Yelling at Kids – The Good, Bad and Ugly

It is difficult to find a parent who did not, at some point of time yell at their kid. It is a common complaint of the parent – They won’t listen until I raise my voice. So well, yelling at kids is really not a rare phenomenon.

With kids throwing tantrums, whining, demanding, and generally misbehaving, the yelling seems not only tempting but rather understandable as well.

Why yelling is bad

However there is the concern that yelling at kids is bad for them; that it will cause that irreparable damage to the child.

There is the view expressed by some experts that yelling can cause long term damage to a child’s emotions and perhaps even impede a child’s progress and development.

In a number of cases, the yelling goes over into abusive behavior – there can be mockery, ridicule, name calling and the sort of yelling that destroys self confidence and then the possible consequences on a growing mind become obvious.

Though it is a little convenient to blame everything on one’s parents, a lot of emotional issues, self esteem and body image issues, and behavioral problems can be traced back to the sort of relationship a person had with their parent when growing up.

There is also the practical problem that yelling at kids teaches them that it is OK to yell at others; and OK to ‘let off steam’ in a stressful situation by such yelling. The child then learns not to listen unless yelled at – he or she tunes out normally pitched voices.

Also when a child is frequently subject to yelling you are then likely to have child who yells back at you and also at others – this is what he learnt from the parent after all.

Yelling may not be really so bad for kids

Now there are many experts who dismiss claims that yelling will cause irreparable damage to the child. After all we all got yelled at as kids and most of us turned out OK did we (more or less)? Obviously here we speak of the sort of yelling that does not amount to abusive behavior.

Some moderate amount of yelling at a regular, well adjusted kind of child (not one who is overly or unusually sensitive) will probably not cause them any permanent damage or emotional deprivation, is the practical view taken by at least some experts.

According to this view, parents need not feel all guilty or beat themselves up over each yelling infraction that they succumb to when disciplining their child. In fact there may even be something positive in a parent occasionally yelling at a child – it can teach a child a valuable lesson in learning to cope with negative emotions that they encounter in others.

Bottom line – yelling at kids

So perhaps parents can take heart that the occasional expression of frustration, yelling will probably not permanently mar their child – parents are humans after all and being a parent is a tough job.

But each parent has to remember that humiliation or insults or name calling should never form part of that yelling. Also when calm, the parent must explain to the child the reason for the yelling, and make sure that the child is not sad and confused as a result.


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