I was recently asked to read an article titled ‘The Important Thing About Yelling’, originally published on HandsFreeMama.com and more recently on FamilyShare.com. A very engaging and well written piece, it stirred all kinds of emotions not least of which was anger!
Anger at the fact that some people speak from a position of authority yet are so misinformed, that the article was completely one sided and did not have the other persons perspective and that it was written by a woman for other woman yet failed to mention this oversight.
On this last point, simply Google ‘yelling at kids’ and take a look at the images… 97% of those images are of woman yelling at kids… with only 3% of men yelling at kids! For a start, what does that tell you – that woman have an issue with yelling at kids or that only woman yell at kids? It’s obviously the former.
So why is yelling at kids good for them?
To answer this question you need to break it down to it’s constituent parts – what is yelling and what is good for kids?
Yelling can be described as raising your voice above the normal… or projecting it so that it carries over a greater distance or simply shouting in anger. None of these sound particularly useful when dealing with kids yet ask yourself the question… why does yelling exist and what would we replace it with if it were outlawed?
Yelling exists because it’s an effective medium to convey emotion and knowledge to another in a way that it cannot be misconstrued or misunderstood. It’s instant and compelling. The opposite of yelling might be whispering or speaking softly, neither of which incidentally are ever used by kids themselves when trying to dominate in any dialogue or social environment.
Yes, yelling may be considered bad by some but there are literally thousands of ways to communicate knowledge from one person to another, many of which are ten times worse than yelling but we don’t hear diddly squat about them from the author. So in the absence of that information, yelling seems to be the prime evil… which it’s not.
This brings me to the second part, ‘what is good for kids?.
Kids need to know the difference between good and bad, something which cannot be learned without knowing about both. Good means nothing without a reference to bad! You cannot say in the absence of anything bad, all other things must be good… no, quite to the contrary – you will still have the two extremes of good and bad in the remaining spectre. So you see, everything is relative to the frame of reference and the same goes for what is good for kids.
Yelling is good for kids when you compare it to hitting the kid with a stick and hitting a kid with a stick is good compared to holding their head under water and drowning them – is it not? It’s all relative.
So kids need to be yelled at so that they understand and experience things in a certain way and so that they can compare it to the so called ‘good’ things so as to form this relative understanding of good and bad (for example).
Yelling all the time at your kids completely misses the point and is wrong BUT so is being nice and sweet and whispering softly to your child, all the time! You need to yell at your kid when appropriate and conversely you need to whisper to your child when appropriate. One without the other and you are doing a disservice to your child.