No Need to Yell

We all have different ways of handling anger.  At least part of the way we handle our anger is dependent upon how we are feeling at the moment. I am generally a calm person. However, if I am in an annoyed – kids kept me up, train was late, students were rude – mood, I can be cranky.

The other day, my children and I were in a parking lot as my older son had just completed a Karate lesson. The boys and I walked back to the parking lot, got in the car, and began sorting out snacks (they are ravenous at that hour). As they were finally content, I checked the mirrors and readied to back up and go home. All of a sudden, someone started banging on the front passenger door. “What the heck?” I wondered to myself. I looked up and saw an older gentlemen flailing his arms. He along with his wife were clearly angry at something. He was blabbering on in what I perceived to be Russian (there is a large Russian population in my town). In a moment, I realized he was not pontificating about the pros and cons of another Putin presidency but instead there was a scratch on his car. Clearly, he felt that the scratch was caused by my or my children’s negligence.

While I was not sure that my boys or I had caused the scratch, I apologized. He mimicked, “Sorry, sorry.” What did this man want? I asked him and at some point he told me to pull my car up. What? There was a brick wall in front of us and besides, what was the point of that request? I refused. He continued yelling and went and stood behind my car. Was he going to scratch up my car with his key, hold me there? I had no idea. I asked him, “What are you doing?” After a minute or so, he moved away. As I left, I apologized again and he was still yelling.

On the ride home, I asked the children if they remembered hitting the door by accident. While they said no, I reminded them to be very careful when getting out of the car. Even if they had hit the car, by that point, they probably would have been afraid to admit it. I tried to explain that the man was acting crazy because he was upset. When we are upset, we do not act reasonable. If you want something, you have to talk in a reasonable manner. My younger son brought up the incident throughout the rest of the day; as we were reading together at night, he said once more, “You shouldn’t yell, right daddy? You shouldn’t act crazy.” “Yes, that’s right,” I assured him. “We get angry but yelling does not accomplish anything.” Ironically, yelling makes the words louder but not more clear.

We try and teach our children the right way to handle things. Sometimes, those messages come through more clearly than others.




15 thoughts on “No Need to Yell

  1. That would be somewhat scary! I wonder what else was going on in his life that sent him over the edge. I confess that sometimes my voice ends up louder than it should be, but usually at the kids! Not strangers…who I can’t predict how they’d react. 🙂 Glad you are safe.

  2. Great job, dad, at not reacting by yelling back which would certainly have escalated things. I admire your humility at keeping a level head and apologizing. You were a great example to your kids!

  3. I enjoyed reading this. A great reminder that yelling does not make your point or words any more clearer, nor solve anything. I’m glad that the situation didn’t escalate to anything harmful, and really admire the way you stayed calm and demonstrated how to handle a difficult situation for your kids.
    Peace and Blessings,

  4. Great job keeping your composure, which probably upset him more, but was an excellent example for your kids. Sometimes I wonder if others realize how our kids and our devotion to what is right for them, saves others from dealing with crazy from us. This reminds me of when I was once driving in MD. It was in the middle of the day and I have no idea why I fell asleep at the stoplight but, I did and my car rolled into the car in front of me. The bump startled me awake and the man got out of the car yelling all kinds of things of which I only heard “what were you doing? Sleeping?” He scared me. He scared my kids. The yelling was not called for. His car was not hurt. But, I simply answered, “yes.” It was the truth. He got in his car and yelled, “get some sleep.”

    • Thanks.
      I am glad to hear no one was physically hurt when you fell asleep.
      At times, it is a challenge to keep your composure. I know I feel it at times but particularly in front of my children, I try to act in a more dignified manner.

  5. That was a great lesson for your kids even if it was a little scary. They could see that yelling was not very effective in the circumstances. As Kai said, your composure probably upset him even more because you can’t fight with someone who isn’t fighting with you. Maybe his life was going all wrong and he wanted to hit out at someone else, but you defused the situation.

  6. This sounds maddening. It’s so frustrating when people act irrationally and particularly rough when you’re worried about your kids. Sounds like you handled it well, though.

  7. Yikes! I don’t know how I would have handled someone behaving like that in front of my children… I like what you say about yelling making the words louder but not more clear; it’s so true. I try to hard not to yell at my little ones (unless they’re doing something dangerous), but somtimes, when I’m exhausted usually, I inadvertently go into “freak out” mode. 🙂 And, you know what, it NEVER improves the situation! Sounds like you handled this well and kept it from escalating!

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