SM who yells!! Please advise...

echadJune 29, 2010

I am a Dad and Step Dad and am having problems with my family. My wife and I married last September. It is the second marriage for each of us. She has two boys, ages 11 and 13, who live with us nearly full-time (BM lives out of state). I have a daughter, age 7, who is with us about 1/3 of the time (BM lives nearby). The problem is that my wife and I have very different approaches to discipline. Her preferred manner is yelling at the kids. She and the boys seem to have a deeply ingrained "dance" in which she will ask one of them to do something, he will say "OK" and then not do it. She will ask several more times until she is yelling, "I've asked you to brush your teeth five times now! Do it! Why do you do this to me! I have enough stress!" The boy will then say "Sorry!" and go brush his teeth. This kind of thing happens every day, several times a day. I have brought this to my wife's attention and she appears helpless in what to do. I have said to her, "Danny is 13 years old and still does not brush his teeth without you yelling at him. Is yelling working for you? If not, why not try something different." I have made many suggestions, and she just ignores them. I see myself as a more "enlightened" parent, that is, I rarely yell and feel that making expectations clear while treating the child with respect is more effective than yelling. The problem is that my wife and the boys are stuck in the "dance" of yelling. My 7-year-old daughter generally does what is asked of her (thanks to me), but my wife still finds things to yell at her about, and this is distressing for me and my daughter. How do you break these ingrained interactions that are so problematic for everyone? We have tried counseling, but the counselor really never got a grip on the yelling problem, since she never really witnessed it and, I think, thought I was exaggerating. Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks!

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Yelling is a problem. I think a lot of people who do so do because they have anger issues and they need to deal with them.

My dad was/is a rager--way worse than what you are descrbiing. He would literally get in our faces and SCREAM, swear, etc. He was never ever physical but he would almost have tantrums--he'd kick walls, scream, pound the table, etc. It was awful.

I think your wife needs to be in counseling--I don't like how she is yelling about how the kids are "causing her stress" by not brushing their teeth. Those kinds of statements indicate to me that she isn't really mad about the teeth-brushing, but rather a whole multitude of other things.

She is loooking for a present situation in which to justify her underlying anger.

I think she needs counseling and PRONTO. Please beleive me when I say constant yelling can be as damamging as physical abuse.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 12:29PM
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My dad was a rager too when we were growing up, he wouldn't swear but would raise his voice unfortunately not only at us but also at our mother. He mellowed so much over the years and I really don't remember him raising his voice since we were in late teens. But I believe the damage was done.

i agree with lovehadley, it has to be addressed. It is not about the kids, it is not why she is yelling, it is some deeper issue. Depression, anxiety, whatever it could be.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 2:11PM
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Ick. You are the "enlightened" parent? Your daughter generally does what is asked of her (thanks to you)?? Perhaps your wife is reacting to your control issues and superiority complex.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 11:48PM
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My husband is a yeller to his 10 year old son. I can't stand it. I'm constantly saying, "Why are you yelling?" In which he responds by yelling, "Because that's the only way he listens to me!" I'm expecting any day and I've addressed my concerns with him, "Are you going to yell at our son the way you yell at your son?" He assures me he won't because he will be raised differently. (I didn't help raise my SS. We've only be together a year.) I totally understand. I don't yell. I grew up with a father who yelled, so when my husband yells, it brings back horrible memories for me. I usually just leave the house. Especially being 9 mos pregnant, my emotions can't take it. I don't know what the answer is. I usually try to explain to him that he needs to give his son a time limit. I.E. You better have your teeth brushed in 2 minutes or less. Isn't it stupid that we have to remind our kids to brush their teeth? My husband usually yells that him, "WHY DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU EVERYDAY TWICE A DAY TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH??!!??!" I agree with finedreams, it's a deeper issue, depression or anxiety. My husband has one or the other or both.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 12:08PM
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