I have to admit, I get a little hot under the collar when my daughters ask me that question in their "you are really, really crazy" sarcastic tone.
Dr. Janet Taylor: The irony of the moment is that I am a pretty calm person, and my "yelling" at them is typically a raised voice, but certainly not screaming. This is not how my own mother would correct, scold, or berate me; that is why I typically don't go off on my girls. The second ironic fact: my "yelling" is in response to an act that they did. It's amazing how expert kids are at turning things around.
An article in the New York Times today highlighted the conflict that arises around how to discipline our children and teens. Do we spank or scream, or neither? Spanking or screaming can indicate a loss of control, but there is also this concept of benign neglect. You have to do something to teach your kids about proper behavior -- however, you don't want your own response to be so negative that the teachable moment floats by.
Is screaming the new spanking?
The article stated that two-thirds of moms feel more guilty about screaming than any other behavior. Considering the fact that psychological aggression (yelling, screaming, or threatening) can be just as damaging as physical aggression to your children, should we feel more guilty about the decibels that we project? Maybe ...
Studies indicate that children who are subject to ongoing psychological aggression display higher rates of delinquency and psychological problems. More data indicates that the long-term effect is related to the age of the child and age of the parent.
Most parents expect to be able to have the parental right or freedom to inflict some sort of consequence for misbehavior or acting out in a disrespectful way. Isn't that parenting?
Well, actually it's not. Parenting is more than policing -- parenting is (on many levels) acting, as child psychologist Selma Fraiberg stated, as a partner. Whoa!!! You are probably thinking that the last thing most parents need to be is their child's friend. Big difference -- read on.
As parents, we are partners in the moral, physical, and psychological development of our children. That cannot happen when we berate, beat, or ignore them. The key is to focus on the behavior, and not overly criticize or blame, but work toward an understanding of the problem.
I know, easier said than done.
|Dr. Janet Taylor is an Adult Psychiatrist in Private Practice in Chelsea (NYC). A consumer health strategist and certified life coach, her company, Mind Projects, Inc., specializes in corporate stress management and multicultural health strategies. Dr. Taylor has a column, "Ask Dr. Janet" in Family Circle magazine and is a frequent expert on national television. She lives with her husband and four daughters in Chappaqua, New York.|