Yelling Works... Temporarily

If you aren’t a regular visitor of our TheSource4Parents.com page, then you might have not noticed a candid little article I just wrote in the WEEKLY PARENTING HELP box on the front page. Several times a month we add a new article to our front page with exactly what the title says, “Parenting Help.” (If “weekly” isn’t enough, then you’ll notice that we have an entire page of PARENTING HELP easily accessible from the ARTICLES, HELP & ADVICE dropdown menu at the top of the page.)

So, this week, the page features a brand new article of mine titled, Yelling Works… Temporarily.

Here’s a snippet:  (or jump to the actual article and share it, like it, rate it, or add a comment)

My daughters were monsters this weekend!

No, not Lady Gaga fans (Gaga calls her fans her “little monsters”), but literal monsters! My daughters we grumpy, mean and at each other’s throats every second.

We tried to intervene but it did no good.

“Ashley, please stop talking to your sister that way.”

“Don’t talk to me, talk with Alyssa, she’s the one being the jerk!”

This, of course, catalyzed a retort from Alyssa. “Who’s the idiot that just borrowed my shirt without asking for the 10th time!”

Nothing was working. They were on a rampage.

The question is always, how to respond. As a guy with an Irish temper, I always have to be careful. The easy route is to simply raise my voice to a painful volume and yell, “That’s it! Shut up right now or you’re both gonna be doing yardwork until midnight!”

It works, mind you. They actually will be quiet when I do that. But yelling is a temporary fix if you think about it. It gets you what you want for the moment. When I yell, my girls know I’ve had enough. They know I’m serious. They don’t want to poke Papa-Bear at this point. But unfortunately, yelling is just a short-term solution. Within a minute several things happen:

  • My girls are both mad at me for yelling at them.
  • I’m feeling guilty.
  • They don’t even see their own inappropriate behavior anymore because they are too busy focusing on my angry outburst.

Oh yeah… yelling has one other cancerous result: my wife is now disappointed in me! (Is there anything worse? Not in my house. Disappointment is the ultimate punishment. I’d take “anger” any day.)

Maybe that’s just me. Perhaps no one else is ever tempted to just bark out a fatal, “shut up!!” at times. But for those of you who, like me, struggle with how to respond to hormonal teenage girls on rampage, I’m slowly learning a few truths…

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About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over a dozen books including the new Get Your Teenager Talking, The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket, The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenager, and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation, and the 10-Minute Talks series. Jonathan speaks and trains at conferences, churches and events across North America, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan and his wife Lori, and their three teenagers Alec, Alyssa and Ashley live in California.
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