Why Yelling at Your Kids Can Be a Good Thing
I talk to so many moms who experience shame and guilt after yelling at their kids. I’ve been there. I so get it.
It doesn’t feel good to yell, no matter how horrific your children may be acting.
Recently, something interesting happened: My kids were being loud, silly, and uncooperative as I was trying to get them fed, dressed, and out the door for school. I lost it. I yelled so loud my lungs hurt.
But rather than experience guilt, I felt a sense of compassion for myself. “Wow, I’m really dysregulated,” I thought.
I think it helped that the day prior, I’d met with a mom who was tearful on my coach, expressing so much guilt for losing her patience so much with her own kids lately.
We talked about the window of tolerance, how when we’re stressed and outside that window of tolerance, we’re more apt to lose our cool and react to stress in ways we regret.
In these moments, we need more self-care and ways to re-regulate our nervous systems.
When we aren't regulated, our kids (and other around us) are susceptible to matching our dysregulation, creating even more chaos. (That's why the best way to manage a child's meltdown is to regulate your nervous system first, before trying to calm the child).
Now, rather than experience guilt for yelling, I recognize my need to take some time to regulate my nervous system. I’ve been better lately at practicing what I preach–using mindfulness tools to stay grounded.
But some weeks are busy, and we get off track. This happens so often for moms.
When we yell, rather than experience guilt, we can choose to see it as a signal that our nervous system has become dysregulated. We can then take action to reground ourselves through simple mindfulness tools and moments of self-care.
Once grounded, we can then repair with our kids: “I’m sorry I yelled like that. I felt very overwhelmed and didn’t handle it the way I would have liked. Now that I am feeling calmer, let’s talk about why I got upset.”
When we’re able to ground ourselves and repair with our kids from a place of calm, we teach them so many great life lessons:
- Nobody is perfect, not even super moms
- We all make mistakes
- A range of emotions is normal
- We can take responsibility for our actions
- We can communicate to repair issues in relationships
- Apologies go a long way
- Life, emotions, and relationships are always in ebb and flow
Yelling doesn’t feel good for anyone, but going into a shame spiral isn’t helpful either.
Next time you yell, see it as a sign and use the opportunity to take better care of yourself so that you can move on to more tender moments with your kids.
Do you need more tools for regulating your nervous system and staying grounded?
I’ve compiled some of my favorite tools and guided meditation here.