Yelling at your kids…it’s something we’ve all done. Probably way more times than we’d care to admit. Every time I yell at my kids, I always think, I hope this isn’t what they remember when they’re older.
You know that you don’t want to parent like that. You don’t want to resort to yelling but you’re feeling frustrated because it feels like nothing else works to get your kids to listen or do what you tell them!
Let’s take a minute to talk about why yelling happens. Why does it feel so hard to get under control?
Yelling (mostly) happens when you’ve lost control. You’ve lost control of your feelings or you don’t know what else to do to control the situation.
This is not to point fingers, again I yell too. It’s simply to reframe the picture of why yelling happens a lot of the time. When you’re able to look at yelling from a different perspective, you can come up with a plan to control or change the way you react.
I’ve been there and honestly, it still happens. But I try everyday to yell less. I use these tips listed below, and it has been effective in reducing the amount that I yell.
Some things I think about, (when I’m calm) are, how can I control my emotions? What are some things I can actively do to control my feelings? What is my plan B, C, and D when my kids won’t listen or do what I ask them to?
You know you want to stop yelling at your kids, and these tips can help you make changes in your everyday life so yelling becomes less of a habit!
11 tips to stop yelling at your kids
1. Know your limits or triggers
When you know what makes you angry, you can make a plan to better handle those feelings when they happen. For example if you know mornings are tough for you because everyone is always late getting out the door, do everything you can to prepare the night before. Get your kid clothes ready, have your clothes picked out, have their lunches or snacks packed, have your diaper bag or kid bag ready to go by the front door.
You can be proactive about certain situations if you know you have the potential to become angry.
If your kid refusing to go to bed gets you worked up, come up with a plan so you don’t end up reacting every time it happens. Maybe you can try a reward system or a discipline method that takes the emotion out of what’s happening. Then you’re child is left with facts. They do the task and they get a reward. Or they don’t do something and end up with a consequence. It lets your child make the choice and you just have to enforce the choice, (sans yelling).
2. Take time away
This is a trick I use a lot. When I get really worked up, I will walk away. I know anything I say will end up resulting in me yelling so I walk away to take some time to calm down. I make sure my kids are in a safe place and I tell them I have to take some time away to calm down. Then I’ll go in another room and take big, deep breaths. I sometimes cuss to myself or say whatever I need to in order to get the feelings out. Once I’m feeling more calm, I can go back to my kids.
3. Purposely speak softly
When you speak softly, you are forcing your kids to stop what they’re doing to actually hear what you’re saying. This is a much more effective way of getting their attention versus yelling. Most kids either tune out yelling or they become defensive themselves and the message isn’t heard.
4. Give up the control
You can’t control how your kids feel. You can’t control everything they do. For example: if you ask your kids to clean their rooms and they grumble about it, or they sigh, or they have a slight attitude about it, let it go. As long as they’re doing what you asked them to do, let it go. You can’t make them clean their rooms with a smile on their face or a cheerful attitude. If it’s getting to you, go to another area and do a chore yourself or something else to get your mind off of them.
5. Get out of the house
Sometimes when you’re cooped up in your house too long or you are feeling like it’s groundhog day because you do the same thing every day it’s a good idea to get out and do something different. I’m way less likely to yell at my kids if we are doing something out of the ordinary. Everyone’s less agitated at each other and we’re more focused on the new activity we’re doing.
6. Keep your personal emotions in check
Have you ever had something personal going on where you’re unhappy with whatever the situation is, and you end up taking it out on your kids? I’ve done this a lot. I‘m very prone to taking my emotions out on others when something is really bothering me.
Of course my kids end up getting the brunt of that because I’m already irritated and they happen to be the ones who are always around.
Understand when you have personal stuff going on and make an effort to not take it out on your kids. Maybe that’s taking some time to exercise, take a shower, write in a journal, or some other form of self-care to get those feelings out.
7. Make sure your kid hears what you’re saying
Stop what you’re doing and look them in the eye to make sure they hear what you’re saying. If you are rushing or busy doing something else and giving directions, they may not hear you or be paying attention which makes you prone to yelling because they aren’t doing what you asked.
Related: How To Get Your Toddler To Listen
8. Use transitions or warnings
This is another trick I use a lot. Letting kids know ahead of time what will be happening, can reduce the whining or tantrums that can happen when they don’t want to stop doing something. Whining and tantrums can frustrate parents and cause them to yell.
Transitions can prepare your kids so they know there is a change coming. If you tell them they need to clean up their toys in 5 minutes because it’s dinner time, you can have them repeat it back to you. That helps ensure they heard you.
9. Don’t try to teach your kids a lesson while either of you are upset
If you try to talk about anything when you’re escalated, you’re very likely to end up yelling. When your kids are mad and you try to explain anything to them, they won’t hear you anyway. Wait until everyone’s calm before you start processing with them.
Related: How To Handle Tantrums
10. Have coping skills prepared
When you’re aggravated, try deep breaths, counting, or squeezing something, (even your fists) before you respond to your kids.
11. Keep in mind your kid are sponges
They will internalize the way you talk or respond to them and they will do or say the same things they see you doing or saying.
We’re all human so we make mistakes. There will likely be times you still yell and that’s ok, forgive yourself and try to do things differently next time. Also, apologize to your kids if you yell and its unjustified. This models important social skills, and teaches them about forgiveness.
You know you want to stop yelling at your kids, and it is possible! Try these tips and see what a difference they can make in your home!