is not waking up each day and saying let’s see what we can get away with or see how long it takes to make my mother frustrated.
We do that to our selves by assuming our child will behave ALL THE TIME when WE want them to or NEED them too because it is how we may have been taught.
To teach our children in our immediate gratification society has to go both ways for us as parents and for the children to reach an understanding.
Children need limits, boundaries and rules to grow as whole human beings they also need to understand who they are and to be accountable for their actions or decisions.
We need to treat them and teach them as such. We as parents need to have our children learn as we would like to be taught ourselves.
I am not suggesting that we become wet noodle push over parents. Limits and boundaries always exist but have empathetic discussions, welcome questions, your child should want to explore and see what the world has to offer, none of which requires yelling. I am uncomfortable around raised voices and do not learn anything valuable other than avoidance.
Proudly, I was taught by my daughter not to triple yell.
Umpires with bad calls, and what I determine to be bad drivers on 128 … it is still a work in progress.