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How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids #parentingresolution


I’m exhausted.

We’re on hour 5 of the day. The girls have sought out every opportunity to fight with each other. In the moments that they’re not engaged in battle, they’re ganging up on me and whining that they want to watch a show.

I decide to make them lunch because there’s a slight possibility that while they’re eating, I may get a few seconds of peace. As I stir the soup in the pot, my oldest daughter starts screaming.

“Mom! Mommmmm!”

I enter the living room to see my youngest daughter biting her big sister’s pant leg… she’s angry because her older sister was tattling on her — for colouring the TV with a marker.

I come unglued.

“Both of you go to your rooms. RIGHT NOW!”

I cringed. I told myself I was not going to yell today… yet here we are, at 11:30 am, and I’m yelling.

These situations have become all too familiar. I feel like I’m losing my cool every day, and I don’t like it.

Why do we yell at our kids? Here are 3 tips to stop yelling. #parentingresolution Click To Tweet

Why do people yell at their kids?

As I’ve been doing research on this year’s parenting resolution, I’ve concluded that there are several reasons why people yell at their children.

Lack of skills/knowledge of what to do

We often parent with the skills we’ve experienced or witnessed in our personal lives. If you were raised in a home with yelling, most likely this will be your natural parenting default.

Exhaustion

When you’re mentally and emotionally drained, thinking through everything you want to say and do can be especially challenging. So we might act more impulsively.

Frustration

Perhaps you’ve dealt with the same situation repeatedly and you’re at a loss. You may be tempted to yell when you’re in situations like these.

Control

Parents who yell may use this strategy because they want to control or frighten their children into submission or obedience.

Fear

Parents may yell out of fear and in many cases, this may be the only justifiable reason to yell.

For instance, if your preschooler is running towards a busy road full of speeding cars, it’s very hard not to yell at them. You’re scared, and you want to get their attention as soon as possible.

Why is yelling problematic?

Yelling at our children has many repercussions. Here are a few that are most concerning:

It harms the relationship you have with your child.

There is no doubt that yelling will impact your relationship with your child. Yelling is meant to frighten and intimidate. Yelling at your kids can cause them to have fear or resentment towards you. No one wants to be in a relationship that’s based on fear and intimidation.

It hurts your child’s self-esteem.

Much of a child’s sense of self-worth comes from feeling loved and valued as an individual. Being yelled at sends a message that they are unloved and insignificant. Also, when a parent is yelling at their child, the messages conveyed are often belittling.

The parent isn’t yelling: “I love you so much my heart could explode!” or “You are the best thing that ever happened to me!”

Rather, they’re yelling things like:

“Why do you do this all the time?! What’s the matter with you!” or “What were you thinking?!”

The yell, as well as the message delivered in the yell, hammers away at a child’s self-worth. Eventually, they start to believe the words they’ve heard.

How to stop yelling at your kids? There are several reasons why we may yell at our children. Here are 3 techniques to stop yelling at your children.

It loses its impact.

Remember that preschooler who’s running towards a street full of cars? Imagine if you yell at this kid all the time over every issue and mishap? Suddenly, when you want your yell to catch their attention, it doesn’t have any impact!

However, the same preschooler who is in a home where yelling is a rarity most likely will stop in his tracks the second you yell at him.

Three techniques to stop yelling.

I am a Christian. I regularly hand my issues and struggles over to God. I can not fix myself but the Lord can and will help me in all things. I am the caretaker of His children. My girls are not mine, but His. It grieves me when I lose my cool with them. That’s why I want to make a change.

Here are three techniques that can help you break the habit of yelling.

The rubber band method.

I got this technique from Jackie over at LJSkool. While her method involves using the rubber bands to catch her children doing something good, the modified technique uses the rubber band as a reminder of what not to do – and a consequence if the parent does choose to yell.

Here’s how it works. Place three rubber bands on your left wrist. If you yell at your kids, one rubber band gets moved over to your right wrist.

This technique can be rather soul-crushing… especially if you’ve just moved your last rubber band over to your right wrist. However, I find it’s also a deliberate way to challenge and counter poor behaviour. When I move that rubber band, I have to think about the scenario. I have to contemplate my words and tone and I have to address the fact that I screwed up.

If you’re having success with keeping your cool, then the next week, start with two rubber bands, and the week after that, go down to one.

Use the rubber band method to stop yelling at your children.

Don’t yell, just love.

I adore this technique from Crystal over at Money Saving Mom. Whenever she feels like yelling at her kids, she mindfully chooses love and pours her love on them. Read the article for all of the details about this strategy.

Get close.

Perhaps since I’m a former early childhood educator, this strategy from Lemon Lime Adventures resonated with me the most. Instead of handling things from afar, move closer to your kids and talk with them. I encourage you to read the article to get the full effect of this approach.

Reflect

So this is the challenge for February. Will you join me? Identify what triggers you to yell. Select a technique to stop yelling at your kids and let me know what you’re going to do to break this habit.

Also, make sure to use the hashtag #parentingresolution with any of your social media shares… I want to follow you on your journey to make 2016 your best parenting year yet!

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If you liked this post, I invite you to pin it.

This post is part of The Parenting Resolution series. The entire series is here:

Introduction: The Parenting Resolution: Make 2016 the Best Year!

Challenge #1: The Parenting Resolution: Creating a Learning Plan

 

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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
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Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, Deliberate Homeschooling and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care. 

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36 thoughts on “How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids #parentingresolution

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      Let me just say that yelling probably won’t have much impact either. I’m of the belief that we want our kids to get to a point where they want to make good choices… so that’s what I’ve been doing a lot of lately… two acceptable choices to get the kids to do what I want/need them to do. It’s hard, I know….

  • Janine Huldie

    What great advice are and I am not going to lie as I am most definitely not perfect and do yell from time to time, but definitely do think more from exhaustion and frustration at times. But love the rubber band method and I already wear a hair rubber band for my hair on my wrist. So might have to try now. Thanks so much and have a wonderful week ahead now xoxo <3

  • Tiffany

    I will admit that I yell sometimes. My daughter doesn’t know how to take no for an answer. She negotiates everything and when you tell her no that’s when the overspill tantrums happen. It’s exhausting. I’ve been doing better about staying calm so hopefully I can work on not yelling even more this month.
    Great tips Jennifer.

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      I hate it when I yell – I always feel HORRIBLE afterwards. The way I feel is totally not worth the momentary obedience I may (or may not) get after raising my voice.

      I hope these tips help – and would love to hear if anything you tried, worked.

  • Amanda || Growing Up Madison

    I so needed to read this today. You always post something just at the right time for me. I grew up in a home with little to no yelling but yet I yell all the time although it’s more out of frustration because my kids drive me up the wall. Just today I yelled at Madison for being such a little whiner, always whining about something. I will have to try that rubber band method and see how it works with me. Thank you my friend for the words of advice. Have an amazing week!

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      It’s good to know what buttons your kids press that set you off. For me it’s destructive behaviour and hitting (which my youngest does). It’s so hard – and I hate when I raise my voice. I want my home to be one of peace.

      The rubber band method has worked wonders for me so far!

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      You’re right — every day is different and I can have great days… and then days that I’m miserable. I’ve found that I’ve made great progress though… and that feels wonderful.

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      I used to think that about myself too – everything changed when I had kids. At one point I questioned… who ARE you?!

      Fortunately, I’ve been working on my parenting and I’m getting better at keeping my cool.

  • Miranda

    I was raised in a home where yelling was the norm. I felt like I could never talk to my mom about anything because I knew that she would just yell and flip out on me. I have also dealt with my mom constantly putting me down for most of my life. It put a huge wedge between us, a wedge that only God and lots of prayers have started to whittle down. When my family and I became Christians 5 years ago, the norm in my family was for my mom and I to have huge blow out fights (yes, even as adults) and not talk to each other for months. I know this is the way she was raised and even to this day her and her mother don’t talk and I have never met my maternal grandmother or most of my aunts or uncle.

    A few years ago I just remember asking God to heal our relationship. Multiple times, it is still a large prayer request. And it has improved so much. I have to deliberately show my mom the love of Jesus when she gets into a mood, and only through His strength have I been able to do that and not fly off the handle. There are still times we fight, but fewer and further between. My sister and her (neither one of them are yet Christians) still have those same blow out fights and just started talking again after almost a year.

    I just say all that to say how damaging it really can be. I also need the Lord’s help MULTIPLE times per day to not act like that towards my own children. I remember about a year ago we were doing school and I was raising my voice over my son not listening, and he cowered down and it was like he was doing all he could to make himself smaller. It hurt my heart so much to see that and I have really tried to hard not to parent that way. I have to apologize to my children so often when I lose my cool. It is humbling to have to apologize to your own children but I remember that is something my mom never did and I don’t want my children and I to have a relationship like ours.

    This is such a great post and has so many amazing tips. For anyone out there struggling with this–the road is long ahead, but with Jesus by your side you can overcome!

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      Wow Miranda… thank you for sharing that personal side of your life with us. Your testimony demonstrates just how important it is to get out of the habit of yelling at our kids. I struggle sometimes – it’s hard. I’ve come to recognize my triggers though – and I work very hard to be present and peaceful when those situations arise. Apologizing when we mess up is SO important and like you said, with Jesus by our side, we CAN overcome.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on this.

  • Amanda

    I need this so much and I bet other moms do too! I think I’ll try that rubber band trick plus I’m re-reading Positive Discipline to solve the “I don’t know what ELSE TO DO!” problem. Tweeted and pinned!

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      I’m delighted that this was timely for you. I’ve been doing the rubber band technique for about a week now – I only had one day that I had to move a band to my other wrist. It works! At least for me it does. :)

      Thanks for sharing Amanda!

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      Well, you could try again… don’t give up. Or maybe one of the other strategies combined with the elastic band technique. Moving close for instance. Tell yourself you can’t talk to your children unless you’re nice and close to them. You’re much less likely to yell.

      Praying for you my friend.

  • Jed

    These are such excellent parenting tools. I’ll be using and passing on the rubber-band method. What a powerful tool for raising our own parenting awareness. At first, I thought you were going to encourage parents to pull back the rubber-band and snap themselves, as a painful disciplinary reminder. I like this strategy of switching wrists and increasing awareness of how often the problem happens, much better. Thank you for another awesome parenting strategy :)

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      I love the rubber band method Jed.

      Today my youngest was freaking out – in an epic way – the rubber bands on my wrist were a visual reminder for me to keep cool in the midst of her storm (because essentially, that’s what it is… HER storm, not mine).

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this and that it provided you with some useful tips.

  • Rebekah

    I can totally identify with this problem. When I have already asked my children nicely and they don’t listen I find myself yelling. When they are in an all out fight with their siblings; I yell. When I am just so frustrated that I don’t know what to say or do; I yell. I have really been asking God to help me not to and to slow down and speak softly instead of yelling. I also go and apologize when I have handled a situation badly. So thankful for God’s grace on those days when I lose it. As I have been more intentional about not yelling I find my children respond so much better. Just as I would if someone spoke more directly and kindly to me instead of yelling. Thanks for sharing your struggles and these great techniques to nipping yelling in the bud!

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      I really hope these methods help. My heart hurts after I’ve raised my voice with my children. I was certain other parents would be able to identify.

      Praying this helps (and YES to God’s amazing grace).

  • Chris Carter

    Oh there is just SO much good stuff in this post, Jennifer! THANK YOU for such helpful wisdom and encouragement. I’m motivated to work on this area with my kids. Your description with your girls, is SO much like what goes on here! (Except it’s a boy and a girl tackling each other or whining and taddling, or yelling and fighting over …..)

    I lose it too- and these days I warn them that I’m losing it! Seriously. I’ll say, “You guys, I’m almost there. I’m going to LOSE. IT. if you continue this nonsense!” But honestly, I’ve gotten much looser with my punitive words and harshness- and I’m trying to tighten this up before it gets out of control. This was such a great reminder for me.

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      I’m delighted that you found some help in these tips Chris. I knew other parents would feel similarly and would want to end raising their voices with their kids. It’s hard and a lot of work but I already feel good at the end of the day when I realize I realize I haven’t yelled all day. Such a great feeling!

      Sending prayers and encouragement for you, my friend.

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      I’m delighted these suggestions were helpful. I love the rubber band method. Today my preschooler was losing it but I was able to keep my cool. Those rubber bands were just staring back at me – reminding me of my goal to be gentler, softer with my girls (and that our relationship means more to me that my preschooler’s fit).

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      I had to read your post before replying to you here. Guiding with love makes a huge difference Kristen! I’m delighted you enjoyed this.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how to stop yelling.