RE: yelling
From: Ruddick, T.R. (RUDDICKedison.cc.oh.us)
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1999 19:54:50 -0600 (MDT)
Perhaps I can add the perspective of a communication professor?

Conflict resolution is a cultural phenomenon, and we get our cultural rules
by coordinating with each other.  If you and yours have implicitly (or
explicitly) decided that yelling, screaming, namecalling, even punching,
biting and hair-pulling are OK ways to resolve conflict, then those are your
values.  If you
want to observe people with values like that, turn on Jerry Springer some
morning.

Most of us desire cultural rules that feature a modicum of respect, and
there are good reasons why we make those choices:  (1) aggressive behavior
leads to bad decision-making [ever known a bully who was a great leader?]
(2) aggression often intensifies and is difficult to check (3) while the
cultural values might specify that no one should mind if they get called
a**hole, or no one should complain if they get some teeth knocked out, etc.,
there is still some level of physical or psychical pain that ensues.

So, the original question was, if someone starts yelling, how do you get
them to stop?

First: understand (as others have written here) that people who are yelling
either do it because it's a habit, they're confused, or they're feeling some
pain.  No single response will work for all situations.

People who do it habitually need to be helped through breaking the habit.
People who are on friendly terms with them should meta-communicate: point
out that the aggression is hurting others and damaging their own
relationships.  Come up with quick cues (such as "Russell!  Chill!) that can
be used to remind them of the need to reign in the emotions when necessary.

People who are confused need time to sort things out.  Give it to them, and
don't try to sort it out for them.  Let them ask questions and answer only
if you're pretty sure of your answer.

People who are feeling pain must be listened to.  Get them to tell you the
source of their pain (help them identify it if necessary) and then dedicate
yourself to finding a way to help relieve it.  Often this is the most direct
way to a win-win resolution.

One good technique (written up by Goleman in "Emotional Intelligence") is to
re-direct the person's attention if possible.  Try to get them to talk about
some aspect of the situation that they don't find as threatening or
confusing, and often they'll become more reasonable.

Good luck.  Communication would be easy if it weren't for those other people
involved in it...
"TR"    Thomas E. Ruddick, associate prof.
              Edison Community College, Piqua OH 45356
                Veni, Vidi, Curcurri!


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