Plum Tree Books Blog

"Where Words Grow On Trees"

Effects of Yelling at Children

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Yelling at a child shows that we, the adults, are out of control of our own emotions.

Children need safe boundaries within which they can explore, make mistakes, try and fail, win, lose and learn. Inquisitive children push boundaries, both physical and emotional. This is necessary if a child is to develop its own identity.

If adults are emotionally dysfunctional, they react when personal boundaries are breached. They lash out and blame the little one.

When an adult is out of control, the little one’s world is rocked; his or her sense of security is destroyed. In that moment, a child stands alone, abandoned, unable to cope; its identity is under threat, made wrong. A child’s will is thwarted, twisted and subverted. Innocence is emotionally raped by the adult’s displaced anger. Emotionally abused children are made responsible for the adult’s rage.

Surrounding reactions shape a child’s developing Psyche. When an adult yells, s/he is saying, “You can’t rely on me. You have pushed me too far. You have the power to do that.”

In this scenario, the adult gives a terrible power to a child, a power which is negative and burdens a little person with responsibility and guilt.

A child should grow up responsibly, rather than growing up believing themselves to be responsible for everyone else’s suffering.

By yelling, we are not demonstrating emotional competence. We are not teaching our children through sound example how to relate equally to distress emotions as well as to positive ones. Obviously, it is more pleasurable to experience joy rather than sadness, calm rather than anger. But all emotions are part of the richness of being human. Anger, when managed rightly, is a power of spirit, a force of change, rocket-fuel to make the world a better place, the power to stand up and be counted. How we relate to and interact with anger makes us either special or deviant.

Yelling at a child demonstrates that an adult is willing to humiliate a little person into submission. Yelling screams rejection and sends the message that the child will only be loved if s/he is compliant. This vulgar display of rage sends destructive signals to a child. It tells the child that the adult is insecure. Rages make an adult untrustworthy. The adult suffers from an infantile ego. Personal distress is projected onto the child. This behaviour teaches children to use the same tactics to dominate and bully others.

There is no excuse. Raising the alarm when a child is in danger is necessary. Shouting an alert is necessary. Yelling abuse is unnecessary. It is an act of a dysfunctional adult who controls through disrespect and immaturity. Such a response will engender nothing but disrespect in return and raise dysfunctional or deeply wounded children whose budding egos have been culled and cracked, broken and scattered.

For this child, the healing journey will be a life-time’s pursuit.

About niamh clune

I love to write in childish rhyme I really do it all the time A Doctor and a Nana too 'Tis on the plum tree that I grew! Before we go any further, I must let you into one of my secrets. When I was little, fairies lived at the bottom of my garden. I used to talk or sing to them quietly (as fairies don't like shouting). And when dew covered the grass and made it glitter and sparkle, I knew the fairies were preparing for a shindig! Everyone knows that when dew is on the grass, fairies have their choice of the most beautiful sparkles imaginable. Fairies might wear peony or iris sparkle. They might wear rose or violet sparkle. Boy fairies wear shamrock and shiny breeches of bark be-dewed and made smooth and slithery ~ great for sliding down mole-hills! Fairies always throw parties in celebration of dew, as fairies love nothing more! They drink it, and it makes them giggle! They wear it, and it makes them shimmer. Dew really is the diamond in the fairy-queen crown. Apart from anything else, dew means it is a new day, and fairies love the time before dawn when they can flit and dart ~ flicker and start; hover and whiz ~ zip and fizz; float and flash ~ make-a-dash; tease and prance ~ skip and dance; hurry and scurry ~ all of a flurry; rush and rail ~ skim, speed and sail! The very best Leprechaun fiddlers play the most lively jigs. Elf harpists pluck at your heartstrings and weave magic in verse. Goblins are, by far, the best drummers, whilst meadow sprites have very high, reedy singing voices ~ almost inaudible to all but the very trained musical ear. Usually appearing on percussion are the cobbler gnomes ~ with a-clink and a-clank, whenever needed, and in perfect time. All in all, fairy gatherings are a sight to see ~ for those able to see them. I spent many an early morning dancing to the tunes of the little people. Very soon, they began to trust me, (Fairies seldom trust humans, as humans do very strange things to fairies and to fairyland), but I could dance a fine jig, pirouette often, sing a long song and recite a poem, all of which is of very great interest to fairies. They taught me some of their ancient secrets about bees and butterflies, worms and magic bears who know such an awful lot about everything. They also taught me secrets about science and the sky, and how to grow up into someone who is wise (wise enough to still believe in fairies). I like to share some of those mysteries with boys and girls (and grown-ups who still have magic in them) who are inquisitive but can also keep a secret. Sssssssssh! Promise you won't tell anyone... Are you ready? Now listen well, to the stories I will tell...

14 comments on “Effects of Yelling at Children

  1. Walking with Beverley
    December 7, 2012

    A great post..so needed THanks!

    Like this

  2. Betty Dravis
    December 7, 2012

    This is so right, Niamh. Thanks for pointing it out. You are making a difference. <3

    Like this

    • ontheplumtree
      December 7, 2012

      Thank you, Betty. Needs to be said, these days, unfortunately.

      Like this

  3. daniheart21
    December 8, 2012

    I think you really drove home the point about abusive yelling here. Perhaps some offered alternatives are also in order. I feel… a parent reading this who is having issues might click away because this seems to serve only to make them feel bad about who they are if they are dysfunctional and are guilty of said behavior. If your goal is to educate and bring about change I think a softer tone and some basic parenting tips might prove much more helpful. Preaching to the choir won’t change anything, and the people who need to hear this will not be receptive to it the way it is written. Just sayin.

    Like this

    • ontheplumtree
      December 8, 2012

      I do offer help to those who ask for it, Dani. And sometimes, you have to make the point strongly to stop something that should countenance no indulgence. I have come across too many children who have been wounded and damaged by this. A blog is a small space, and impossible to say everything all at once. If it causes one person to wake up to what they might be putting their child through, then my conscience is assuaged. You are right, though, there is no use in preaching to the choir. I will take your comment to heart and post the ways in which parents driven to distraction might learn to cope with rage. However, rage is a deep-seated problem and needs more that a blog and a few useful tips!

      Like this

  4. the secret keeper
    December 8, 2012

    A most difficult post to read. Knowing the ramifications from such behavior. A brilliant and concise message that all need to hear and understand. Thank you Niamh. j.k

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  5. the secret keeper
    December 8, 2012

    Reblogged this on the secret keeper and commented:
    Effects of Yelling at Children. This is a particularly sensitive subject for me but I feel the message in this post needs to be communicated to all people who have any contact with children. It does crush a child to be yelled at and makes them feel that they must have done something terribly wrong for someone to shout that way. A child needs nurturing and made to feel safe and foremost that they can depend on their caregivers for protection and not the destruction of their emotional well being. Dr. Niamh Clune has demonstrated in this post a clear understanding of what children need from adults and what happens to those children if they get the opposite of what they need. Well, written and well said. j.k. the secret keeper

    Like this

    • ontheplumtree
      December 8, 2012

      I realise that I have written the post very strongly, Jennifer, perhaps too strongly. I have painted a picture of what happens to a child and have not been sympathetic to the adults who are raging. I understand that an enraged person needs healing and love, also. But this was not the purpose of this particular blog.

      Like this

  6. the secret keeper
    December 8, 2012

    i didn’t feel your post was too strong. Memories were surfacing while i was reading it. The child here needs taken care of, the adult is for another post entirely. Rage in an adult needs working on. If there is a child involved, then it cannot wait. You did an insightful post within the parameters of your subject: a child and/or children being yelled at. It has to be stopped. Thank you for your concern. You did a fantastic post. Jennifer

    Like this

  7. thiskidreviewsbooks
    December 8, 2012

    Wow. Great, meaningful post. :)

    Like this

  8. Patricia Tilton
    December 12, 2012

    A very important post! Children are so fragile and added stress from an out of control adult can be so damaging!

    Like this

  9. patriciasands
    December 16, 2012

    So. Very. True. Yelling at anyone is totally unacceptable and particularly children!

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