We've all seen it, and maybe even done it ourselves. Yelling at your children in a public place can often draw unwanted attention your way, but is it abusive? Parents have a right to raise their children whatever way seems fit to them, so finding the line to draw at which point outside forces have to intervene may be difficult. While it may not be illegal to yell at children in a public place, it may not be the most effective way to parent and it may even lead to the discovery of physically abusive tendencies.
While different forms of spanking are considered abusive in some cases, yelling is a non-physical way of expressive anger or frustration. Children need a special kind of care in order to function properly. They are at a sensitive state in their life when proper correction as well as love is necessary. It would be helpful to consider whether or not yelling is ever a form of abuse.
Take, for example, the recent phenomenon of nursing home abuse. The elderly need a special kind of care, which means that verbal threatening and yelling can cause emotional damage that is just as harmful as physical damage. If it is illegal in some cases to yell at the elderly, could it also be illegal to yell at children? This is where the definition of "abuse" would be helpful. Abuse is defined as physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment of an individual.
If abuse can be characterized as psychological and emotional, then it is technically possible for yelling to be a form of abuse. While it can be considered abuse, it is the most difficult form to detect and find. Those who notice excessive ridicule, degradation and yelling by a parent to their child may be justified in bringing this concern up to an outside authority.
Parents often become frustrated with their children, and how they choose to deal with it will tell a lot about the family dynamic. While a handful of yelling incidents may not justify abuse, patterns of emotional ridicule that take on the form of yelling may be signs of a deeper issue. In extreme cases, children can even be taken away from their parents. The question in cases like this is what would be in the child's best interest.
If you notice a pattern of yelling and emotional harm being inflicted on a child by their guardian then it may be wise for you to contact an authority on the issue. Remember, while yelling may not be illegal in and of itself, it may present evidence of further abusive tendencies. A family law attorney can advise on these issues as well as litigate to determine what the best interest of the child actually is.