Moms Use Group Screaming As a Coping Skill

In a new trend in moms all across the United States, group screaming sessions in outdoor public areas are all the rage. For the past few days, several widely publicized events of moms coming together and screaming as a way of venting their frustrations have made the news. Let's take a look at why the moms are using screaming as a coping skill and what psychologists have to say about whether or not it is likely to help them feel better at the end of the day.

What Moms Are Screaming About

For the past two years, moms have been parenting through a pandemic. The pandemic has resulted in challenges like mental health issues in teenagers, children who are too young to be vaccinated and experience constant exposure in school and daycare, closures of schools and daycares, quarantines after exposures, shortages and the lack of outlets for kids and themselves. Many moms lost their jobs or had to quit in order to care for their children. Many daycare and after-school programs shuttered their doors. Staffing challenges are an ongoing problem at community and recreation centers, childcare facilities and latchkey programs.

Who Organized the Rage Screaming Activities?

The MomsRising group, a nonprofit, organized the rage screaming events. For moms who don't have anyone to watch their kids while they attend an event, Moms Rising offers a free rage line for calls. A friendly ear will listen to what is bothering the mom and offer empathy to their situation. Moms can also send emails or videos. If the moms agree, their messages will be shared with policymakers who have the power to enact changes that could improve these moms' situations.

Does Screaming Help?

Psychologists offer mixed opinions about whether or not screaming as a way of releasing anger is helpful. They call it a type of destruction therapy. Most psychologists agree that screaming into a void is better than punching a hole in the wall, throwing glassware or doing something else that damages or destroys property. Screaming into the air, away from children and pets, doesn't hurt anyone.

On the other hand, some psychologists say that for some moms, screaming will just make them feel worse. If all they can do to manage their feelings is scream, they are missing out on more effective coping skills. The moms might end up feeling more helpless. One psychologist equated screaming to reaching for a glass of wine at the end of a difficult day. While one drink might help a person relax, it can turn into a problem if someone has a propensity for addiction. For some moms, leaning into the rage might not serve them well. It could backfire.

What Does Research Say?

Several research studies tested the idea that venting is an essential part of managing anger and other strong negative feelings, like rage. However, these studies found that venting often backfires and results in more anger and aggression. It also increases a person's risk of escalating aggressive behavior in the future. When yelling or screaming is no longer enough, the mom might turn to yelling in her child's face or destroying property.

What Are Some Better Ways of Venting Anger?

Expressing anger does have benefits, but it must be done in a safe way. The fellowship of other moms can help. There is a strong psychological benefit in sharing experiences and being validated by others. If a person feels better after screaming, they should think about how it made them feel better. If the screaming actually made them feel worse, they should try something else. Self-care and sleep might be better for people who feel worse after a screaming session. Some other ways to vent include exercise, taking a warm bath, calling a friend, watching a funny show, creating your own Jackson Pollock-style of painting, doing some yard work or kneading bread dough.

Why Some Things Work for Some People But Not Everyone

Venting works differently for each person. A physical outlet may be a successful way for one person to vent, but it might make someone else feel worse. For the people who feel worse, a conversation with a spouse or friend may be more helpful. The other person could give them a new perspective and help themselves gain distance from their stressors. Focusing on self-care is always a good idea when stress levels start to increase beyond a manageable level.

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