Tag Archives: Frustration

Lower The Lung Power

Sometimes, yelling just feels sooooooo good.

It’s cathartic. Dudes, I’m telling you that, sometimes when I’m screaming, I can feel the tension rushing out my body, through the lungs and vanishing into the echoes.

Screaming my lungs out at a football game not only helps support my team (Go, Gators!), but also helps me to feel a part of something greater, something louder, something (slightly) more obnoxious than myself.

Yelling at my young dudes, though. . . Not so good.

I understand the attraction. I’ve given in to the desire to just release that anger and frustration through yelling at the young dudes. I’ve never thought well of myself after, though. Even as I was doing it, I knew it was wrong. Mostly I managed to stop, take a step back and grab a (not-so-metaphorical) breath.


Yelling at your young dudes never accomplishes anything. Well, anything worthwhile. It can certainly accomplish the not-so-arduous task of making you look like an idiot and making your child feel small, worthless and horrible.

I think we can all agree that this is not a desirable outcome.

In a recent post, Salynn Boyles, a contributing writer for the blog site MedPage Today, writes about how yelling at your children has a quantifiable bad result.

Parents who yell, insult, or swear in an effort to correct bad behavior may perpetuate the behavior and increase a child’s risk for depression, new research suggests.

Unfortunately, parents yelling at their children isn’t a rare thing. In the study, researchers reported that nearly half of all parents (45% to 46% of moms and 42% to 43% of dads) said they used what it euphemistically called verbal discipline with their 13- and 14-year-old children. Mostly, we’d just call it yelling at the kids.

Using a cross-lagged model, the research showed that higher exposure to harsh verbal discipline at age 13 predicted increased adolescent behavior problems between the ages of 13 and 14 (beta=0.12 and 0.11; P<0.001), lead researcher and behavioral psychologistMing-Te Wang, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues, wrote in the Sept. 4 issue of the journal Child Development.

Higher exposure to parental yelling and other forms of harsh verbal discipline at age 13 predicted increased depressive symptoms between the ages of 13 and 14 (beta=0.16 and 0.14;P<0.001).

Well, sure. I mean, if you got yelled at by your mom or dad when you were that age, I’m pretty sure you would have been at least a little depressed. I mean, what is the young dude or dudette supposed to thing? Their parent is screaming at them over some behavior. . . Obviously the young one is a miserable excuse for a human being.

Remember, teenagers aren’t known for their ability to successfully think their way out of a wet paper bag. Add in a healthy dollop of emotional overreaction and you’ve got a recipe for feeling horrible. Which, unfortunately, is something that doesn’t go away as easily as it was brought on.

Psychologist Nadine Kaslow, PhD, who is president elect of the American Psychological Association and who was not involved in the study, said the findings highlight the futility and potential harms of reacting to adolescent behavioral issues with harsh verbal discipline.

Kaslow is the chief psychologist at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and a professor of psychiatry at Atlanta’s Emory University School of Medicine.

“It sends the message that when you are mad or upset or scared, yelling is the way to deal with it,” she told MedPage Today. “That is the opposite of the message parents should be sending. Also, shouting and yelling doesn’t really work. It may stop the behavior for a while, but the child will probably be exhibiting the same behavior within an hour or two.”

And, yet, there are those parents who choose yelling at their kids as a peaceful alternative to hitting the young dudes and dudettes. I’m not sure how either of these things could possibly be seen as a better scenario.

The big takeaway from this article, other than the idea that you shouldn’t scream at a misbehaving child since it doesn’t actually work to decrease non-desired behavior, is that it’s better to work with your child, rather than directly imposing your will on him or her.

“Our results support a transactional model of parent-child interaction and suggest that any intervention efforts to reduce both harsh verbal discipline and conduct problems will need to target both the parents and the child,” the researchers concluded.

The next time you feel like you’re about to let loose, try and swallow it, dudes. Save it for the stadium, where it’s a good thing. Instead, take that breath and talk to your teen. You won’t regret it.

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More Relationship Rules

The most important part of any relationship is the middle. You can overcome a bad beginning and you can move on from a bad ending, but if you want the relationship to work, you’ve got to keep it going, moving forward and keeping it healthy.

Relationship expert, motivational speaker and author of the forthcoming book The People Factor, Van Moody has a lot to say about relationships. His people sent out a nicely detailed bit of information on how Moody views relationships and what we dudes need to do to keep them working for us.


Photo by Quez Shipman of EQS Photography
Photo by Quez Shipman of EQS Photography

Yesterday, I talked about some of the rules that Moody considers essential to making healthy relationships work in the office and at home. Today, we’re going to do even more.

Don’t repeat the past. The past should not define a person, and there is no reason to keep looking back. While previous events and actions might be a life lesson, the nature of every journey is to move forward. Don’t repeat those actions that did not produce the intended results; instead, focus on new choices that will effect a more desirable outcome. 

Really, it’s what I said at the beginning up there. You can recover from a bad beginning in most any relationship, provided all parties want to do so. It’s also an admonition to, if not forget, at least forgive. I specifically broke those two out because I think they’re two very separate events. You can forgive someone for doing you wrong, but you should always remember that it’s been done. That way, you ‘re not caught blindsided if it happens again. Cynical, but I think it works.

Don’t be a “taker.” All relationships involve give and take, so it is important to recognize when each relationship could use more of a giving spirit. When we think about what we can do for others instead of what they can do for us, we get to the very heart of healthy, successful interactions. In a strong relationship, both people willingly give, far more than they take. 

I can’t stress strongly enough just how important this one is. You’ve got to have a reciprocal relationship in which all parties are giving and taking. But just as important is one where no party is toting up the gives and the takes, trying to make sure everyone takes just as much as everyone else and no one has to give more than anyone else. This kind of scorekeeping really sours a relationship quickly.

Don’t stay in an unhealthy relationship. Unfortunately, sometimes we make a poor choice and enter into relationships that will never be healthy no matter what actions are taken. If someone is not able to accept a change in the status or direction, is not loyal and stable under pressure or in the face of challenge, or had once been dependable but now is unreliable, these are strong clues that the relationship may not be worth saving.  Don’t let feelings of misplaced guilt or sympathy get in the way of making good personal choices.

What he said. Really. It can be hard to take a realistic, practical look at your relationships and begin pruning away the ones that don’t work, but it is necessary. Mostly because of what we see in the next rule.

Don’t accept everyone. The people in your life right now are setting the course for next week, month, year and possibly the rest of your life. Accordingly, there must be a qualification and selection process for friends and others you choose to surround yourself with. Blocking the wrong people from your life is the only way to make room for the right people who help you achieve your dreams, enrich your lives, and create a happy, satisfying life experience.

It’s not that you want to be a relationship digger, only looking for the ones that can carry you forward, but it’s a matter of making sure you surround yourself with the right people who will help you to be the better dude or dudette you’re trying to become. If you hang around only with people who knew you in high school, you’re probably not going to act much differently than you did then. You only have a certain amount of time and energy, so you shouldn’t waste them on actions that are actively holding you back.

Don’t forget who and what really matters. The most valuable people in life aren’t always the most visible. People of true value bring fulfillment, not frustration. All too often, those taken for granted or overlooked are veritable lifesavers or ones that silently help us achieve goals, provide encouragement, or offer important insights and connections.

Here’s that whole relationship triage thing I was talking about earlier. Take a good look at the people with whom you interact, find the ones who mean the most to you and work hard to buttress those relationships.

There’s your homework, dudes. Right there. Take a good look at your life. See what’s working. See what’s not. Then have the strength to do something with that knowledge. It’s the direction of a healthy outcome.

For more from Van Moody, you can look for his book or he may be reached online at www.vanmoody.com.

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Travel Time Yet Again

Yep, it’s that part of the week where, once again, I’m on the road. Which means that, other than some silly little rants against the plain stupidity of the TSA, well. . .

I got nothing.

Yes, ha ha. As if this were any different from any other day. Very funny, there, peanut gallery. Very funny.

I’ve got lots of good stuff, great material from Chicago. It’s just that I’m trying to type this on an iPad (with a Luvitt Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, which is working surprisingly well) and an extremely dodgy wifi connection to the internet.

I still find it incredibly difficult to believe reputable hotels don’t offer good high-speed internet as a courtesy to their guests. To have to pay for cruddy wifi is a shame.

Anyway, the wifi keeps cutting in and out so typing is becoming an increasingly large pile of frustration and anger. I’m not that dense, after all. I can’t make it work better so I’m just going to give it up until I’ve got a better connection.

Or until I’m somewhere where I can scream and yell and let out the frustration that way. Don’t want to set a bad example for the youngish dudes camped out in our hotel room.

With that in mind, I’m signing off here. I’ll be back tomorrow with some great stuff from Barry’s swing through the Southern leg of the A Dude’s Guide to Babies book tour.

See you then.

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