Why do my parents yell at me?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m 14. My mom and dad yell at me when i am not happy, or i dont smile. I cant do anything to vent so i scream at them and i get into even more trouble. They dont know whats going on with me, in my head and if i try to tell them they get off topic and start yelling at me even more! Then i go to my room to cool down and they bust in and yell at me even more. I dont know what to do to get them to understand im going through a hard time in school and in my life and yelling is just adding to my stress.

A: When people yell, they usually can’t hear each other! I don’t know why your folks are yelling. Maybe they don’t know how to communicate in any other way. What I do know is that it doesn’t help the situation one bit for you to yell back. You are only adding your noise to their noise and no one hears anyone else.

You can’t make your folks change. You can work on changing yourself. And you know what? Often when one person in a family makes a consistent change, over time other people start to change too. Even if that doesn’t happen, you need to find better ways to cope and to manage conflict. Otherwise you are going to take this kind of behavior into your own relationships and repeat the whole thing. You already know what it’s like to be a kid in this kind of family. My guess is that you don’t want to do the same thing to your own kids some day.

So — here’s what I suggest: Something about hearing your problems unhinges your parents. Maybe they can’t stand to see you unhappy. Maybe they don’t know what to do. Maybe it makes them feel like failures. I have no idea. What I do know is that it doesn’t do any good to argue with them. You need to find another way to deal with your problems and manage your stress.

I wonder if there is a relative or another adult friend you can talk to. Many kids your age find that a favorite aunt or grandparent can be really helpful since they understand both the parents’ and the teen’s points of view. No relative? Well – once school starts, you could talk with the school counselor or at least ask where you might find some help. I did an Internet search of your city and found that there are many counseling services that offer help to teens and their families. The school counselor might be able to get your folks to think about doing some family therapy.

Meanwhile, if you need someone to talk to, call the counselors at the Boys and Girls Town Hotline. People are there 24/7 to talk to kids just like you and to help them through the rough spots. Here’s their website.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Aug 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Why do my parents yell at me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/08/03/why-do-my-parents-yell-at-me/

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