The simple answer is “NO”. It is never OK to shout at your kids because if you do, what kind of a parent are you?
But the reality is, life is not so simple. It does get complicated and I am guilty of shouting at my kids. Extremely guilty because when I spiral out of control push comes to shove, I scream my head off that even I scare myself sometimes.
In my defense as a helpless parent (sometimes), there’ll always be occasions when the kids are just asking to be screamed and shouted at. It’s like they enjoy seeing their mother losing her head as smokes come out of her ears and nostrils!
Then, there’s the guilt.
So, yeah..sometimes it is unavoidable and it is a story like this from Fieldnotes From Fatherhood that makes a parent like me (and perhaps several others) feel normal!
And so it went that morning.
“G, why are you still in your pajamas?”
“G, please put down the Legos and eat your breakfast.”
“G, you need to get dressed now.”
“G, it’s not time to play with your airplane, you need to get ready.”
“Have you brushed your teeth yet?”
It was this last matter that caused me to become unhinged, to unleash my fatherly fury on his poor unfortunate head. I come downstairs after brushing my teeth, and he’s seated at the dining room table, in his pajamas, with a toothbrush in his mouth like it’s a lollipop and his hands busy building a Lego gun.
Now, I don’t like shouting at my kids, and I certainly don’t enjoy making them cry. I try, sometimes desperately, not to raise my voice at them. I try to model good behavior, as we all know we should. But this pushed me beyond all the limits of my patience, composure, endurance, sanity. At times when I’m pissed at the kids my voice will start off mellow and slow, gradually gaining volume and momentum like a snowball set rolling on a steep slope, as the gravitational force of my own argumentation adds layer upon layer of furor. Not this time. This time I started out at full avalanche ferocity.
Excellent story, and a great lesson too. reminds me of my daughter at around that age who declared that I went from level 1 straight to level 5 (of crossness) with no warning. Well I thought I was giving her plenty of reminders and hints, but I clearly wasn’t. So from then on I began actually using the numbers, “I’m getting to number 3 now!” – and it helped us both through that stage.
It was a great suggestion and I’ll have to remind myself to do that!