Polk Moms

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My husband yells a lot at the kids. He just can't control his reactions when they do something that irritates him, which seems to be just about anything. Our 10-year-old son is now beginning to yell at his younger sibling and I'm trying to explain to my husband that if he would stop losing his temper over trivial things, our son would ease up as well. How can I do this without making him angry?

My mom used to yell at us a lot. In some instances, it got louder than other times, especially if we were tracking in mud or if we accidentally broke something. We never knew what was going to set her off and sort of got used to it. Her mom told her that she needed to work on her yelling but it didn't seem to help. What ended up happening was that we actually tuned her out. This seemed to only make the situation worse. As we became teenagers, we started yelling back. Those high school years were pretty destructive. It took one of our teachers to tell her that my brother and I were way too loud in class and asked if there was a problem at home. Finally, hearing this from an outsider made her more aware of her voice level. By the time we went to college, she had toned it down to the point that we began to enjoy being around her. Maybe if you let your husband read this, he'll see how destructive relationships can become and do something about it. - L.L. in New York City, NY

FROM JODIE:

Regardless if it's the thing to do or not, many times, people will parent the way they were parented. For example, if your husband's mom or dad, or both, yelled a lot, he may do the same. Changing this habit can take a lot of effort and be quite frustrating on the part of the person doing the yelling basically because that's all they know. He may not even be aware when and how often he does it. Ask him to listen closely to his 10-year-old son when he's talking to his younger sibling. He should be able to tell that whatever it is his son is yelling about could have been conveyed in a normal tone of voice. If for some reason your son doesn't yell in front of his dad, try to record it and play it for your husband later. In fact, you could also record your husband doing it and do the same. This will allow him to hear how he sounds to the kids and vice-versa. Once he actually hears how loud he gets, he will probably start working on it. Be sure that the two of you are taking a little time out for yourselves as well. Maybe just having a couple's time out for a date or just getting away from the kids for a few hours every other week would help.

CAN YOU HELP?

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