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Screaming Is the New Spanking? Really?

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A New York Times article says we are Generation Yell.

mother scolding her daughter

Vivian Manning-Schaffel: An article in the New York TimesNew York Times today pondered how "screaming is the new spanking."

Apparently, it's not the act of screaming, but the tone of the scream that causes the damage: "It isn't the yelling per se that's going to make a difference, it's how the yelling is interpreted," said Ronald P. Rohner, director of the Ronald and Nancy Rohner Center for the Study of Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut. If a parent is simply loud, he says, the effect is minimal. But if the tone connotes anger, insult or sarcasm, it can be perceived as a sign of rejection."

I get this. It totally sucks to get yelled at! Especially if you are a vulnerable and impressionable young person. Parents are responsible for controlling themselves -- no doubt.

But to try and curtail ALL yelling? Is that realistic? Why don't they just give my kids permission to bind me to a chair and secure my mouth with duck tape? Seriously, what's a parent to do? Isn't your parents' disapproval ... well ... part of being a kid? Do we need to check ourselves for every single transgression? What's normal here?

The piece says our generation yells because we are notorious overachievers and multi-taskers. Basically, if our kids' delinquencies, real or imagined, throw a monkey wrench in our program, we have a tendency to lose our sh*t verbally because we can't hit.

To prevent losing your sh*t, the experts cited in the article recommend taking precautionary measures to circumvent your stress: "If forgotten homework sends you into the stratosphere, make sure the children have their books and notebooks packed and waiting by the door before they go to bed. If you're stressed and hungry after a long day at the office, make sure you grab something to eat in the kitchen before you tackle, say, a brewing disagreement over Legos."

HUMPH.

Now, don't get me wrong. I hate it when I shout. But no matter how many lunches you stay up until 1am to pack, and no matter how many Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Clusters you stuff in your face, most normal loving parents (not the verbally abusive kind) yell, because kids aren't the greatest of listeners, and their ability to ignore your simple requests as if you cease to exist can drive the most mild-mannered momma to raise her voice to deafening timbres on occasion. It's part and parcel of parenthood.

Within reason.

What do you guys think?



next: Why Are You YELLING?
7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anna October 23, 2009, 11:44 PM

What about using natural consequences? Make your kid responsible for remembering their own homework. If they forget it, they will pay the price the next day. I was one of those kids who had to go to school in my PJs one day because I was too slow changing into my clothes. First and last time!!

MarMar October 27, 2009, 7:29 AM

No spanking, I can see. No verbal abuse - well, that’s a no-brainer. No EXCESSIVE yelling, I can understand. But no yelling AT ALL?! What the heck are we supposed to do? Sometimes the only way I can get my six-year-old to behave is with a raised voice, usually addressing her by her full name. It tells her I mean business. Is there any advice on what to do INSTEAD?! Or is this just another brilliant idea to make moms feel bad about themselves yet again? Sheesh. I’m with you, Viv.

wendy October 29, 2009, 12:55 PM

i hope my kids learn from their mistakes and if that means i need to yell at them for something every now and then i dont think they are going to need therapy as an adult because of it!

GREGGDARBY December 3, 2009, 12:53 PM

I AM MR MOM WITH 5 KIDS AND I DO NOT YELL.
I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS A CHILD SEEING ADULTS YELL AND SCREAM AND HOW IGNORANT IT MADE THEM LOOK. I DETERMINED AT AN EARLY AGE NOT TO BEHAVE THAT WAY. PEOPLE SAY I AM THE MOST PASSIVE PERSON THEY HAVE EVER MET. THAT IS NOT TRUE. I JUST AVOID DRAMA. YOUR KIDS ARE NOT DEAF JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE ANGRY. IF YOU CAN’T GET YOUR POINT ACROSS IN A NORMAL VOICE WHAT GOOD IS EXTRA VOLUME. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO MAKE AN IMPRESSION WHISPER OR TALK ABOUT IT TO A FRIEND AND PRETEND YOU DON’T WANT YOUR CHILD TO HEAR.

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