You’re at the supermarket and you tell your 8-year-old daughter to stop running around the store. She ignores you and chases her 6-year-old brother down the juice aisle. When you get to the car you tell her what you really wanted to say to her inside the store, “What’s wrong with you?” you shout at the top of your lungs, staring her down, your face clinched. “I can’t even shop in the store without you acting like a wild animal!” you continue to rant. Finally you get it all out and you feel relieved . . . well, sort of. But then you start to feel a little guilty – because you just sounded like a wild animal yourself.
We all get angry with our kids now and then. This is part of child rearing and interacting with one another in a family right? What’s wrong with a little shouting when our children disobey us or make us upset? Of course no one is perfect!
The habit of shouting and yelling at our children as a means of teaching, is something that should be avoided for several reasons, but here are 5 top reasons to avoid yelling at your children.
1. Yelling Does Not Promote Suitable Behavior
When you shout at your child as a means of seeking proper behavior, you are sending a message to her that this is a suitable way to manage upset feelings and of achieving desirable behavior from others. You are your child’s first teacher. If she sees you ranting, she will be more inclined to rant when she is angry with others, as well. This is what she has observed in her home, and this is what she considers to be appropriate. In fact, your child might even determine yelling and shouting as an effective means of achieving what she wants. Who wants to be shouted at? No one does. Being yelled at creates an unsettling and uncomfortable feeling inside of the person at the end of the angry outburst. Many times the person being yelled at will comply with the demands of the one who is shouting. This can reinforce in your child that yelling is a suitable method of getting what she wants from siblings, friends, and sometimes even adult caregivers.
2. Yelling Does Not Promote Positive Behavior
Another reason why shouting at children is not the best way of correcting them is because yelling doesn’t contribute to a positive relationship between parent and child. One of the best ways to help your child obey you, is by developing a loving and caring relationship between your child and yourself. We are all more inclined toward wanting to please those whom we are fond of. Children are no different. When they are spoken to in a respectful and kind manner, their affection and respect for their parent is increased. This provides a quick and easy short-cut to more positive behavior with your child.
3. Yelling Does Not Promote Good Self Esteem
We often hear a lot these days about self-esteem. High self-esteem is associated with children resisting peer pressure, performing their best at tasks given to them, and a host of other desirable behaviors. Shouting at your child is counterproductive to your child developing a positive self-image. Constant and repeated shout downs can actually make your child feel unworthy of be treated properly. He may begin to feel that being “good” is futile, so why even try. Frequent shouting can also contribute to feelings of depression. Depression in children is not uncommon. It can result in poor grades, violent outbursts with siblings and friends, and also contribute to eating disorders.
4. Yelling Does Not Work on Teens
Anyone who has a teenager knows that managing behavior with this age group is much different from managing the conduct of younger children. It often takes more verbal interaction and negotiating skills. Verbal outburst by parents is often completely ineffective with this age group. Parents would be wise to learn effective methods of behavior management that avoid shouting while their children are young. In this way, they will have a repertoire of resources to use when the child reaches their teen years. This can make the years raising teens a lot smoother, insha’Allah.
5. Yelling Does Not Follow the Prophet’s (saw) Way
One of the best reasons why we should avoid shouting at our children is because Prophet Muhammad (saw) set many examples as to how we should interact with our children and the youth around us – shouting isn’t one of them. In fact the hadith show that the Prophet Muhammad (saw) was exceedingly kind and gentle with his children and other youth around him. There is a well-known hadith in which one of his grandsons would climb on his back during salat, salat mind you, and The Prophet (saw) would patiently wait until he had climbed down. There was no mention of his shouting at his grandson for such childhood play. Anas Ibn Malik said,
“I served the Prophet (saw) for ten years, and he never hit me, insulted me or frowned in my face.” (Muslim)
Anas Ibn Malik also relates,
“The Messenger of Allah (saw) was the best of people in character. One day he sent me on an errand. I replied: “’I will not go.” But then, my conscience told me to do as he instructed. But when I came out, I passed by a group of children playing in the street, and I joined them. Later, the Messenger came out and caught me from the back, and I looked at him and saw that he was laughing. He said: “Anas, Did you do as I asked you?” I replied, “I am going, O Messenger of Allah.” (Muslim).
As you can see, shouting at our children is not the best way to achieve their compliance. In fact, it can actually be counterproductive to a loving and caring relationship which fosters appropriate behavior from them. Why not make today a new beginning and try speaking to your child in a gentle voice the next time he/she needs to be corrected. And when you do, keep the following hadith in mind:
It is reported that The Prophet (saw) said, “O Ayisha! There is nothing that has gentleness in it except that it beautifies it, and it is not taken away from anything except that it defiles it”. (Muslim)