Thursday, October 22, 2009

Are You a Shouter?

I forwarded this article (For Some Parents, Shouting Is the New Spanking) to Andrew, who deleted the email after reading the headline. "Hey! What gives?" I, ah, said sort of loudly.

His reply, "I'm a shouter. I've come to terms with it. I'm probably not going to stop." And then he looked down his nose at me, over his half glasses, and said in an accusing tone, "The sooner you come to terms with it and accept that you're a shouter too, the more relaxed you'll be." Grrr. I hate it when he's right.

I am a shouter. But now I wonder after reading this article, if shouting is so bad, what should I be doing? I have tried a low growl, it works, but sometimes, this bear can't take it and must let loose with a full yowl. Do the kids respond to our shouting? Umm, they used to. Our 10-year-old seems to be going through a trying phase or else he's ready for juvie. Although, unlike some of their friends, both our kids tend to be pretty good around outsiders. In fact, we love having weekend guests just so we can enjoy our children.

1 comment:

  1. As a yeller for much of my life, I don't think the issue is the volume, but rather the tone and the emotional content of the verbal message one is sending to one's children. While it's necessary at times to be firm with children, even to chastise them, I don't think any of us want to abuse them physically or mentally. Of course, it's easier for me now, since my children are old enough to have children of their own. But even when they were younger, I know that I tried (didn't always succeed) to take a deep meditative breath before I reacted to something one of my kids did (or didn't do) and in that moment I would also try to be aware of what my feelings actually were at that moment. Was I truly angry or was my anger really a cover for some more complicated feeling like guilt or fear or anxiety or sadness? These deeper sources are often hard to recognize, but when I did so, it enabled me to understand that the problem lay more with my feelings than with my child's behavior. At these times, rather than lashing out verbally at my child, I would try to share with my child what I believed to be my true feelings; e.g., "You know when you did that, I felt afraid that you might get hurt" or "I felt sad when you said that." I'm trying not to preach on this subject, although I do think that expressing anger towards one's child is something we all ultimately come to regret (and with good reason.)