It’s A Bad Calculation

We were upset. ​We were worried​. We were tired. We were just trying to get through to them. That’s why we yelled. That’s why ​we spoke to them in a way that​, as we’ve said, if we caught someone else talking to our kids like, we’d have gone mama/papa bear.

As the ​lyrics​ go,

It’s a calculation I made a mistake on

I never should have said it like I said

Yelling at your kids is almost always a bad calculation. First off, there’s little evidence that it actually works. It’s ​just some tradition​, some cycle of trauma that’s been passed down from one yelled at generation to the next. We had ​a good story a while back​ from the sports psychologist Jonathan Fader. He yelled at his daughter after she’d done something that wasn’t safe or appropriate many times. Later, he asked her if she understood why he yelled. “Because you were mad?” came her reply.

The other reason is that there is a 100% chance you’ll regret it. Sure, unloading all that pent up frustration can feel cathartic in the moment. But that feeling never sticks. Instead it is replaced with the instant pang of regret for a moment you can never take back.

The Stoics remind us that anger doesn’t look good, and it doesn’t age well. Try to remember this today when you are faced with the countless calculations that parenting presents. Try to remember what you’re actually trying to do—​teach them​, reach them, love them.

And let that inform your math.

If you’re serious about being your most controlled self when the stakes are high, then check out our 11-day Taming Your Temper Course over at Daily Stoic. It’s full of Stoic practices to defuse your anger in the moment and will help you find constructive outlets for your emotion—freeing you to work on fixing those problems that stoked your anger in the first place. Learn more here and conquer your anger today!

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