What Happens When Dad Yells And How To Stop Being A Yeller

Dad’s yelling seems to be an instinctive response to when something has gone bad. It just comes out. When your kid misbehaves, raising your voice sometimes happens. But when dad yells we know that sometimes it can be at mom too. Yelling helps nothing.

Your anger and inability to communicate without raising your voice can negatively affect your kids in ways that you probably haven’t considered.

Is It Normal For Dads To Yell?

What’s normal? Every family is unique, and every father is different. I will say that the average dad probably yells more than he would like. Constant yelling isn’t normal. Yelling at your kids’ daily isn’t normal. It’s verbal abuse, and it affects everyone in the family. If you’re yelling daily, then you need to seek some help to stop.

Why Does Dad Yell?

There are several reasons dad yells. Did he grow up in a family where his dad yelled at him or his mother or another family member? If so, then that contributes to his yelling. Children learn from their parents.

Another reason is that sometimes dads have had a hard day at work and are just fed up. I’m not condoning the behavior by any means, but it happens. Stress, frustration and fatigue can bring out the worst.

when dad yells

Negative Effects of Dads Yelling

I’m sure the reasoning most dads used to justify verbal hostility is they want to get their point across. There is a lot of research out there showing how dad shouting at his kids negatively affects them physically and emotionally in the short-term and long-term.

Here’s how.

Yelling Can Change Your Child’s Brain

In 2011, a study found that exposure to parental verbal abuse negatively affects the grey matter in the brain’s section, called the superior temporal gyrus (STG). The reason the STG is important is that it’s where the auditory cortex is located. The auditory cortex is where the brain processes and sorts sound. That includes everything from a car horn, birds singing to music, and verbal communication. When this area is affected by yelling, it means that your child will struggle to communicate.

Yelling Can Affect Long-Term Health

We know that when dad yells; it causes stress for your kids. We’ve seen that it can cause issues with how the brain processes sound, but did you know it can also trigger chronic health issues? In 2011, researchers found that childhood stressors, like yelling, can lead to poor health as they age. They found these children were more likely to experience vascular disease, autoimmune disease, and even untimely death.

Other research shows a link between childhood abuse and persistent pain, like headaches and arthritis.

It Can Lead To Worse Conduct

Teenage years are tough for most kids. Just get through the day-to-day can be a challenge. It’s even harder for kids who have a dad that yells, A study done in 2012, and it found that yelling was one type of abuse that led to long-term health consequences.

These issues include drug use, mental disorders, suicide, and hazardous sexual behavior that led to sexually transmitted diseases.

If you’re using yelling as a deterrent or to change behavior, stop. A 2013 study found that yelling led to even more destructive behavior and depressive behavior in adolescents.

Yelling Is Not Communicating

Yelling is the least effective form of communication, according to Jessie Shepherd, LCMHC. She says that it creates a “fight or flight” reaction in your child. Their only instinct in that mode is survival, not understanding the reason you yelled. That could lead to even more yelling.

So if you’re yelling to get your point across, you’re just wasting your breath. Calm down and talk to them about why you’re upset.

It Scares Them

A child needs to feel love and safety from their father. They need to know that dad is there for them. When their father screams at them, it’s an enormous shock to their system.

I’ve already written about how what my daughter said to me when I yelled at her. It shattered me and I deserved it. I scared her. Even though it’s been a few years now since that day, I still think about it. At that moment, she deserved a better dad, and I let her down.

Yelling Becomes The Norm

If dad yells all the time, then that can lead to his kids being okay with yelling too. No one wants to live in a house where yelling is standard. How good of a relationship can you have with your family then? Remember, children model what they see.

How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids

As you’ve read, dad’s yelling has a significant negative effect on his kids. Let’s talk about some ways to break the habit of yelling and avoid it all together. Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step.

Identify Triggers

Every dad has a trigger. Something that sets him off and he snaps.

The best way to stop yelling is to understand why you yell. If you are a dad who yells a lot, you probably have some recent memory of yelling at your family. What caused it? Was it a dirty room, or not doing what you told them to do? Identify it and be mindful of it. Next time the situation comes up.

You can do this in a minute.

Try To Remove Stressors

People who are happy and calm don’t yell. When you’re stressed, things can snowball.

Being a dad is hard. Imagine a bad day at work followed by a long commute home. There are plenty of chances for your anger to build before you get home. The last thing you want is to be a ticking time bomb when you walk in the door.

Jobs, money, marriage all affect your happiness. Determine what your stressors are and try to minimize or remove them.

Take A Moment

Many times, screaming is a heat-of-the-moment reaction. So try not to be so reactive.

Take a deep breath or walk into another room. Do whatever you need to do to give yourself a minute. When you come back, you will probably still be upset, but you might not be angry. Kids can better deal with you when you’re upset and not fuming.

Don’t let your anger get the best of you.

Get Down On Their Level

This especially works with small children. If you bend down and look them in the eye, you’ve gotten their attention. From there, talk in your normal voice. Calmly explain what’s wrong and what they need to do to fix the situation.

This also works because you might yell at your kids from another room or from a few feet away, but you are less likely to yell when you are face to face with them.

Slow Down

Dr. Justin Coulson, Ph.D. says that “fast is slow and slow is fast“. What he means by that is that when dad yells, it’s a fast reaction to get a fast result. But your child becomes scared and out of sorts.

This leads to them slowly responding to the issue at hand. They need time to calm down and process.

By slowly talking to them, they can take in the information you’re giving them and act more quickly. When they don’t have an emotional reaction to your emotional reaction, the problem gets solved sooner and healthier.

Imagine Someone Else Is Watching

We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve seen another dad yelling at their kid. Think about how strange that makes you feel when you see someone just lose it and the dad yells.

Dr. Coulson also recommends imagining someone else is there with you watching. It could be someone like your mom. How would they react to seeing you scream at your kids? If you don’t think your mom would be happy to see her son yell at her grandkids, do you think you should do it?

Probably not.

Lay The Ground Rules

If your kids know what the rules of the house are, that gives them a framework to work off. If they know what’s okay and what’s not okay, then that sets boundaries for behavior.

These rules won’t always be followed, of course, but where there is a reason for correcting or punishing them, it won’t come as a surprise. The last thing you want is for your child to not know what’s allowed and what’s not.

Set Expectations For Yourself

It’s important to realize just what your child is. Are they a toddler, in school, a teenager, or out of the house?

The reason it’s important to do this is you wouldn’t expect the same thing from a toddler that you would expect from a 10-year-old or even a teenager. You wouldn’t expect a 2-year-old to know that it’s wrong to paint the walls of your house with a Crayon, but you would a 13-year-old.

If you can think about this when the moment comes up, then you can remind yourself of just what you expect and act accordingly.

Give Warnings

Using warnings is a valuable tool to prevent yelling. Warnings act as a reminder and sometimes that’s all that your kids need. Giving a warning also allows for dad to stay informed on the situation.

Take the example of your kid needing to clean their room. You tell them they need to clean it and if they don’t, you’ll take away their video games.

You’ve reminded them what they needed to do and the consequences of them not doing it.

That’s parenting.

Make Sure Everyone Gets Plenty Of Sleep

Days are long. They’re even longer for tired people. The stress of being exhausted can lead to emotional outbursts.

Dads can tell when their kids are tired by the way they look and the way they act. If you pick up on that, your kid is tired, cut them some slack and make sure they get plenty of sleep.

Even if it means going to bed early.

That goes for dad too. Go to bed early so you can wake up rested tomorrow. A rested parent and a rested child are less likely to have problems.

It’s a win/win.

How To Discipline Your Child Without Yelling

You may think ok but now what?

How do you discipline your child without yelling?

My dad used to tell me he couldn’t make me do something, but he could make me wish I had. He said he heard it from his dad and his dad probably heard it from his father. I never once feared that he would hit me, but I understood that there were consequences for my action or inaction.

Actions Have Consequences

We touched on this prior, but they need to know and be reminded that actions have consequences. Not sometimes, but every time.

In our house, our kids are supposed to clean their spots after they eat. That means they are required to bring their plates, silverware, and cups to the sink or dishwasher. They are then supposed to spray and wipe down their spots, vacuum under their chair, and push their chair in when they’re done.

They had gotten careless with this. It was partially my fault for letting them get away with it. We talked about it and I told them that if they didn’t clean up after themselves, they would lose their Nintendo for a day.

It goes back to the old “I can make you wish you had” warning my dad had given me.

They did a good job for a day, then the second day they slipped and I took their Nintendo. After getting back on track for that Nintendo-less day, they got their games back. A few days later, they slipped up again and again I took their Nintendo.

It took about a week for them to be cognizant of what’s expected of them and so far we haven’t had any other mistakes. However, I know we will again, and when we do, they’ll lose their Nintendo again.

Take Away A Privilege Or Item

I got grounded some as a kid. I know I’m not the only one. As a kid, I lost toys and as a teenager; I lost TV or phone time. It didn’t kill me and it won’t kill your kids either.

Whatever behavior you’re trying to improve, you need to make it as important to them as it is to you. Grounding is a good way to do that.

Talk It Out

Explain to them what the problem is, and why you’re upset. Talk to them and let them talk to you. Listen. Children want to be heard. This is ultimately the most mature way to handle a problem and it will help them learn how to communicate their problems with people who aren’t dad.

Remind them of what the rules are and how they broke them.

Reinforce Positive Behavior

When your kid does something good, be sure to point it out and applaud them for it. If you are going to discipline poor behavior, then you should commend them for good behavior and helpful attitudes.

Brag on them. It will make them feel good and that’s better than the alternative.

Fatherhood is hard. No one ever said it was going to be easy.

If you care about being a good dad, you’re going to have regrets. There are going to be times when you, as a dad, yells that you’re going to wish you hadn’t.

When that happens, realize it’s a mistake and apologize. If you want your kids to say they’re sorry when they mess up, then they need to see you do it too.

You will not be perfect. You’re still going to make mistakes, but try to learn from them and get a little better every day.

Over time, that will help lead to a strong relationship between father and child.

Remember, it’s not you against your child, it’s you and your child against the problem.

Be there for them. That’s what dads are for.

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