Tag Archives: Abuse

10 Things to Do to Stop Yelling at Your Kids

Constantly screaming and yelling at your kids is abusive, useless and stupid (if it was useful, you wouldn’t have to do it more than once). Most parents scream because they are frustrated; their buttons have been pushed and they feel like they don’t have any other options. However, the minute you lose it, you lose all the power.

You would think that screaming would make your kids fear you. It doesn’t.  As a matter of fact, it does just the opposite.  Kids lose respect for you when you start screaming and yelling because you’ve lost control. They know that the yelling will pass, or they become so frustrated and angry that after a while, they become immune to it and don’t take you seriously.

Now, just as all kids misbehave, disobey, talk back, ignore chores and fight with siblings, all parents are going to holler every now and then. However, you need to pay close attention to how you’re yelling. Blaming and shaming – “You’re a loser,” “You’re useless,” “You’re the reason I’m upset” – are very destructive, especially if the child is being told that he or she is responsible for the parent’s problem. According to The American Journal of Psychiatry, emotional abuse is the most significant predictor of mental health, even more than sexual or physical abuse.

Here are 10 things you can do to stop yelling at your kids:

  1. Set clear boundaries.
    Kids are not psychic – you have to make the rules clear.  If the rules aren’t clear, kids have trouble following them.  You may assume that your child heard and remembers something you said to them in passing, but they may not. So, you need to be really clear. Instead of saying, “Don’t come in the house with wet shoes,” say, “When you come in the house, I want you to take your shoes off and leave them by the front door – whether they are wet or not. That way, we won’t bring the trash and germs from outside into the house.” Now that’s clear.  Or, if you want your child to pick up their room, physically go in there and show them what you mean (when I was a kid, throwing everything into my closet and closing the door was my idea of cleaning my room).
  2. Set simple consequences.
    Many parents threaten consequences and then don’t follow through on them.  However, empty threats don’t work.
  3. Speak to your child on his or her level.
    Bend down so that you’re eye-to-eye.  Getting face-to-face makes it easier for them to hear you, listen to you and pay attention.
  4. Be sure your child understands what you are asking.
    After you’ve instructed your child to do something, have them repeat it back to you. That way, you’ll know if they’ve actually heard it.
  5. Respond every time a rule is broken.
    Be consistent. Each and every time a rule is broken, calmly impose the consequence.
  6. Remind your child of the rule only ONE time.
    Your child gets one reminder. After that, they get a consequence.
  7. Immediately deliver the consequence.
  8. Ask someone to remind you when you’re yelling.
    Pick someone who knows you well (a spouse, parent, friend, etc.) and ask them to give you a signal when they see you yelling.
  9. Respond kindly when your child yells at you.
    Instead of shouting back when your child is screaming at you, just calmly say, “I know you’re mad at me right now, but please talk to me like I’m someone you love.” That stops everyone in their tracks.
  10. Take a “parent” time-out.
    Sometimes even parents need a time-out. It doesn’t mean you have to go sit in the corner, it just means that you need to take a break. Take a shower. Have a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Revisit the situation later when you’re not feeling so angry. In fact, walking out of the room inspires fear far more than yelling does.

Why Shacking Up Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Couples who shack up before marriage are more likely to divorce, experience domestic violence, have sexual and emotional problems, and be involved in affairs. Yet, regardless of the statistics, people continue to do it.

The myth couples use to justify shacking up is that by living together before marriage, they can “test drive the car” and have a more satisfying and longer-lasting marriage. But it’s just the opposite.  People shack up because they are skittish about commitment and, therefore, more likely to call it quits when problems arise.

In addition, couples who shack up actually lose objectivity because they’re not looking at the relationship from a distance.  They literally haven’t had the “space” to step back and objectively consider whether this person is truly the best match for them.  Instead, they sort of just drift into marriage.

Another reason not to shack up: You won’t have a healthy relationship with your extended family.  A supportive extended family is one of the things that makes a marriage work.  However, moms, dads, siblings, and other family members are not going to expend as much effort, caring, and commitment to you as a couple when it’s an iffy situation.  People often forget that and then complain about their family not treating their shack-up stud or honey like family. Well hell, if you want them to be treated like family, make them family!

Quite frankly, if you shack up, you are basically saying that your future marriage isn’t valuable enough to be worth waiting and making tough sacrifices for.  I love it when people shack up and then demand a traditional wedding. How can you choose to live in a tremendously untraditional way and still expect your parents to cough up the money for a traditional party?  If a kid wants to slap the face of tradition, they are on their own.

Finally (and most importantly), shacking up hurts kids.  If (and usually when) a woman gets pregnant in a shack-up situation, there is a high probability that the sperm donor will split within two years, which results in a never-married-single-mom raising a fatherless child. A guy who is screwing a woman without laying down his life for her doesn’t want to be a dad – he’s just getting off.

In my opinion, the best way to test your compatibility for marriage and reduce your chances of divorce to almost nothing is:

1) Don’t have sex until you’re married.
2) Date for at least one year before you get engaged.  
3) Participate in a structured premarital counseling program which includes psychological testing. 

However, I know most of you are not going to do that.  So, operate at your own risk – or rather, the risk of your kids.

No Commitment When Shacking Up

I can’t believe The New York Times, with its hugely liberal perspective, actually published an article on the downside of shack-ups.  I was stunned.  The article, titled “The Downside of Cohabitating Before Marriage,” gives some stats that are simply mind-boggling:

Cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation. This shift has been attributed to the sexual revolution and the availability of birth control, and in our current economy, sharing the bills makes cohabiting appealing. But when you talk to people in their 20s, you also hear about something else: cohabitation as prophylaxis.

In a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, then at Rutgers and now at the University of Virginia, nearly half of 20-somethings agreed with the statement, “You would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” About two-thirds said they believed that moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce.

But that belief is contradicted by experience. Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages – and more likely to divorce – than couples who do not.

The issue lies in the shack-up itself.  When people decide to get engaged, there’s a lot of thought involved.  They realize, “Oh my gosh, I’m making a commitment.”  They talk about babies and families, and where they’re going to live.  None of that occurs when people shack up.  There’s no decision-making, only sliding.  Shack-up couples slide from dating, to having sex, to sleeping over, to bringing their things over, to being there most of the time, to shacking up.  There are no concrete decisions with rings and ceremonies and families involved.  The two people have not and do not talk about what they want, need, and expect from each other.

The article also discusses how cohabitors often have different, unspoken – even unconscious – agendas:

Women are more likely to view cohabitation as a step toward marriage, while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment, and this gender asymmetry is associated with negative interactions and lower levels of commitment even after the relationship progresses to marriage.  One thing men and women do agree on, however, is that their standards for a live-in partner are lower than they are for a spouse.

You can see right there that shack-ups are just convenient and comfortable.  There is no desire for a connection on a deeper level.  A lot of people think, “Well, living together reduces costs.   It’s easy, and there’s no real risk.  If it doesn’t work, we’ll just break up.”   EXCEPT, they’ve already bought furniture and pets together.  A couple that thinks, “Maybe we will, maybe we won’t,” is not as dedicated as a one that says, “We do, we’ll commit, we’ll make it happen.”

It’s important to discuss everybody’s motivation: “I’m shacking up with you because…” or “My expectation is…”  As I’ve always told people on the show, you cannot have any expectations when you shack up.  It’s not a commitment.  Either one of you can do whatever you want at any given time, so expectations of marital behavior are silly, foolish, and self-destructive.  This is why there’s more mental illness, violence, and breaking up when people shack up.  Women especially start having more anxiety and depression.  They also experience more battering because their partners take their frustration and annoyance out on them.

Shacking up is not an intentional step — it’s just convenient.  There’s absolutely nothing of depth that people can count on.