We are a generation of screamers. While many modern parents generally look down upon other parents who spank their children, not nearly as many people recognize the negative impact yelling has on children.
If you are a yeller, take heart and consider physical activity as one means of managing stress to help manage yourself vocally.
Yelling at Children is Most Often Ineffective
Research studies related to yelling and children show that raising our voices is extremely ineffective. Children who are frequently yelled at tend to disengage and tune us out. They become desensitized to the shouting, often heightening the level of decibels, as parents compensate to make themselves heard. The guilt and pain that ensues can leave the parent feeling defeated and the child feeling rejected.
More alarming, the most recent research out of Harvard Medical School suggests that shouting at children can permanently alter the structures of their brains. Presently, we are not even sure of the magnitude of this finding for the long-term as our children grow and mature.
Physical Activity is an Integral Tool for Managing Stress
Exercise increases the “feel good” neurotransmitters in our brains, called endorphins. What many people refer to as a “runner’s high” can be achieved in any number of sports or exercises. Experiment with different physical outlets to find the best fit for you.
Working out allows us to redirect our focus into something positive, rather than focusing on the negative. After a stressful day in the office, decompressing on the treadmill can diffuse some of your stress, before you return to the stresses awaiting you at home.
Exercise increases our self-confidence, combating many of the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. Most parents report they are reduced to yelling when they feel tired, anxious, or irritable. Shouting is often just the loss of emotional control, but exercise can often help put you back in the driver’s seat of your emotions.
Working out with a group or partner allows you a positive venue for sharing with others. Chances are the friend you walk with is struggling with the same parenting issues are you facing with your kindergartner.
Recognize Your Risk Factors for Yelling and Prevent Blowups Before they Happen
Prevent low blood sugar by eating small, regular meals to prevent irritability. Hungriness breeds grumpiness, increasing the likelihood of screaming.
Allow for your own personal time and space as needed, particularly at day’s end. Parenting is a full-time, highly physical and hands-on job, so take a “mommy time out” for even ten minutes if you feel like you are about to explode at the kids.
Exercise regularly to intimately know your body and positively control it, both physically and emotionally. Even a few laps around the park with your toddler in the stroller can provide the necessary change of scenery when you need to get away from the mess in the playroom.
Parenting is a pressure cooker. Given our fast-paced, high-stress modern environment, it doesn’t take much to lose our cool with our kids. Particularly with our overscheduled daily routines, kids have a tendency to pull our strings one too many times, causing some of us to come completely unraveled. Take a deep breath, count to ten, and do twenty jumping jacks in place when you feel the urge to yell. Quite possibly, your kids might laugh at this gesture, causing you to do the same. Perspective is everything.