If parents are habituated to raising their voice when disagreeing with their partner, in the presence of kids, it appears that the kids are visibly distressed due to this. It is clear that its the loud voice thats causing this response in the 5 and 3 year old.

After every such incident, they have been lovingly told that the parents were not taught to disagree in a gentle voice and that the kids shouldn't raise their voice to prove a point.

It is concerning that the kids will grow up to be adults who can be easily scared simply by someone who can raise their voice and will be as illiterate as their parents when it comes to disagreeing. While getting a control on the volume of voice is work under progress for the parent, how do the parents reassure the kids that loud voices are not to be afraid of ?

  • While we don't permit frame challenges on Parenting, I'm concerned this will elicit some, as it's quite possible to disagree with your premise (e.g., to disagree that it is appropriate to teach children to be afraid/disturbed by loud voices). Just to be clear, you specifically are asking how to teach this, and not asking whether it is appropriate to teach this / whether there are alternative ways to handle this interaction?
    – Joe
    Apr 3, 2020 at 22:07
  • 2
    @Joe I was pretty certain, I want to just find out ways the kids could effectively be taught not to be scared of loud voices. However after reading your comment, I am unsure if this should not be taught to kids ? I am happy to listen to alternative views on this. Apr 3, 2020 at 23:22
  • People of all ages become anxious when those in authority raise their voices in anger/"disagreement". Think of your immediate supervisor yelling at your colleague; should that adult just learn to be unafraid, or is it better for the supervisor to control themselves? Here, you're asking the impossible, that kids feel secure when both of their immediate supervisors are out of control. Yelling implies a loss of control, which we're hard-wired to fear it might escalate into something bad (think bar fight ending in a shooting.) That's why normal people don't feel calm with those who yell. Apr 5, 2020 at 10:05
  • You may be interested in this related topic (based on your username): buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/4013/… Apr 27, 2020 at 21:39
  • There is a difference between being stressed by loud voices on a playground, and being concerned when one's beloved caretakers are behaving like they are in distress. Normally attached children should be at least attentive to the latter, but it doesn't mean they will be terrified by yelling at sports games.
    – swbarnes2
    Apr 27, 2020 at 23:20

2 Answers 2


Since you said you were open to it, I'm going to frame-challenge a bit.

Talking in a loud voice is outside normal behavior. Like most things that are outside normal behavior, it is usually associated with something that is, if not scary, at least cause for concern. If you walk into your house and it's 90 degrees inside, you might not be scared, but you are definitely concerned that something might be wrong. The same thing applies to talking in a loud voice.

Further, I would suggest that maybe these kids aren't being distressed by the loud voices, but by the context of the loud voices. If you happily greet them in a loud voice when they come home from school, "Billy! I'm so happy you're home! How was your day?" Are they distressed by that?

  • No, they are not distressed by that. Same goes with loud acknowledgement of their achievements - "You made an A, thats BRILLIANT mate!!!". Apr 30, 2020 at 1:23

Give examples of loud voices, that are not negative or to be afraid of. Like calling someone in distance, etc. I don't know if kids that age understand arguments so I would go with positive feedback and repetition. Kind of like if somebody is afraid of heights, it helps when you gradually raise the height in which he is comfortable.

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