Stop Yelling!

What Women Really Think
Oct. 28 2009 3:32 PM

Stop Yelling!

I grew up in a household in which the normal mode of verbal interaction started at banshee and escalated to supersonic, so I was interested in the New York Times piece " Shouting is the New Spanking " that KJ wrote about last week . The article says that yelling at children is becoming as socially unacceptable as whacking them. I agree that regular shouting is ineffective and counterproductive. Just think of your reaction when you’re in public and you see a parent screaming at a kid. Even if you don’t know what the offense was that set off mom or dad, you recoil at seeing an adult so out-of-control. And the yelling just leaves an aftermath of gloom and resentment over the whole family. I’ve made a conscious effort over the years to reduce what was becoming habitual voice-raising. And whenever I hear my own decibel level increase, I’m aware that I’ve just damaged my authority. This doesn’t mean I never lose it (and I think it’s important for kids to understand that people can get really mad at each other and then make up), but I’ve found that when a raised voice is a rare occurence, your child hears you much better.

Emily Yoffe is a regular Slate contributor. She writes the Dear Prudence column.