In Defense Of Shouting

I like to read parenting articles — not because I have kids, but because I've been parented, well and heavily. I will also stipulate that one thing I really like about my nuclear family is, well, they're pretty nuclear. So I'm always surprised when I read stuff like this, from the New York Times.

"I've worked with thousands of parents and I can tell you, without question, that screaming is the new spanking," said Amy McCready, the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, which teaches parenting skills in classes, individual coaching sessions and an online course. "This is so the issue right now. As parents understand that it's not socially acceptable to spank children, they are at a loss for what they can do. They resort to reminding, nagging, timeout, counting 1-2-3 and quickly realize that those strategies don't work to change behavior. In the absence of tools that really work, they feel frustrated and angry and raise their voice. They feel guilty afterward, and the whole cycle begins again."

Now, it's not like there was yelling in my house all the time. But there was judicious use of anger. I knew when I'd crossed the line, and I didn't want to cross it. There's a great This American Life segment about this by parent Dan Savage, in which he sort of admits that the raised voice is sort of all parents have — good parents! — and it's not a bad thing all the time. Sometimes, it's okay for authority figures to lose it. Thoughts? Am I bad person for thinking this? (And if you say anything mean about my parents I'll spank you.)

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