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Parents Who Yell: What Your Child Wants You to Know

As my beloved parent, you communicate with me and connect with me in more ways than you realise.

With your eyes when you look at my treasured fish drawings. With your ears when you listen to me singing my songs about lizards. With your touch when you hug me goodnight with a squeezy cuddle for the eleventh time. And with your voice when you tell me how much you love me for just being me.

Your attention is like a drug to me. And I crave it constantly. I’ll take whatever recognition I can get, whenever I can get it.

But I want you to know that your reaction isn’t always the one I was seeking.

I probably pestered you with yet another sea-life drawing when you had something important to look at on the internet. I probably irritated you with my new song when you were talking on the phone. I probably annoyed you when I asked for just one more hug to last me through the long long dark night. I probably frustrated you when I didn’t listen to your requests to quieten down while I was getting too carried away with being a kid.

And you shouted at me.

But I’m still only small, and I’m still learning how to go about connecting with you. I want to do my best, I desperately want to please you. And so I’m asking you…

 

Parents who yell

Please don’t yell at me.
The shriek of your voice sends me inside myself, where I know I can feel calm and safe. Deep inside, where your words cannot reach me.

Please don’t yell at me.
The one time you might actually need to alert me to a very real danger, I simply won’t hear you. And I won’t have time to react.

Please don’t yell at me.
I’m beginning to learn that shouting is a normal way to communicate with others. You’re teaching me how to best express myself when I want things to go my way.

Please don’t yell at me.
It’s so confusing to be told I shouldn’t be yelling at someone by someone yelling at me. So unfair, and so perfectly ironic.

Please don’t yell at me.
I know that I did a naughty thing, but that does not make me a naughty person. When you label me like that, do you realise that I will carry those words with me forever?

Please don’t yell at me.
Your fierce eyes and sharp tongue are convincing me, little by little, that maybe I’m not worthy after all. Maybe I’m not admired. And maybe I’m not loveable.

Please don’t yell at me.
I no longer even hear your normal speaking voice. Everything else is filtered out, and I only hear your shouting now. Because I know the shouting is for me.

And I truly wish it wasn’t.

 

Parents who yell

 

Author’s note: Although this narrative is written from the child’s perspective, I believe the words also hold true for anyone faced with regular yelling, verbal abuse, or any form of intimidation.

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