A Healthier Approach to Yelling (At Your Kids)

Tuesday April 11, 2017

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been immersed in Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. There have been so many lightbulb moments I’ve turned into a walking Christmas tree. A walking Christmas tree that can’t help talk about this book nonstop to everyone I come across.

One piece of advice has really stuck with me — the necessity of controlling your own tantrums.

Because ho ho ho yes, she is on to us. There’s the stubborn child on one side, and there’s you, the overwhelmed frustrated parent bursting out with “JUST PUT YOUR SHOES ON WE HAVE TO GO.” Or, whatever your yell-y trigger is. (Confession: mine is getting ready in the morning to leave for school.)

Many (many!) other parentings books argue against yelling, of course. Modern parents are expected to maintain this stately, knowledgeable, above-it-all composure. At all times. Must Be Perfect Parent. Which, yes, I think we all would like to be that parent, and there really is no point in yelling because I don’t know about you, but it gets us nowhere. But, being that parent isn’t in the cards for all of us.

Ms. Kurcinka is a bit more realistic (see also: honest). She knows she’s yelled at her kids. She knows you’ve probably yelled at your kids too. But, she writes, there is a right way to yell. A healthier way to yell.

She argues that we have to recognize our own tantrums and deal with them before we can deal with our children.

To do that, she advocates going into a separate room, yelling/screaming into a pillow instead of at your child, and returning once you’ve calmed yourself down.


Plus, it only takes a few seconds. Something about releasing all that frustration and negative energy really helps me refocus and get back into the Civilized Modern Parenting Mindset. And Bean doesn’t have to deal with an angry/scary mommy anymore, which makes her more likely to actually follow directions. And special bonus, no mom guilt for losing it.

Have any of you resorted to this? Be honest; don’t make me feel like the lone crazed mom loon over here.

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