I Yelled at My Kids

By: Mark Brandenburg Ma, Cpcc

I really hadn't meant to yell. But the aftermath
of it lay before me. My son was a wimpering mess
on the floor and my daughter sat statue-like on
the chair in front of me.

As I sat there considering my next move, it
occurred to me that I needed to do something
The deafening sound of silence reminded all of us
that an ugly moment had just occurred. And a voice
inside me continued to insist that my kids were at

"OK, you two, I'm sorry I yelled like that, what a
dumb thing to do!" As I moved toward my son, it
became evident that he wanted no part of me. "Get
away from me!" he shouted.

I thought better of telling him not to yell at me,
so I did the only thing I could think of doing.
"Crabby Daddy is back," I proclaimed as I
transformed my hands into pincers and crawled in
crab-like fashion towards them. "I love to yell at
children, then eat them!"

My son continued to yell at me to go away, but now
he was laughing and crying simultaneously. My
mission to undo the damage my yelling had caused
was underway. I’d been able to recover quickly
this time, but I knew that this moment would be
remembered for awhile.

Most importantly, I wanted to remember what had
really happened.

What happened was that I wasn’t
disciplined. I failed to control my emotions in a
way that my children could emulate.

Were my children misbehaving? Absolutely. Is there
a part of me that wants to blame them and let them
know how badly they were acting? No question. But
this is the part of me that serves my ego. It
shows my children how to avoid responsibility and
blame others. It’s not my “best self."

And it’s our best self which we must always search
for when we’re with our children.

Our kids don’t need perfect parents, and they
won’t get them. But they do need parents who
strive to get better. I’m reminded of the words of
Emerson, who said, “When a man lives with God, his
voice shall be as sweet as the murmur of the brook
and the rustle of the corn."

If in our lifetime we could speak to our kids with
a voice this sweet, it would be enough.

But until we reach this level, what should we do
after we yell at our kids?

Here are five ideas:

1.Recover quickly – Recovering emotionally (or
faking your recovery) will make it much easier on
your children and show them how to be resilient

2.Apologize, but don’t overdo it – It’s important
to say you’re sorry, but don’t dwell on it and
don’t show signs of pity. This will help create a
victim of your child faster than the drop of a

3.Avoid finding ways to blame them – It’s
incredibly easy to blame your kids when you’re
angry. It’s OK to say, “When I saw you hit your
brother I felt angry," but avoid saying, “You made
me angry." You’re responsible for your own
anger—teach this to your children.

4.Process the incident with them – Children can
be traumatized by yelling, and it helps to talk
about what happened for each of them. Ask them
questions about it and allow them a chance to talk
about it if they’d like.

5.Don’t beat yourself up about it – You don’t
have to envision your kids twenty years from now
telling their therapist how you screwed up their
life! Kids are pretty resilient and they’ll
recover, especially if you follow these steps and
keep working on yourself.

While we’re not perfectFind Article, we can still search for
the voice as “sweet as the murmur of the brook and
the rustle of the corn."

It might even keep your kids out of the
therapists’ chair.

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