Family Magazine

Like I've Said: Yelling Doesn't Work!

By Joanigeltman @joanigeltman
If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, yelling doesn't work. Here's an excerpt from a recent research project that explains why:

"The study followed 976 Pennsylvania 13- and 14-year-olds and their parents for the 7th and 8th grade years, and found that the depression or poor behavior increased in the children who were exposed to harsh verbal discipline. Instead of serving to remedy the issue, verbal discipline tactics seemed to provoke the unwanted behavior." "Adolescence is a very sensitive period when [kids] are trying to develop their self-identities," study leader Ming-Te Wang told the Wall Street Journal. "When you yell, it hurts their self image. It makes them feel they are not capable, that they are worthless and are useless." I get it, we all lose it sometimes, and yelling becomes the default reaction when our frustration button has been pressed one too many times. This research is not really talking about the "I can't take it anymore" moments. Some parents are control-freaks. There, I said it. And if you are a control freak than Adolescence will be a huge challenge for you. Because teens are biologically driven during this stage to also be major control-freaks. They are planting those feet firmly on the ground and letting you know that they want to take control over their own lives. Control can be shared, and should be shared. How else does one prepare a teen for the real world when they will be faced with multiple decisions on a daily basis.  Yelling as a default parenting style may give you the illusion of control, but in fact it is the absence of control. Not only that, but it makes your teens feel bad. And when teens feel bad, they take those feelings out of your house and into their lives. The findings of this study are powerful explanations for some of the acting out and aggressive behavior, depression. anxiety seen in many teens. When your teens were younger yelling may have worked. They were afraid of you, wanted to please you, and didn't know yet that it will be fun to do just the opposite of what their parents want.  It is the process of defining who they are and how they are different from you. This can sometimes feel disrespectful, and hurtful. Reframe it to normal, and it will feel alot better. If you want your teen to stop being disrespectful and bratty, you have to blink first! Your teen has learned how to bait you, and being a well-trained seal, you jump for the bait. When you get that pit in your stomach after you have asked your teen to do something, get something and say something, and their response is surly, disrespectful or he/she completely ignores you, don't jump for the fish. Yelling here willnot not not not not not not not........ get them to do whatever it is you want!!!!!! GET IT!! Look them straight in the eye, give them a head shake and a shoulder shrug and WALK....A....WAY. Done! When they come to you for a ride, money, help with homework, laundry for school the next day, you give them that same head shake, shoulder shrug, and walk away, with a "I would have, cause I love to do things for you, but we don't seem to be on the same page today about helping each other." And that is it. Do not say another word. Don't get sarcastic, don't have a "tone" in your voice. Stay neutral. Now this doesn't mean you don't speak to your teen for the rest of the day. It just means that the favor-doing, ride-giving, laundress is off-duty for the rest of the day. Just that day. Every day is a new day. And who knows, maybe tomorrow will be a better one.!

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