I remember sitting with my family and catching a glimpse of an episode of Dr. Phil years ago and they were talking about how to discipline children. They brought up, instead of spanking your children and yelling at them, try just talking to them and not yelling. We laughed and dismissed that as “that only works for white kids”. We believed whipping and yelling to discipline children was the best way to keep them in line.
Years after that, I checked out a parenting book from the library to help my parents with my little sister. I saw it as a good learning opportunity for me, especially if I wanted to have kids of my own someday. The book mentioned not to spank or yell at your children as well. It reminded me of the Dr. Phil episode. And at that time, I was much more mature than before and much more open-minded. So, I didn’t dismiss it as “just being for white people” anymore. Instead, I asked myself, “Well, have you tried it?”
I noticed that after all that time of dismissing not to whip and yell at kids, I never tried it. My family and I were all raised to believe that whipping and yelling is the best and only way to go as far as discipline. Our parents used it on us. Their parents used it on them. And so on. And I’m sure none of them have tried not whipping and yelling at their children, either. So, I decided to try it.
One day, my little sister was outside playing with her friends. When it was starting to get late, I went to call her in. She started crying loudly and in front of everyone. She did this every time me, my parents, or my brothers tried to call her in. It didn’t matter if she was already outside with them for 4-5 hours straight and the sun was starting to set. She didn’t want to come inside until her friends went inside. I saw this as my opportunity to try this different disciplinary tactic. Instead of yelling at her to come inside, I calmly told her to come inside. Then, I told her she couldn’t play outside for a few days as punishment for not obeying the order to come inside. And it worked! She never cried after any of us called her in ever again.
I never yelled to give orders again, either. And I saw that she listened to me more when I didn’t yell than when I or any of my other brothers yelled at her. That’s when I started to observe other kids and how they act when their parents whip and yell at them. I noticed that the kids who get yelled at and whipped the most are usually the WORST acting kids!
I realized that all the sources that said spanking and yelling is ineffective, the Dr. Phil episode, and the parenting book I read that said it were all true. Whipping and yelling doesn’t work as well as we think it does. We just use it because it was used on us as children and it’s the only way we know how to discipline.
I’ve seen lots of people whip and yell at their children all day long. Whenever they whip and yell at their kids, they sit down and cry and be quiet for a little while, but eventually, they get up and start doing the same thing that got them in trouble the first time. I thought to myself, If whipping and yelling works, why do you have to do it so much?
People can argue that since the kids who get the most whippings are the worst acting kids, that’s why they’re always getting whippings. But after realizing that all the sources that says it’s ineffective are actually onto something, I’m surprised that it never comes across their minds that the kids are acting worst because of the whippings and yelling and never try something different. I read the studies that said that whipping and yelling at children makes many of them more aggressive. I believe the studies are true. I’ve confirmed them with my own observations.
I’ve heard some parents say that they try to talk calmly, but they won’t stop until they yell or whip the kid, but I found that that’s only because the child has gotten used to the yelling and whipping because they’ve done it so much.
As a response to the studies that say whipping and yelling at your children is ineffective, people say, “My parents whipped me and I turned out fine”. But I believe that just because you “turned out fine” doesn’t mean that the whippings worked. It just means you grew up and learned right from wrong from your own maturity and experiences. I think people say that to justify whipping and yelling because they don’t want to stop doing it and are thinking that they are an exception to the rule.
I’m reminded of a picture I saw on my Facebook timeline that had a picture of a belt with a caption that said something about how it helped them to “respect others”. Whipping doesn’t help anyone “respect others” at all. Your own maturity and learning experiences does. Tons of people have gotten lots of whippings as children and still don’t respect others as adults. It has nothing to do with getting whippings as a child. I think this is yet another excuse to justify whipping children.
People think that if you’re telling them not to whip or yell at your kids that it means to not do anything at all and let them do whatever they want. But saying not to whip and yell at your children doesn’t mean don’t do anything at all. It means try something different. Try something that’s more calming and less aggressive. There’s a difference between disciplining differently and not doing anything at all. You can still be firm and set rules without whipping and yelling.
For example, if your child has their toys lying all over the floor and won’t pick them up, instead of yelling and threatening, “PICK THOSE TOYS UP OFF THAT FLOOR BEFORE I BEAT YOUR (YOU KNOW WHAT)!”, calmly say, “Pick your toys off the floor, please.” If that doesn’t work, say (still calmly, without yelling, threatening, and whipping), “If you don’t pick up your toys, you won’t be playing with them for the rest of the night.” Then, if that doesn’t work, follow through, take the toys yourself, and don’t let them play with them for a while. Following through when you give an ultimatum to a child is very important because if you say you’re going to do something and don’t actually do it and you continue to do that, eventually, they will no longer take you seriously.
And try not to give punishments that are too harsh or too long. Those are ineffective, too. And the earlier you start with calm disciplining, the more effective it is.
I believe whipping and yelling at children doesn’t work because they only remember the pain and the fear and usually not the lesson, which is why they go right back to doing what their parents just whipped and yelled at them for later after the pain has gone away and after they’ve calmed down.
I think calmly talking to your children and putting them on punishment by taking a privilege or something they like away for a while does work much better and they behave much better because it gives them time to think about what they’ve done and learn from it.
And referring back to the beginning of this post where I said my family & I used to laugh at the idea of just speaking to kids and dealing with the situation in a calm way as “being for white people”. I hear a lot of black people dismissing not whipping their kids as “being for white people”. Why do black people think being nice to your children and handling situations calmly without violence as a bad thing? Why do we see it as something that’s just “for white people”?