Yelling as bad as spanking? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-18-2005, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, mamas:

I just read an article on MSN that yelling could be worse than spanking. The link is here: http://family.msn.com/tool/article.a...fer=2&GT1=6356

I don't yell (other moms could tell me -- not yet) because my son is only 19 mos. old and exhibiting normal toddler behavior.

He's also more easygoing than most, and I'm benefiting from sympathizing with him when he's upset and taking deep breaths when I get a bit frustrated.

Do you Mamas think yelling is as bad as spanking? Sometimes I think the words my mom has yelled to me are actually worse than the spankings because they still hurt.

Just wanted to start a friendly discussion. I thought the ideas in the article to stop yourself from yelling were pretty good.

Cheers,
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:17 PM
 
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I just read that too... I dunno...I think they're both bad. The article kind of alluded to yelling hurting emotionally and spanking hurting physically. I think they both hurt emotionally....but IMO spanking is worse. I can apologize for yelling...and show how we should work through our anger...but hitting is never ok... I'm rambling...sorry. Good thread...I hope it doesn't turn into something other than you wanted. You know how passionate we mommas can be.

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Old 04-18-2005, 01:20 PM
 
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I think it can be. I think the spectrum of both yelling and corporal punishment are both pretty big as far as how damaging either can be.

In my family, I think a little yelling is less harmful than a little spanking.

The other thing about yelling that has always confused me is the issue of parental temperament. For instance, DH kina yells as a normal way of speaking. When debating or just excited about something. For him to ‘raise his voice’ at DC doesn’t seem like it would be all that damaging because it’s not much of a deviation from how he normally communicates. I, OTOH, am a very level talker and keep my cool well. If I even sigh heavily DC gets upset because, that means I’m upset.

Also, I think all kinds of abuse can be ‘worse’ than the next depending on the severity, yk?

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Old 04-18-2005, 01:26 PM
 
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I read the article (after I posted the first time :LOL)

The first think that it reminded me of is the situation in Sweden when they banned spanking and how parents initially had a more difficult time managing frustration.

Overall I like the article. I love that they not only address an issue but offer solutions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sagira
Do you Mamas think yelling is as bad as spanking? Sometimes I think the words my mom has yelled to me are actually worse than the spankings because they still hurt.
The article also addressed the issue of yelling as a means to degrade children and other messages in your language as opposed to a raised voice. I, personally, appreciate the distinction.

See, I have a difficult time communication to DD that I’m getting upset. What seems to work is if I tell her I’m getting upset and why in a stern or “raised voice”. I think this is much different than yelling degrading things to a child.

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Old 04-18-2005, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good point, IdentityCrisis. There are some people whose decibel levels are normally high. There are also some children who are more fragile and fall apart when you yell at them whereas it doesn't bother others at all.
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:39 PM
 
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Yes and the child’s temperament is a big factor, good point!

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Old 04-18-2005, 01:42 PM
 
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I'm Polish, my husband is Italian/Croatian,in both of our families yelling was normal. In my family, it was abusive because of WHAT they yelled, in DH's family it was typically Italian, they would wave their hands around frantically and spit and stuff and talk VERY loudly when they where upset or angry,but they didn't generally insult each other. I think yelling can be a cultural thing and isn't always dangerous at all, or the whole nation of Italy would be full of emotionally damaged people.

Quote:
In those moments, some parents can lose control and while they may not strike out physically, the words they throw at the child -- especially if those words include insults or threats -- can cause lasting harm.
I bolded the part that I think was important. That article also sounds like some pretty vague science to me, I don't see a peer reviewed scientific study laying out what the damage is from yelling. There is plenty of documentation about the damaging results of mental abuse, but mental abuse is not hingent on the volume of the abuser's voice.

And I agree with IdentityCrisisMama, about this:

Quote:
I think the spectrum of both yelling and corporal punishment are both pretty big as far as how damaging either can be.
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:47 PM
 
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What a great point about "how you normally talk vs your yelling voice"...

I'm normally very loud. Especially when I'm passionate about what I'm saying...when I'm upset with Willow or upset in general...I get very very quiet.

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Old 04-18-2005, 01:57 PM
 
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growing up my mom yelled at me. Iusd to wish she just spank me or slap me and be dnoe with it. I hated th yelling far worse than I ever minded a little spanking.

I have heard some GD people say really nasty things to thier children and it breaks my heart. Could a little spanking realy be worse than that. I doubt it. BUt then again if someone can't control thier tounges chances are they can't control thier hands either. Thier whole approach need to change I guess.

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Old 04-18-2005, 03:05 PM
 
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I sure hope yelling isn't as bad.

I have never yelled insults. I have rarely yelled threats (and those threats were stuff like not going to the park, etc.). But I do yell out of frustration sometimes. I yell stuff like "I am so tired of this/why won't you listen/I just want to get in the car and go, put your shoes on!"). It is the number one thing I am working to change about myself. But I am naturally a very intense person - people all the time mistake my tone of voice for being angry or really upset when I'm really just passionate about what I'm talking about. There have been a few times when I've truly lost it and it did make ds cry. : I always have apologized, and explained that I should not have yelled.

In my defense, a few months ago I realized I had severe hypothryoid issues, and since that came under control I have yelled a whole lot less, and have not lost it with him once. But I still yell or speak in a harsh tone more often than I would like, and more often than is warranted by ds's behavior.

I was spanked maybe 3 or 4 times total as a child. My dad saved it for very "severe" offenses - usually lying. I will never spank my children, but I don't think that his spanking really affected me that negatively. He was always calm and rational about it, never out of control or in the heat of anger. And he was overall a very loving, fair, respectful father. My point is not that spanking is okay (I don't think that it is - ever), but that I guess I can see how verbal "discipline" can be just as or more damaging than physical "discipline," depending on it's nature and severity.
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Old 04-18-2005, 05:17 PM
 
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I think insults can be just as damaging as spanking, but a raised voice occasionaly, no.

One BIG difference is that in life you are going to run into people yelling at you, at least at some point, if you work or have to deal with "the public."

But being hit, that is not going to happen and shouldn't to kids either.
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Old 04-18-2005, 09:04 PM
 
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There's "yelling" (expressing frustration or whatever, but words are not threatening or insulting or demeaning, etc) and there's emotional abuse-- emotional abuse (e.g. threats, insults) can be done in a regular voice or a yelling voice.

I do not believe that yelling is as bad as spanking, and I suspect that emotional abuse is much worse than both. I do not want to yell, and I've made pretty good progress towards that goal. It can startle my child and/or make him cry, and that means that yelling is not good behavior. I apologize, tell him that it is wrong for me to do that, move on. But I think the real problematic "yelling" that the article is refering to is really emotional abuse-- saying something mean to your kids, or threatening to do something to them in an ugly voice, putting them down, etc. Or just going on and on about something, even if it's not insulting or demeaning.

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Old 04-18-2005, 09:31 PM
 
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Yelling and emotional abuse are completely different IMHO.
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Old 04-19-2005, 12:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darsmama
Yelling and emotional abuse are completely different IMHO.
I'm glad to hear someone say this because I beat myself up about yelling, wondering if I'm doing serious emotional damage.
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Old 04-19-2005, 01:08 AM
 
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But isn't that the same as saying controlled spanking not done in anger as a part of an over all discipline program is NOT the same as hitting a child.

I htink yelling is yelling. when yuo lose it on your child you lose it on your child and it doesn't matter what you are saying the messege is loud and clear. "you yhave pushed me over the edge and you are making me nuts. Why can't you just do it better" I have never heard anyone yell calmly. Shouting for someone to "come to dinner" is a completely different thing (and we still don't do that because shouting is just rude and lazy, just walk over there already and speak in a normal tone) of course but i have never heard anyone raise thier voice to thier child without having already lost thier temper. Lets face it if they still had everything in check they wouldn't be yelling.

I realy caution everyone about justifying any sort of yelling. It really is brutal to kids to be yelled at. No body yells "you are so seet and beautiful" they only yell when they are mad, frustrated, tired of playing around whatver. when they are ticked off and have no patience and no resources left. It is never kind or gentle and it may be effecting your kids more than you want to admit. I clearly remember thinking "i wish she would just stop and hit me and be done with it." i really didn't mind being smacked now and then but it killed me every time she would start yelling at me. reminding me with every word what a dissapointment I was, how I didn't measure up, how I wasn't fast enough smart enough whatever I wasn't doing well enough.

So really think about yelling before you yell. If you are saynig something nice or impotant you really dont have to yell it. Once you raise your voice your children are likely to turn into somethign negative.

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Old 04-19-2005, 01:42 AM
 
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Sandra, I respect your point of view. Ideally, NOBODY should yell. Not at the cat, your husband or your kids. When/If it happens, apologize, try and correct the behavior and move on.
Yelling and Emotional Abuse are two completely different cookies imo. I've been yelled at for things, and I've been told (not screamed) that I'm a _______ (fill in the blank stupid whore, person, bitch etc. etc.) by my mom. The emotional abuse could be spoken, screamed, or combined with physical. It was always the worst.

I will never say that yelling is the same as emotional abuse. I don't think anything could change that POV because I've lived with both. I've been yelled at (a way for my mother to feel her point was being put across and 'larger' then I) and it wasn't painful for me the way emotional abuse was.

I'm not justifying any of it, If the title was "Emotional Abuse as bad as Spanking?" I would say HELL YES. But, its yelling...Nope, not even the same field.
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Old 04-19-2005, 02:15 AM
 
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I was disciplined using both when I was younger and I will say that personally, I would have preferred a spanking to yelling some times and other times vice versa. It really depends on what was being said. Things like "you're so stupid" or "you're so lazy" etc really hurt me more than a spanking ever did.

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Old 04-19-2005, 02:32 AM
 
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Well, I am speaking only from my personal experience with my son, but he seems to be severely bothered my any kind of yelling. No matter the message.

The few times I have yelled, he has stopped, stunned and burst out in inconsolable tears. Then brings it up again. He does not forget. He is trouble by it, and he needs a lot of attention, cuddling and hugs for the rest of the day. Definitely noticeable. And nothing extreme, no insults or name calling or even close to emotional abuse.

This does correlate with the study, but he might react the same way to any kind of spanking. I do not spank though. I would think for my son continued yelling over time would be detrimental no matter the content.

I would have much rather been spanked as a kid than yelled out. Hands down. Mild or severe yelling. My dad found out quickly I was punishable by having my parents disappointed in me. The words echoed in my head for days whereas the sting in my bottom wore off after a few hours.

I do not think one needs to be worse than the other. I think they are both negative behaviors I would rather my son not emulate. As a PP mentioned, this will just encourage me to think before I act. Before I express any anger or frustration in these manners. Something I forget sometimes.

But this is just my experience.

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Old 04-19-2005, 03:02 AM
 
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Meco, I just wanted to say that my nephew is like that. My Bro will yell & its way worse then a spanking to him. Yes, they spank.
Its not a positive behavior for sure & you are right - one dosen't need to be worse then the other, but I can't help but think that yelling "Go to your Room!" is in no way on the same level of bad as "Your so stupid" or spanking...I dunno....Good conversation here, always good to think more about things.
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Old 04-19-2005, 03:11 AM
 
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I do agree with that.

I believe a PP mentioned a continuum of both physical and verbal abuse. Those two would be at opposite ends in my experience.

My problem is that is snowballs so for me just refraining is better. Otherwise once I do it once it seems to get easier and easier kwim? I believe my son is highly sensitive to words, and he reacts strongly to the vibe he picks up from me. He and I are very close in mind and spirit and it affects him this way. I am sorry your nephews gets spanked That makes me sad to hear.

I hope one day it is not the norm.

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Old 04-19-2005, 03:17 AM
 
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My poor nephews are a sad story all the way around. The saddest part is, their mom is a professor of Sociology who works in the abused children field (when she was employed!)


Anyways, thats probably OT..
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Old 04-19-2005, 03:31 AM
 
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"Don't hit the cat!" yelling is totally different from "You're so stupid" yelling.
One is clearly emotional abuse, and the other might or might not be.
If you have a really sensitive kid who melts into tears when you raise your voice, you might have emotionally (unintentionally) almost abused your child when you yelled about the cat.
Or, if you yell often, something is probably wrong.
Yelling can be way worse than spanking, but occationally loosing it and yelling (just speaking loudly, with a mean look on your face) is not a good thing, but not something to feel super guilty over, IMO.
Spanking, IMO, is worse than that.
It's better to never yell, though. That is the ideal. (excluding the dangerous "WATCH OUT!" yelling.)
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Old 04-19-2005, 02:16 PM
 
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I just wanted to agree with a PP that words can be abusive whether yelled or spoken quietly. My dad has serious issues about weight, and my little sister was heavy as a child. He never yelled names at her, but he was obvious in his disgust for her being heavy, and she is still screwed up from that. He wasn't outright mean, but just obvious, you know?

So now I'm a parent. I am completely supportive and accepting of my kids in every way possible, but I do yell sometimes out of frustration. Not good, and I wish I never did it. I'm working on it, but I'm not perfect. And there are times that ds has talked about it afterwards, making me feel even more like crap. And I accept that if I had never yelled at him he would probably be even happier and more well adjusted than he already is.

But if I step back I can't help but think that yelling "Why do I have to keep asking, just put your shoes on!" has got to be less hurtful than making a 6 year old feel ashamed because she only wants to wear elastic waist pants, even if it's done in a quiet tone of voice. Heck, it can be done with just a look.

I think there is a continuum to everthing, even things I detest like spanking, within which there are better and worse types. (That is a really bad sentence, but I'm too lazy to think of how better to word it!)
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Old 04-19-2005, 04:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka
...but i have never heard anyone raise thier voice to thier child without having already lost thier temper. Lets face it if they still had everything in check they wouldn't be yelling.
I disagree with this. I know many adults who yell in conversation. I think it’s a temperament and cultural thing and it’s something that I think many children can adapt to and not be damaged as a result.

I’m not suggesting that children can or should adapt to verbal abuse. But, yelling, as a style of communication is not always bad, imo.

I feel I can say this because (although I do yell occasionally) I’m not a yeller. I wasn’t raised with yelling *at all*. It took me quite a while to realize that people who communicate differently than me and my family (the "passionate" yelling types as opposed to the “ever so composed” types) are not any more angry or dysfunctional than me and they are not necessarily more prone to verbal abuse.

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Old 04-19-2005, 06:57 PM
 
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When I am frustrated I do often yell, never insults but stating my feelings. I have been trying to pay attention to this and stay in a space of observance instead of taking on all my feelings. This is because I noticed that I did not feel good inside after my outbursts.
I do apologize and give more cuddles.
I found a book that we read a lot too, it's just perfect.

"Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild!" by Mem Fox

The back cover says, "Harriet Harris doesn't mean to be pesky. Sometimes she just is. And her mother doesn't mean to lose her temper. Sometimes she just does. But Harriet and her mother know that even when they do things they wish they hadn't, they still love each other very much."

My ds actually quotes this book to me now, and we have a good laugh (that's how the book ends)

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Old 04-20-2005, 02:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama
I disagree with this. I know many adults who yell in conversation. I think it’s a temperament and cultural thing and it’s something that I think many children can adapt to and not be damaged as a result.

I’m not suggesting that children can or should adapt to verbal abuse. But, yelling, as a style of communication is not always bad, imo.

I feel I can say this because (although I do yell occasionally) I’m not a yeller. I wasn’t raised with yelling *at all*. It took me quite a while to realize that people who communicate differently than me and my family (the "passionate" yelling types as opposed to the “ever so composed” types) are not any more angry or dysfunctional than me and they are not necessarily more prone to verbal abuse.
Good point, IdentityCrisisMama. My mom was a yeller. That's her personality and her family. She was very GD otherwise. She did not punish or spank. She was not verbally abusive. I don't remember being bothered by the yelling, except maybe occasionally. I'm not so much a yeller by personality, but do find myself yelling at my kids more than I'd like. I'm working on this, but I think it is different when you grew up in a family where yelling was just normal. Hmm...
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Old 04-20-2005, 03:17 AM
 
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I have been thinking about this thread a lot. i was having trouble wrapping my head around how it is the same and different but then it hit me.

Saying that some yelling is ok and other is abusive is like saying some spanking is ok and some is abusive. Some people are even very physical in all they do (we are for one) and its just a cultural thing to be physical in every aspect of relating and even spanking as a form of physical distractin/redirection/conditioning whatever reason. But does that make spanking right? if it doesn't make spanking right then can you use the same argument for yelling. Saying it is just cultural and doesn't do much harm when you occasionally go to far? that is like saying I span my kids for fun (Which I do, there has just always been something great about patting thier little tushies) but if I spanked them with the exact same force fo discipline would it suddenly be wrong? more wrong? what if I was realy frustrated but not angry or abusive? Just simply expressing to them, by smacking thier hiney at the same level I do during play/shows of bootie affection, that I was getting frustrated and wish they woud get it. Now *if* that was acceptable do you suppose it would desensitize me to smacking just a little harder? with a little more frustration? when I lost and whailed on them? Also how do you think they would respond the next time I tried to give them a love pat? wuodl it suddenly be forever associated with the harshness of my frustration and anger? probably so. And I think you can follow the same progression with yeling. It may be a cutural but does that make it right? would it make spanking right? It may ust be your way of expressing yourself but does that desensitize you to your voice level and amount of force in your voice which would make it more easy for you to strike out with your voice in anger? say things you regret? And each time you lose it on your kids what do you think it will do them every time they hear you yell?

So I am not trying to make any judgments here, but why is some yelling ok and some ylling not when all spanking is bad. How is it any different. Bith are things that can be used without abuse or even pain (trust me my kids giggle when I get the spanking machine out - which for the record is a flapping hand. think "walk into this". i also have to "clap off" my 4 year old burping robot, yeah we are idiots )

Ok so you may be thinking she has talked herself right out of this because "love pats" are like "passionate loud speaking" but everyone seems to be justifying the frustrated yeling. the " GET IN THE CAR NOW. I HAVE TOLD YOU 3 TIMES" . but how is that any diferent than someone goign over and taping thier childs behind and calmly saying "get in the car now. I have told you three times" but eveyone would be heartbroken if we were talking about how that was an acceptable way to treat your kids. and yet with yelling it is "oh well we all do that. no harm done"

I thinkt he two are realy similar. and can be compared. And I think a controled unangry spanking is the same as loud forceful speaking to a child. they both say the same thing "you are not doing what you are suppoed to and I am going to get really mad if you don't. I am already losing my patience" or "you will do what I tell you to do and I will make you misreable until you do it" . And that both can easly escalate to abuse easily enough and easty to see. i am not saying either one is right or wrong. that is not my point./ My point is that they are the same. And depending on the child one may be more effective in making them misreable and depending on the parent one may be more likely to lead to abuse. But in the end they are the same thing in attention and their ability to hurt. And I can't see how any yelling on any level is acceptable when spanking on any level is unacceptable. And I guess I have yelled an exclimation in happiness before buteven that has realy upset my child so i try not to ever shout

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Old 04-20-2005, 04:18 AM
 
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I get the gist of what lilyka is saying, but I think ultimately I disagree that there is no difference. I'm tired and about to go to bed, so I don't know if I will explain myself well, but I'll give it a shot.

I don't think anyone is saying that yelling is a great thing to do. I think some people here (myself included) are saying that yelling is not necessarily emotional abuse, and that they don't think it is as harmful as spanking. And as much as I abhor spanking, I personally don't think all spanking is physical abuse. I think all spanking is wrong, but there is a difference, in my mind, between swatting a kid on the butt and beating them senseless with a belt. I would be horrified if I saw a friend do either, but one I would call the cops and the other I wouldn't.

But I think that the issue goes beyond volume of voice. Telling a child in a perfectly normal tone of voice that they are a loser and you hate them because they spilled their milk is emotionally abusive. And I personally think that is much worse than yelling "get in the car!" In a perfect world, I would never yell at my kids. And I have felt horrible after yelling, and I do apologize, and I do wonder what damage I have done.

At this late hour I can't perfectly articulate why using words, even yelling, seems more appropriate to me than physical force, but it just does. Maybe it's just because that's my personality. I am one of those people that tends to be loud and passionate and intense about everything, even when talking with my husband about what to make for dinner. Maybe it's because I'm Italian - my grandparents were always yelling and waving their hands around, but were nothing but kind to us. So for me, hitting my child would be such an act of aggression, something so scary for both of us, that I can't even imagine what that would do to them, or me. But for someone who has a different personality, I can see how they would feel differently about it.

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Old 04-20-2005, 04:58 AM
 
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I’m really not trying to justify yelling at your kids, so if anyone thinks that we’ll have a problem.

See, I don’t yell as part of my normal communication so I can’t describe what I think the difference is.

I do know that I get a bad feeling with an aspect of US culture who don’t yell, are always ‘proper’ and think that protects them from being verbally abusive. I think we have a culture of stifled communication where expressing anger and frustration in an honest way is taboo and I think that’s a problem.

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Old 04-20-2005, 05:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka
I thinkt he two are realy similar. and can be compared. And I think a controled unangry spanking is the same as loud forceful speaking to a child. they both say the same thing "you are not doing what you are suppoed to and I am going to get really mad if you don't. I am already losing my patience"
First, what is wrong with expressing this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka
But in the end they are the same thing in attention and their ability to hurt. And I can't see how any yelling on any level is acceptable when spanking on any level is unacceptable.
I’m saying that I don’t think it’s appropriate to put corporal punishment and yelling in the same box. I’m also saying that I don’t think yelling is the only form of verbal/emotional abuse. I don’t think all yelling is verbal/emotional abuse.

As far as how can one possibly be okay in some situations and not in the other? Well, I have many reasons for that but the first one is that hitting people (other than children) is against the law and yelling isn’t. That’s a simplistic answer and I have more reasons but I’m not sure if the question is rhetorical or not.




I do think I should mention that I am quite sensitive to yelling so my definition of yelling may be a little broader than other people’s.

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