Hi Dr. Laura,
I put myself in their shoes . . . it's easy for me because I was very sensitive as a child. I remember my mom yelling at me when I made a mistake or broke something on accident. It made me feel really bad--in fact, I still remember breaking my mom's pedestal cake dish when I was a teen. (I stretched the phone cord across the kitchen and it caught the dish, knocking it to the floor.) I went out and bought my mom a new cake dish (out of my hard-earned McDonald's paycheck). She didn't like it as well as the old one, which, of course, she told me.
While I understand my mom's anger, I don't understand why she made me feel so bad. Kids are learning every day. (Even big, teenage kids, which I now have two of.) We need to speak calmly and model appropriate behavior, even if that means keeping a bad temper in check. Put yourself in your kid's shoes and ask, "How would I want to be treated?" Then act accordingly.