Kids Who Get Yelled at By Their Moms Deserve an Apology

Rant 32

sorrySometimes I yell at my daughter. I'm not proud of it. I'd blame it on being a working mom, but I think that's too easy. It's not the fact that I work that makes me frazzled enough to lose my temper. It's the fact that I'm human.

So when family psychologist John Rosemond announced in a recent essay that "yelling has become epidemic in American mommy culture," I actually snorted out loud. Moms have yelled for generations!

The difference? Some moms today have actually figured out it's not the best thing to do ... and we apologize to our kids.

At least, I do.

If I slip up and I'm too sharp with my daughter, I immediately tell her I'm sorry for my tone of voice.

Does that mean I'm a pushover mom, what Rosemond calls a "milquetoast mom" who really only yells because she was so busy bending over backward for her kid to begin with that she ended up frustrated and lost her cool?

I don't think so.

I am not apologizing to her for disciplining her. I'm apologizing to her for doing it in a way that, quite frankly, I wouldn't do with anyone else. I wouldn't yell at my boss or neighbor, I wouldn't scream at my husband or the woman at the post office.

Ask any mom I know if she'd be OK screaming at the top of her lungs at an adult, and she'll say, "No."

So why is it that we yell at our kids? Why is it that there are moms who are OK yelling at their kids, moms who would (and have) scolded me for apologizing to her?

This is one of the crossroads I've reached as a mom, where I diverge in the woods with other parents who I often respect on other matters. 

I want to be a mom with authority. Who doesn't? I want to be a mom whose child respects her, and by and large I am (aside from her insistence on walking in on me in the shower). I can -- and do -- still discipline with a firm voice at a modulated volume. She has manners, and her friends' parents insist that she's a delight when she goes to their homes.

But I also want to be a mom who can go to bed at night feeling like I did a good job of practicing what I preach, a mom who can actually say "do as I do" not just "do as I say."

If I scream at her, what am I teaching her?

To scream. To yell. To treat people in ways none of us want to be treated.

On the other hand, if I apologize to her for slipups, I teach her myriad things I want her to learn: that people are imperfect, that it's OK to mess up once in awhile, that it's important to see your mistakes and try to fix them.

I want her to know it's OK to say "sorry."

I'm not proud that I sometimes yell at my kid. But I'm not too proud to say I'm sorry.

Do you apologize to your kids for yelling at them?


Image via butupa/Flickr

behavior, discipline


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nonmember avatar Kristi

I do apologize. I yelled at my son yesterday(I am always yelling but working on that) and before I dropped him off at summer care I told him I was sorry and that we would make a couple changes and have a better morning tomorrow. This morning was great!

nonmember avatar Summer

No, I do not yell at my kids and I have two of them 4 and 6 yrs old. I whisper and look them straight in the eyes emphasizing EVERY WORD. Works like a charm!

LeeshaE LeeshaE

I don't think mom's should yell at their kids a lot but I tell you what, I am a soft spoken person, but when I raise my voice (which isn't often) people listen. I call it my mom voice because its guaranteed to stop all those in ear shot in their tracks. Its my I'm not F'in around voice and it gets the job done no apologies needed for keeping everyone safe and sane.

nonmember avatar blh

Why should I apologize when he's the one being a bad?? Unless I yell just BC I'm in a bad mood I'm sure not going to apologize. I remember quite well being a kid and getting yelled at I promise I'm not traumatized. It was annoying but that's it. Sometimes that was the only way I'd listen.

Marja Panetta

you know what if an adult wined for 45 minuts about not being able to ride his sisters bike,  during a heat wave,  screaming and crying so all the world can hear, all the nice times you say be good make the right choice, if you dont stop you will be in big trouble, goning on and on. don't work. when  eather the kids or i have been sick for 3 months no sleep no help no break i would fricken loos it on any adult just like i did on my 3 yo last night! and i made him leave his NEW scooter and helmet in the park for being an ungratful little boy!    some times its all you can do! some times its better to scream and let it out before you really snap


the4m... the4mutts

If I have yelled solely because of my own shitty day, then yes. I say sorry.

But if I yell because sometimes the kids Just. Won't. Listen. Then hell no I don't!

And you know what? I have yelled at adults for being morons. Strangers and my s/o included. Sometimes people deserve to be yelled at, and sometimes, children seeing that they made their parents angry, is how they learn that their actions effects the emotions of others around them.

jalaz77 jalaz77

I apologize when I yell cause I am crabby but not after I have repeatedly asked the same question over and over. We have decided to tell the kids about our 1 and done rule. We ask ONCE, only once, we ask again you sit til we say you can get up. We feel we yell too much, so we are trying different tactics and its working so far.

Jilli... Jillie0918

I totally agree @the4mutts and @MarjaPanetta. My toddler doesn't listen (most of the time), and yelling is the only way to show him I am serious about what I'm saying. He is a very silly little boy and alot of times I'm calm when giving him directions and he thinks everything is a joke. Believe me, there are mothers out there that treat their children alot worse (I know a few). However, when I'm angry about something not related to my son and I yell, I immediately apologize because he did nothing wrong.

P.S. I remember very well being yelled at when I was small, and I grew up fine.

Dmyers5 Dmyers5

I give my daughter three chances and the fourth chance, I yell but most of the time for her own good. If I am yelling it is because she is doing something that she shouldn't and yes sometimes I do apologize for actually losing my cool but I also explain to her that I need her to listen or something might happen to her that could hurt her. A definition of a perfect mother does not exist! =)

tonad... tonadotess

Like I tell my children... multiple times a day.... the rules are there to keep them safe, if they don't follow them, and I have to remind them more than twice in the same day, my next step will be to raise my voice and be ugly. I don't want to do it that way, but they know that mama will resort to raising her voice to keep them safe!

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