Recently I was listening to a Podcast by Dr. John Delony. On this particular episode, a lady called in and was asking a question about how to get her children to listen to her without yelling or raising her voice.
After Dr. John asked her a few questions, he made this profound remark to the caller that still rings in my ears to this day. Raising your voice and yelling at someone is a form of abuse.
Now, before I go any further, let me pause and recognize that I know this is not a popular narrative. I get it. And to be really transparent with you, when I first heard Dr. John say that, I though to myself, “I’m not sure about that.”
But let’s be honest, no one likes being yelled at or having someone else raise their voice towards them, do they? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that he was right. Yelling and raising your voice is a form of abuse.
You see, I was raised in a home that the way we communicated with each other was by yelling. If someone wasn’t listening to you, or you needed to make your point, you simply raised your voice. To me this was a completely normal way to communicate with someone else.
My wife Gloria was also raised in a similar manner, where yelling and raising your voice was commonplace within the home. So, guess what happened when we got married and we had a family of our own?
You guessed it! We repeated the cycle of abuse, by creating an environment in our home where we raised our voices at each other, and yelled to prove our point, or to get our way.
As our son got older, how do you think he began to talk with us? That’s right…by doing the same thing he leaned from us.
Dr. John went on to explain to this caller that the way you quit yelling and raising your voice, is by simply making the decision to stop yelling and raising your voice. It’s that simple…and yet that complex, all at the same time.
It was at that moment I made the decision that I was going to stop yelling and raising my voice. That afternoon when I got home, I was talking to my wife and I told her, “I learned something today.”
As her curiosity was peaked, she asked, “Oh yeah, what that?”
I told her that I learned “Yelling and raising your voice is a form of abuse.”
Then I waited to hear her push back on that idea. But much to my surprise, without hesitation she said, “You’re right, it is!”
So, I went on to explain that not only did I lean that today, but also that “I made a decision that I’m not going to yell or raise my voice anymore.”
I then had a similar conversation with my 14 year old son, and explained to him what I had learned about yelling and raising my voice. I explained that I’ve been wrong for doing that all these years, and starting today, I’m making a change.
Then I asked both my wife and my son to help hold me accountable, and if I start to raise my voice or yell, I gave them permission to call me out and help hold me accountable. I asked them in a nice way to call me out and ask, “Are you raising your voice?” or “Is that kind?”
I would love to tell you that from that moment forward I never raised my voice again. Sadly, that’s not the case. However, I can tell you that not only did I make a change that day, but my wife and son decided to join with me, and we all decided together to stop yelling and raising our voices.
The change has been amazing. The thing I know is we are making changes to our family that will change the trajectory of not only our family for the better, but will also have a profound impact for generations to come.
Here’s the best part of all. If I can do it, you can do it. All you have to do is to make up your mind and tell someone else.
You can do it. You can stop the cycle of abuse in your family today. Be the change that you want to see in the world.