Welcome to my page today. Thank you for coming. We suffered another break yesterday. Please bear with my infirmities in keeping up some times. I believe things can only get better.
Today I continue the journey we began a while ago. Here is the 5th Commandment of Rights-Based Communication with children: Do not make yelling a habit.
I have the tendency to yell a lot. I was brought up with yelling. My mother yelled at me at every slight opportunity, so was my father. The yelling was usually followed with a slap on the face or at the back. It was typical for both of them to begin the process of ‘correction’ with yelling.
Now, as an adult, it has been a very difficult task dealing with this area of my life. It has taken years of working on myself under God and His grace to find another way to communicate apart from raising my voice. In fact, I still have a lot of work to do. I found a defence for raising my voice anytime, I am confronted, particularly by my wife. I frequently told, still yelling, ‘that is the way I talk!’ Yet, this is a lie. I do not believe anybody is created to communicate by yelling at another. It is pure an indulgence, sustained by being a slave of one’s abusive past.
The question is, why do parents yell at their children or why do custodians yell at the children under their care? I just gave the first reason. Everyone is a product of influence. Many of our parents yelled at us and therefore we do not know any other way to communicate with our children. Unfortunately, we have come to accept it as a norm. Even when we find out that it is wrong, we consider it a lost battle to find solutions.
I think the second reason, why we yell is because we try to deal with issues, we are not pleased with on the spot. The best time to deal with an issue with your children or spouse is not when we are angry or when the issue is still very hot and the hurt it may bring is still very fresh. Though, we must not leave the issues, very cold before it is addressed, or we altogether sweep it under the carpet in the name of not addressing it when it is hot. The balance is to find peace within before we address an issue.
And how do we find peace within? From my personal experience, I find peace within when I try to establish the motive of a person’s action, different from the action itself. I mean, I try to separate his person, his motive and his action. I try to use his efforts to judge his errors and not the other way round. When that happens, I know, I am ready to address, what went wrong and not who went wrong. I presume the person I am dealing with, innocent until proven guilty. Why? Actions do not always equal to guilt. They must be consciously backed with motive.
The foregoing demands a lot of discipline on the side of the custodian. When we are able to exercise this discipline, we show our children that we are matured. The truth is, are we ready to communicate with our children? In communicating with them, we must understand that we must take into consideration their best interest.
Anger is not a skill. It is a weakness. Anger leads to yelling and yelling does not help communication in any way. And please do not buy this myth that you establish your authority with your children with how much you are able to yell or how audacious you sound. It is a lie. Firmness and yelling are two different things. So also yelling and exercise of dominion and authority are two different things. In fact they do not go together at all, not at all.
I will conclude today by sharing the impact of yelling on children. I will like to point out the impact by sharing with you some of the synonyms of the word, ‘yell:’ ‘shout,’ ‘scream,’ ‘roar,’ and ‘howl.’ The synonyms speak for themselves. It is interesting that one of the dictionary meanings of the word, ‘roar’ is ‘a prolonged loud cry of certain animals, especially lions.’ It goes without saying that one of the ways, lion, the king of the jungle tames its environment and its inhabitants is roaring. By roaring, it strikes fear and paralyses all. This is excusable for the lion as nature has not endowed it with another way of exercising dominion over the jungle. And therefore, all the other inhabitants understand the language and give him its place. It is also important to note that the lion does not roar always. When it is about to catch a prey, nature tells it to keep quiet, watch and strike.
Let us take another synonym of the word, ‘yell,’ ‘howl.’ When you search the word, ‘howl’ in the dictionary, the first result, which comes to you is ‘a long plaintive cry or wail characteristic of a wolf or hound.’ It is important to note that wolf or hound is merciless predators. The word, ‘plaintive’ is also instructive. It means mournful and sad.
From my brief analogy, I think it will not be out of point to conclude that yelling is not designed to be a means of civilised and effective communication among human beings. I make bold to say that yelling is a notable register in the communication of the jungle. It helps the predator to express its heart to the prey and cow same in the process. It breeds fear and intimidation and once fear and intimidation comes in, communication ceases.
Since parents and custodians are not predators and the children are not preys and the homes or schools are not jungles, we must desist from yelling. Yelling is not in the best interest of the child. It destroys the child’s dignity of human person and makes huge withdrawals from his self-esteem in instalments. Psychologists have told us that for every one wrong word you say to a child, you need seventeen words to correct it. It is important that the psyche of a child does not have the capacity to handle any form of abuse. It may interest us to know that yelling is nothing but a form of emotional dehumanisation.
When we yell at children, we are teaching them how to communicate. Yelling forecloses reasoning. Therefore when we yell at our children, we teach them not to reason when they find themselves in a situation. If they are not taught to reason, it means we are teaching them to be unreasonable. When people are said to be unreasonable, it means they have a myopic word view and are selfish and the possibility of striking and keeping beneficial relationships becomes very narrow, if not impossible.
I know, it may not be easy not to make yelling a habit, but I tell you, it is worth working on with all our might, if we understand the impact on our children. I know we may not be able to stop just like that; we must make efforts to begin to work on ourselves and give the best to our children.
I think I should sign out here. Thank you for visiting today. Sure you learnt one or two things on how to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY and Think the FUTURE.
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