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post #21 of 46
I for one have no problem with yelling, although I don't generally yell at my kid. To her, sometimes, and other times to the world at large. Maybe it's cultural, but when we're angry, we get loud.

I think one can yell without name-calling or berating or any of that... in fact, my dad used to do both of the above in a perfectly cold, even, controlled voice and that always made me even angrier. I remember when Rain was little and I would try to respond with this very even, controlled, calm voice, and it would drive her absolutely crazy... but when I was clearly emotional, whether angry or sad or whatever, she was able to process. Saying, "I've very angry" in a calm voice just didn't work... she needed to the whole package. It just seems more honest to me... and she's not scared, because I don't punish her or anything... I just yell about how I feel and what I need.

Dar
post #22 of 46
Agreed, Dar. I believe yelling can be part of a normal healthy household as a way to express feelings or communicate. Some people/families are louder than others and thats fine. I DO think its wrong to call names, berate or shame in the process of yelling. I also think its important to be sensitive to a family member's sensitivites. I personally feel easily shaken and battered by loud sudden noises. My family knows that it bothers me when they shout for me from another room, or get into my face too much. In the same way, I would try to be sensitive to a child who needs soft words, kwim? I hope I would, anyway. But there really are kids who are not phased by loud voices.

Re: the whole "preparing them for the real world" argument: phooey. The real world will never get any better if we don't work toward changing it. And the only way to do that is to change the way the we as individuals relate in it. Its not my job to model the "real world" to my kids or anyone else for that matter. It *is* my job to model the "ideal world" to them though, as much as possible. The world that we need, so they know what it looks like and feels like, and how to live that way.
post #23 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~gilli~
I have come back to read. Thank you for you info, but I still don't understand how raising your voice is
I was not talking of screaming like a banshie, but a raised firm voice. Is that what ya'll are talking about?
I guess I would have to hear it to know what you mean. I know what a firm voice is. A stern "no-nonsense" voice. I am not sure what volume adds to that? Yelling to me is an expression of intense emotion [fear, anger, surprise, hurt, etc...] and in general, I think it's probably better not to have knee jerk reaction like this AT kids. [Or other people either.] So yeah, beling yelled at in anger or hurt feels pretty freakin' intimidating and scary -- particularly if you are a little vulnerable person being yelled at by a bigger person who you love a lot. I have a hard time seeing how someone can't see that?
post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissRubyandKen
I for one just try to model speaking how I would like to be spoken to as much as humanly possible for me.
Yep. yep. yep.

Which is not to say I don't slip up of course. You betcha I do.
post #25 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundhunter
I don't think it's the end of the world for family members to be genuinely angry sometimes and to raise their voices, but I don't think it's the ideal way to consistently communicate to children, or anyone, for that matter.
ITA. Yelling happens. People lose their cool. That is a fact of human nature. But when it happens we claim it and identify it and apologize and acknowledge that it can be hurtful and scary and is not a way we would consciously choose to treat someone. All that is an important lesson for little ones to see to.
post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
Saying, "I've very angry" in a calm voice just didn't work... she needed to the whole package. It just seems more honest to me... and she's not scared, because I don't punish her or anything... I just yell about how I feel and what I need.
You raise interesting points here. I think this conversation is hard to have without hearing each others' voices because people's perception of what yelling is is so different. And there are cultural and family-specific variations. I also grew up in a loud family and when I get passionate [I don't even have to be angry] my voice takes on a tone and level and energy that other people have often experienced as "yelling" when that is the farthest things from my mind. So even though in this conversation I've been fairly critical of yelling -- what I think of yelling and what the OP might think of as yelling might be very different. That's why I emphasized yelling AT someone. The OP might just be thinking that anytime your voice is a little raised or emotional, that's what she means by yelling.

I also found that as my kids got even a little older [3 to 6] they needed to see some of the heat and emotion and upset to my reactions to some things they did. I didn't take it out on them. I just don't always follow the strain of positive parenting that advocates 100% calm communication. Because the reality is that we all have the power to upset one another and kids need to learn that they have that power and that making people upset doesn't break the people or the relationship. I know grown-ups who never experienced the emotional display of heated feelings in their homes who are today extremely conflict avoidant and melt in the face of any negative energy. And that doesn't serve them either.

However, as a TOOL for conscious discipline I would reject yelling. Yelling may be an unfortunate human reality in intense relationships, but it is not a tool in my parenting kit that I use to coerce or discipline my children with.

Does that make sense?
post #27 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by snugg_bug
one day your toddler is about to step off the top of the stairs and you holler at them, that's entirely different.
LOL, in that situation, a holler would cause my guy to fall down the stairs he'd be so surprised! We've learned quickly that we have to be pretty much silent while helping him down from a situation he's gotten himself into, otherwise he hurts himself. :

******
I think of the voice we used with our dogs based on what we learned in obedience training, when they were doing something wrong. Low, firm, resounding voice. That's what I think of when I read your words about a raised firm voice.

Yelling, on the other hand, is out of control.

I'm not saying I've never yelled at DS, or DH for that matter. Or myself, even. But I don't like doing it.


I spent my very early childhood with an father who was an abusive husband and a heavy drinker. Therefore, I grew up hearing yelling.

And I will STILL have a full on panic attack if some male is yelling at me...being yelled at is VERY scary to me, even though I wasn't wrapped in bubblewrap when it came to yelling. I remember the first time my mom's third husband (a good guy) got on my case b/c my mom and I were fighting...he was yelling and I started hyperventilating and almost passed out....



Cultural stuff, oh that reminds me of high school. My good friend had an Italian father and a Sicilian mother (the difference might seem odd to some, but it was VERY important to them!), and just asking for bread at dinner could involve raised voices! It was a bit twitchy for me until I got used to it...but I did get used to it and I could laugh about it and how much fun they were having, even though they were yelling at each other.
post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ibex67
I know grown-ups who never experienced the emotional display of heated feelings in their homes who are today extremely conflict avoidant and melt in the face of any negative energy. And that doesn't serve them either.
OOOoh - this hit home for me, and I can't believe I didn't mention it in my post...no, wait, I can, cause I'm mush-brain lately

I think if I had ONE complaint about my childhood, and this literally would be the ONLY one (as otherwise I the way they reaised me), it would be that I never saw my parents mad...at each other, or at anything else. AND, as an adult, I have a really hard time with conflict, and with confronting "wrongs" because I worry about upsetting people and looking "mean". Maybe they didn't want me to see those negative emotions, so they saved them for when I wasn't around...maybe they really were Zen parents and didn't let things bother them...all I know is that I had NO idea what it was like to confront an uncomfortable or unfair situation as an adult without feeling like I was either a doormat or a b**ch. I still see that aspect of my parents when I talk about asserting myself now with conflicts, they're always sure to suggest to me to "be careful", they worry much more than I do about what "people" might think, etc. Which I appreciate to a point, because nobody needs to fly off the handle for no reason, but at the same time I feel like if I hadn't had the self esteem and confidence I got from them in other aspects of my life, I very well could have become a doormat as an adult, which isn't healthy either.

I'm not saying that I think they should have had screaming matches in front of me, or called each other names and slammed doors, or screamed AT me either, but really I think it would have been useful to me to see adults disagreeing, discussing/arguing things, resolving conflicts, and maybe even using a firmer, more loud tone with me in a healthy way (which sometiems can involve raised voices if you're passionate about something...). It took me a few years to be able to have discussions/arguments with DH (I used to refuse to engage, and then shut down and cry hysterically), but now we are able to resolve our conflicts with me holding my own, and with him not getting personal (something I helped HIM with) - so no name calling, no put downs, no personal attacks - but sometimes still raising our voice levels if it's something we disagree strongly about.

For years now when talking to friends about childhoods and them saying that they wished they had a "Beaver Cleaver" upbringing like mine was, I would always add the caveat that I wished I saw my parents argue, even just a little, because being an adult with no idea how to resolve conflict kind of stinks; I had to find my own way and had no reference point from the two people who have been my reference point for EVERYTHING else in my life.

Sooo...just another 2 cents from me. And I do still agree with what I posted earlier today, so I guess my brain isn't that foggy.
post #29 of 46
I agree with Dar. Although I admittedly have some issues with yelling TOO much (it tends to be my fall-back measure, and I'm working on this). I thin some kids respond to softer, more even-toned words, and others want to hear it all. I come from a family of loud people, some yellers. My DH, OTOH, comes from a family where no one would yell-even if the house was on fire! So it's this weird balance in our family.

I agree with Mamaduck, too. I don't think kids need to learn the hard lessons of life at home. Yes, I think if you lose it here and there as a mama, that's okay. If they see you flip, and come full circle again, they learn a lesson. That sometimes people yell, and it's okay. Doesn't mean that the house is on fire. The problem comes when kids learn these hard lessons over and over and over again at home. When it's disproportionate (sp?). And I should say that I stole some of this last thought from one of my MDC friends here who I respect a lot.
post #30 of 46
I think there is a difference between out-of-control yelling and a firm, I-mean-business voice. I don't think yelling is ever desirable, although I have done it a few times. The I-mean-business voice is okay, but I try not to overuse it. You can be firm without being angry or disrespectful.
post #31 of 46
About the difference between yelling and raising your voice...it seems to me that the difference is in the amount of control you have over your own emotions. My own mother was a yeller--and often, in the middle of yelling at me (I was a trying teenager, I admit!), she would burst into tears. When emotional, you may yell out of frustration or lack of patience, and that's when you say really hurtful things, things that no child should have to learn to cope with in response to the adults who love and care for her.

When you are using a calm, rational (some say dispassionate, but really it's just staying in control) voice, you can be firm without yelling. You're being matter-of-fact, describing behaviors that are unacceptable, asking for a change, giving choices, setting limits. You're not making it a personal attack or a judgement. When you are yelling, you aren't getting across any useful information except the image of being louder and more powerful than the child.

As a middle school teacher (probably doing penance for the trials I gave my mother), I can sometimes lose my patience and yell at a class, or even at an individual student. And it works--for the moment they listen, obey, act a little scared. But under the surface I can feel something change, and my whole identity as a teacher suffers. These are times when, like when I slip up and yell at my DS (and I do, more than I'd like), I say something like, "I don't like the teacher (mama) that I am when I yell at you. I'm sorry I let my frustration with your behavior get the best of me. This is not the way I want to lead this class, but something needs to change about the situation here so that we can all feel happier and get some learning done."

Sorry to get so long, but does any of that make sense?
post #32 of 46
Yes, I would be a lot more careful about yelling with someone around who was sensitive to it. My dad's girlfriend apparently thinks our family is always fighting with one another. My siblings and daughter and I heard this and went huh? We haven't had a fight in years - what is she talking about? But we argue and we're loud, especially my brother and I, and to her that means we're angry...

Quote:
Originally Posted by eli janine
When you are yelling, you aren't getting across any useful information except the image of being louder and more powerful than the child.
And that you're angry. I do think kids -and all people - need that kind of feedback sometimes - they need to know how their behavior is affecting others. I think the same is true of middle schoolers - I recently taught middle school, and I did raise my voice at times...

dar
post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~gilli~
What coping skills will they have?
The ability to pause and take the time or space they need to calm themselves down. A model of how to avoid reacting emotionally. The knowledge that everyone is responsible for handling their own emotions. No one can drive you crazy if you don't get in the car.

I try hard to keep my voice level and calm because it helps me overall. When I raise my voice, it tends to escalate the situation. Speaking softly helps me stay in control--venting brings me closer to yelling.

Hope that helps!
post #34 of 46
Oh, I forgot to add that it depends a lot on what you say when you raise your voice.

OK for me to say:
"I'm so frustrated!"
"I need a minute to calm down."
"AAAAAAAAH!" (in a silly voice)
"I feel growly/angry/grouchy!"
For me, it's OK to say this sort of thing loudly, even yelling, as long as it's not directed at the kids. In fact, I'll even use my name so that I'm yelling at myself, "Jane, calm down!"
post #35 of 46
for me, i would like to raise my two children in a homethat is supportive, calm and healthy for everyone - so in the future when they are older it can be a place for recovering and understanding all the s**t they will have to put up with out there
for me then, being fair and controllling means trying not to raise my voice in anger or frustration except on the odd odd occassion (after all we are all human)..........
post #36 of 46
When I raise my voice, it's almost always about me trying to get back control, usually over my environment or my activity. (i.e. I need space, quiet, cooperation so that I can get something done, a reduction of stressful stimuli, etc...)But if control isn't the point (as we're talking about on another thread), and intimidation is a poorly done, short-term-effective reaction, then why am I raising my voice, after all??

What I really need is an example of how to express anger without it being scary or intimidating. Being ultra-calm while describing feelings doesn't seem to do the trick, as others have pointed out, and getting excitedly upset or angry always seems to have an element of scariness or intimidation in it. Am I just not understanding how to do this because it's never been modeled to me (I had a mother who always lost it when she got angry)? Or do others struggle to express anger in an OK way too? Does anyone feel like they have it down pat?
post #37 of 46
I agree that yelling is an ineffective way of communicating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbravebird
When I raise my voice, it's almost always about me trying to get back control, usually over my environment or my activity. (i.e. I need space, quiet, cooperation so that I can get something done, a reduction of stressful stimuli, etc...)But if control isn't the point (as we're talking about on another thread), and intimidation is a poorly done, short-term-effective reaction, then why am I raising my voice, after all??

What I really need is an example of how to express anger without it being scary or intimidating. Being ultra-calm while describing feelings doesn't seem to do the trick, as others have pointed out, and getting excitedly upset or angry always seems to have an element of scariness or intimidation in it. Am I just not understanding how to do this because it's never been modeled to me (I had a mother who always lost it when she got angry)? Or do others struggle to express anger in an OK way too? Does anyone feel like they have it down pat?
I have had a tendency to yell also, and have been working hard for a long time to stop yelling and find other ways of communicating with my children. What has helped me is to understand that anger, for me, is always a secondary emotion-the anger arises out of something else. Anger comes out of something unresolved. The desire for control (for example), for me, comes from a need for predictability or for safety or for ease or sleep or whatever-and anger arises when that need continues to be unmet and I continue to be frustrated. I want to control my kids/their behavior as a strategy to meet that need. I become angry then and may yell because I really, really want that need to be met and either I am lacking some degree of awareness of that need or awareness of the separate and different nature of my child's needs, and am likely stuck in one way of perceiving the situation which is ineffective (as opposed to seeing other possible solutions). I'm not seeing the other possibilities for resolving the situation. So understanding where the anger comes from is a big part of the key to expressing my feelings in an effective way.

I agree that discussing emotions in an ultra-calm way doesn't work-at least not all the time. On the other hand, I think it's possible to express oneself with emotion in tone and body language and words without being intimidating. I do not have it down pat but for me the key seems to be being aware of my own needs and feelings, taking responsibility for them (so my child doesn't make me angry, I am angry because I value this and what I saw did not mesh with what I value), and expressing my needs and feelings honestly and fully and while taking responsibility (I feel because I...). When I say this, I may sound angry but I'm not yelling. This is way better than yelling, and though it takes some learning and may at first feel odd ("Do not confuse that which is natural with that which is habitual." -Gandhi) it actually turns out that for me this works-it's a very full expression of my feelings. It's not always easy though. Not at all. It's hard to unlearn habits of expressing anger.
post #38 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
I do not have it down pat but for me the key seems to be being aware of my own needs and feelings, taking responsibility for them (so my child doesn't make me angry, I am angry because I value this and what I saw did not mesh with what I value), and expressing my needs and feelings honestly and fully and while taking responsibility (I feel because I...). When I say this, I may sound angry but I'm not yelling. This is way better than yelling, and though it takes some learning and may at first feel odd ("Do not confuse that which is natural with that which is habitual." -Gandhi) it actually turns out that for me this works-it's a very full expression of my feelings. It's not always easy though. Not at all. It's hard to unlearn habits of expressing anger.
Thank you, sledg, for articulating that process in such a way that I can almost see it in my mind's eye somehow (picture me squinting my eyes and reaching out). But I do need work on this. It's really, really hard for me to summon how healthy anger looks when I'm not, say, sitting here reading your post. When I'm in the middle of a stressful day where I have too many "adult" things to do and I'm starting to lose patience, I feel the anger/fear/need for safety and I feel stuck, like my old patterns are dangling me over the abyss. I can't see the vision you articulated at that point, I can only stand there trying to keep my mouth shut while I dangle over the abyss. KWIM? I work on it some, and then we go through a stressful time and I lose some ground and then go around picking up the pieces again and reminding myself what I was working on again. We're in the middle of a month-long move after a year that defies explanation, so I'm picking up some pieces this month, hoping they don't scatter too much again at the end of the month when we finish the move. Hopefully your post will help me keep some pieces gathered in my proverbial pocket.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
What has helped me is to understand that anger, for me, is always a secondary emotion-the anger arises out of something else. Anger comes out of something unresolved. The desire for control (for example), for me, comes from a need for predictability or for safety or for ease or sleep or whatever-and anger arises when that need continues to be unmet and I continue to be frustrated.
I think for me it's safety. (Oh, yeah, that and sleep! ) The other big control issues in my life were all begun when I was a child as a way to keep myself safe, so I think I just tap right into that now, even with lesser issues. Parenting is illuminating in the worst and best ways. I'm glad to be along for the ride. Thanks for sharing some of your process; it helps to hear/read it.
post #39 of 46
mbravebird-I struggle a great deal with how to handle my anger in a healthier way. I appreciate your honesty in your posts. Healthy anger wasn't modeled for me either. My only words of wisdom are to listen to sledg's words of wisdom!
post #40 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbravebird
When I'm in the middle of a stressful day where I have too many "adult" things to do and I'm starting to lose patience, I feel the anger/fear/need for safety and I feel stuck, like my old patterns are dangling me over the abyss.
I find that when I'm getting stuck like that (and I do often), the best thing to do is nothing-the kind of nothing that is just listening (to myself, my inner workings) and not reacting to what's going on around me (and not judging myself). That sounds weird, but it doesn't have to take long. And taking a few moments to not react can be helpful to everyone. If I can just not react and just pay attention to those thoughts that feed the anger/feer/whatever then often other possible responses to the situation (helpful ones) just sort of become apparent. It's hard to describe-there's an aspect of things just falling away once they're recognized, there's some bit of self-empathy, there's a bit of recognizing how to take care of my own needs rather than looking to my children to meet those needs through their behvavior, there's a bit of becoming more aware of my children's actual needs/feelings or a shift in perspective about that which comes from the recognition of how my own thoughts/feelings/needs are impacting my perception and from the falling away of certain thoughts/assumptions/whatever. There is value in quiet and the choice of non-action in that immediate moment.
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