Raising children is difficult work. While there are many self-help books, there is no single guidebook on how to be the perfect parent. To be a good and effective parent does not require perfection - only an understanding of the impact of your behavior on your child's emotional and psychological development.
When tension is high between parents, it is more likely that stress carries over to the children. Children are more likely to act up when there is upheaval in the life of their family. A little insight and self-awareness can go a long way in helping your children through difficult times.
If your relationship is falling apart, chances are you've yelled at your spouse or significant other. You've probably even yelled at your children without considering other alternates when your stress is high. However, shouting at your children as a form of discipline can have a detrimental effect on them. There are ways to avoid falling into a pattern of yelling and to avoid damage caused by this approach. You can learn different ways to cope and address your children's behavior issues.
A recent Wall Street Journal article outlined the different effects yelling can have on children. Researchers are studying these effects and have determined that children who are yelled at have difficulty in future relationships, are more likely to suffer from depression symptoms and are more likely to have behavior problems.
The studies demonstrated that yelling can be offset by praise of the children, but that the effects may still linger into adulthood. As a counter, some of the experts recommended approaching your child about the yelling, apologizing and concurrently praising them for good things they accomplished. It is always a good idea to identify all of the positive behaviors your children have and to reinforce these behaviors when they occur, rather than reacting negatively to poor behaviors.
An important take away recommendation was for parents to gain the ability to recognize their own stress and find alternative ways to cope and, at the same time, address behavior issues in their children. They may do this with self-reflection or therapy or a combination of both. Another method would be to consult with a parenting consultant or coach to develop new parenting skills.
As many parents know, yelling at your children isn't the most effective method of communication, but we sometimes lose our cool. In a difficult family law situation such as a custody dispute or a divorce, yelling and stress are more common. It is even more critical for parents to seek out methods to cope with the additional stress so that it doesn't trickle down to their children. A skilled family law attorney can help you connect with the resources to assist you and your children to get through difficult times.