Another article came out this morning discussing yelling. The author said something to the effect that yelling is being called the “new spanking.” I’ve heard that, too. I think there’s a reason why people label yelling as the “new spanking,” and that’s what I want to rant talk about.

It seems parenting has broken into two camps.
Camp #1
is where parents only yell to correct behavior.

Camp #2 is where parents only rely on warm fuzzy discussions to address all situations.
The problem with both camps is that both ways of parenting prevent a child from digging deep to find his own internal resources of self-control. Both ways of parenting seem to be struggling to figure out how to let the natural consequences of a child’s behavior unfold.

When you prevent a child from experiencing the results of his or her choices, your child uses immature thinking, which is age appropriate, and decides I’m not responsible for monitoring my behavior. I don’t have to learn from my mistakes because my parents do the teaching for me by yelling. No parent wants that. 

Needing to either yell, or have drawn out warm fuzzy discussions for each bit of misbehavior, can become emotionally exhausting. That exhaustion leads to fearing that parenting will always be this way, and causes you to wonder what to do next. Not a fun place to parent from.

There is a way to have it all, but it’s not one size fits all.
I believe both camps can have what they really want, a child who listens, less arguing, no more yelling, less emotional exhaustion, while still remaining connected and addressing feelings. It’s a tall order, but possible.

There is a type of parenting that empathetically holds your child accountable, sets limits, and discusses all the aspects of a situation so your child learns. There is a type of parenting that honors your needs and feelings, while still making sure your child takes responsibility for his or her actions.

One Size doesn’t Fit All
Look, you know your child best. What works for one family does not work for another family.

Are there really parenting solutions that are flexible enough to accommodate the individual needs of parents, children and families, of course there is. This is real life, not theory!

Yelling is born from the frustration of not knowing what else to do. Only relying on warm fuzzy discussions confuses kids and doesn’t allow them to figure out how to succeed, create self-control, or learn the rules and boundaries of everyday life. I believe the best way to parent is to use what I call Honest Parenting.

Honest Parenting doesn’t blame or shame a child for misbehaving.
It honors development, and the wisdom born from experience.

Honest Parenting use authentic authority, and empathetically tells it like it is.
Your child has to trust you. Telling it like it is, including the need to hold them accountable, creates the kind of trust a child needs to feel safe in this world.

Honest Parenting is age appropriate, and guides a child toward self-control and emotional growth.
You can’t create self-control for your child. You can only create situations that cause a child to find their own muscles of self-control.

Honest Parenting creates a fluidity that allows you to address any situation that occurs.
Parenting is the hardest thing you will ever do. Deciding what’s right for your child and family, means understanding the impact of how what you do today, impacts tomorrow.

Honest Parenting allows you to reduce yelling, be empathetic and empowers your authority.
You made unconscious decisions as a child that have begun to appear now that you’re a parent. Understanding what those decisions were, and how to shift them, are the tools needed so you can teach instead of punish.

How?
Honest Parenting uses a wider perspective which leads to using new words, and actions. For over 25 years it’s been my privilege to create programs that use those ideas.
When Development is Dressed as Misbehavior and The Every-Day Solutions Toolbox (for preschoolers) and Being Heard instead of Arguing, and Creating Clarity Replaces Yelling, and Motivating Listening and Cooperation (for ages 5-18)  include the solutions that lead to Honest Parenting.

Yelling Can Not Become Our Parenting Tool of Choice.
In your heart of hearts, sitting right beside the love you have for your child, is the awareness that parenting by yelling is not how you want to parent.

In your heart of hearts, you know that being warm and fuzzy, when you don’t really feel that way, isn’t honest and doesn’t serve your child.

The goal for today’s post was to remind parents that part of parenting means your child will resist you, create power struggles, and will misbehave. But that doesn’t mean you have to rely on yelling or appearing calm and patient when you don’t feel that way. There are ways to honestly be calm, patient and firm all at the same time.

Do you think yelling is the “new spanking?” Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.
We’ll talk again soon,
Now go hug your kids!