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  • Sabrina Trobak


Yelling is common place.  Most people report yelling at least from time to time and for many it much more common, happening often, sometimes daily or even many times a day.

Yelling and the Brain

Yelling triggers the sense of danger, creating the fight, flight, freeze response, also known as anxiety, in the brain.  This releases cortisol, a stress hormone, into the brain.  Long term exposure to cortisol has been proven to have a long term impact on the brain.  Research has linked attention deficit, learning disabilities, focus issues, written output concerns etc to high levels of cortisol in the brain,  which is created by stress and anxiety.     


Trauma and the Brain

Most people agree that trauma like sexual abuse, physical abuse, witnessing violence etc are traumas that can impact the brain.  PTSD is a mental health disorder created by experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.  Yelling, name calling, put downs etc, have the same affect, yet we generally are more ok to justify these types of behaviours and don’t acknowledge the significantly negative impact these behaviours actually have on the brain.

Its not just Yelling that changes the brain…

These also damage the brain:

  1.  Threatening tone or volume

  2. Threatening look of distain, disgust and scorn

  3. Name calling, insults, put downs

  4. Unpredictability of the “flip of the switch” in mood changes

  5. Abandonment and rejection

NAMI:  National Alliance of Mental Illness

Boundaries vs Yelling

Many parents think that if they don’t yell at their children, their children will run wild.  The truth is children will run wild because there are no rules and boundaries.  Rules and boundaries are necessary…yelling is not.  Parents can put rules and boundaries in place without yelling, helping their children learn to manage their own behaviour.  

Yelling is the easy way out.  A parent can yell and the behaviour is likely to stop, but this is because of fear.  Parents can also manage their children’s behaviour by going up to the child and talking with him/her, putting boundaries in place and teaching him/her.  This is helping them to learn to manage their own behaviours.  Parenting takes effort.  Teaching a child to manage his/her own behaviour is a much more beneficial life lesson than teaching him/her to conform to others, which, ultimately, is what yelling teaches.

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