Some people wonder why parents yell. Here's the logic:

Kids can be so maddening! You call them and call them and they don't come. You tell them and tell them and they don't listen! Sometimes you just have to yell to get them to pay attention. When you yell, they finally take you seriously.

Another good reason to yell is because it lets off steam. It is extremely frustrating to be running around all day, doing errands, going to work, running the household, taking care of everyone and THEN find that Junior's idea of a good time is to mercilessly tease the baby at bath time. How much can one mother take? Yelling prevents ulcers by releasing tension.

And by the way, we were yelled at plenty and nothing terrible happened to us. We're nice, well-adjusted members of society. O.K., maybe we don't have the greatest relationship with our parents, but hey, we turned out O.K.

Finally, we can't really help it. Yelling is born in our genes and raised in the models our parents provided. It's natural. Not yelling is not natural and takes way too much self-control – something like going off sugar, coffee and white flour for the rest of your life. If we weren't supposed to yell, our vocal chords would have been pre-set at mute.

So there you have it – the most common explanations (rationalizations?) for parental yelling. And although they all contain elements of truth, there is another side to the coin that must be considered:

The more we yell at kids, the more nervous habits they'll have. Hair pulling, nose picking, blinking, bed-wetting and other symptoms of stress increase the more parents yell. The more we yell, the worse the physical health of kids will be: more headaches, stomach aches, colds and flu's. The more we yell, the more behavioral problems our kids will tend to have: disobedience and defiance at home and/or school. The more we yell, the more social problems our kids will have: being victims, bullies, having trouble making and keeping friends. And the more we yell, the more distracted kids will tend to be when it comes to schoolwork. No one child from a yelling home falls apart in all these ways at once; each child's vulnerability will determine the area(s) of functioning that may be affected.

And there's more. If we yell at them for two decades straight (i.e. right through the teen years) then as adults they will tend to have: more personality disorders, more relationship problems, more depression and anxiety, more health problems, more parenting difficulties, more dysfunction of every possible kind.

The more we yell at our kids, the less they like us. The less they like us, the less they want to be like us. In not identifying with us, they may reject our teachings, our values and anything that we want to impart to them. Thus the more we yell, the less we can influence our children in the direction we want them to go. Passing on our Jewish heritage, teaching them right from wrong, imparting our most important lessons – our ability to do all of this is seriously threatened the more we yell at our kids.

Plus, chances are good that the kids we yell at frequently for two decades won't love us so much when they grow up and leave home. Some will never talk to us again. Some will move to the other side of the world and call only occasionally. Some will stay close enough to fight with us forever. We may or may not see our grandchildren. And our grandchildren are very likely to be yelled at because we've filled our kids' brains with the "yelling program." When we yell at our kids, we yell right down to the grandchildren and beyond.

So, while it's tempting to yell for all the reasons cited earlier, it's probably too high a price to pay for the gaining of a little cooperation. Fortunately, there are harmless and powerful alternatives for gaining a child's cooperation. They are worth the trouble to learn.