Q: I grew up in a family where both parents had terrible anger issues — often manifesting itself in physical abuse. Consequently, my husband and I have a very strict no-physical-punishment rule in our home.
However, I find myself not knowing where the line is with my kids in terms of yelling/losing my temper.
Is it never okay to yell at your kids? I never, ever insult them or call them names, but I do raise my voice, especially when I've had to tell them 10 times to do something.
This may seem like a basic question, but I honestly have no idea, not having a healthy model to base my own parenting on.
A: I think of yelling as inevitable but a mistake. I apologize to my kids when I do it: "I'm sorry I lost my cool." Quick and out, unless I need to apologize also for being wrong about what originally upset me.
I think raising one's voice, too, doesn't demand an apology the way yelling does. Sometimes a grownup has to be heard.
Please also ask your family doctor about good, local parenting classes. It sounds as if you've broken your family's abusive tradition. Good stuff, but even parents with good role models can use a reliable guide.