I Yell At My Children to Avoid Spanking Them. Am I Hurting Them Worse?

When I was growing up, the motto our parents followed was that if you spared the rod, you spoiled the child. So, my mother was sure to exercise her right to hit us whenever she deemed it to be necessary. My brothers and I had to pick our own switches off of trees, dodge flying shoes and slippers and run from extension cord whippings.

When I got married and had my own children, I vowed not to be a mother and parent who was quick to be physically punitive with my kids. I didn’t want to repeat old patterns and cycles because I felt that what my mother put me and my brothers through was borderline abusive. I have a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old who work my nerves beyond belief and always to the max. They are constantly conspiring to push my buttons and oftentimes bring me to the brink of wanting to lay hands on them, but instead, I yell.

I Yell At My Children to Avoid Spanking Them. Am I Hurting Them Worse?
A child and his mother put their hands in the dough (Photo: Getty Images)

Yes, I’m a yeller. And I find myself constantly yelling and screaming at the tops of my lungs, which is unnerving for my husband and anyone else who happens to be present. My cousin is a psychologist and has been a witness to some of my yelling matches with the kids. She quotes from her medical journals and books and tells me that yelling at my kids can be equally as damaging as laying hands on them. She says that yelling activates a feeling of danger in the brain and that it’s impossible for the child to learn when they’re stuck in that space.

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My cousin and husband had a sit-down talk/intervention with me last weekend and proposed that I let my husband handle disciplining our kids moving forward. They asserted that I have been doing an outstanding job, but that my stress levels are far too high and that I’m constantly agitated by the kids’ behaviors. I don’t agree at all with what they’re saying and feel that they are trying to insinuate that I am bullying my children.

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Should I stand my ground and continue with my yelling sprees or relinquish control and allow my husband to become the disciplinarian?

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