Inside: How to stop yelling at your kids with these 11 practical tips.
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 seems 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 said with judgement or to make you feel bad, 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 never thought I’d be a yeller before I had kids, but it’s crazy how having them, (and the stress and responsibility that comes with that) changes you.
It’s also crazy how good your kids are at pushing your buttons and getting a reaction out of you!
Once I realized I resorted to yelling more than I’d like, I knew I had to make changes. I’m not perfect and yelling still happens at times, but everyday I make an effort to reduce how often it happens.
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!
How 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 start bubbling up.
For example, if you know mornings are tough for you because everyone’s 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.
When I’m calm and working on my proactive plan, some things I think about 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?
Power struggles are another trigger for a lot of parents, although you may not even know it’s happening until after the fact.
You’re trying to get your kid to see something from your point of view, they’re trying to get you to see things from their point of view, you’re both getting frustrated, and often this can lead to yelling.
If you’re prone to getting into power struggles with your child, you can try setting up a reward system or discipline method that takes the emotion out of what’s happening.
This way there’s no arguing, you’re child is simply 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 used a lot when my kids were younger. I was with them 24/7 and sometimes I would burn out. When I felt like that, the best thing I could do was walk away for a little bit.
I knew anything I said at that point that would result in me yelling at them so I took some time to calm down.
If your kids are little, make sure they’re in a safe area, tell them you need to take some time to calm down, and then leave the room.
Take deep breaths, cuss to yourself, say whatever you need to get your feelings out.
Once you’re feeling more calm, you can return to your kids.
3. Purposely speak softly
I did this ALL the time when my kids were younger because it really works!
When you’re feeling upset, instead of raising your voice, speak very quietly to them.
When you speak softly, you’re 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
A lot of times parents want their kids to do everything immediately, with smiles and polite words. If they don’t, then it’s viewed as a punishable offense.
But your kids are human too. They have bad days, or they’re moody at times.
I’m not saying to excuse blatant disrespect or anything like that, but you can’t control how your kids feel, and 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 with a cheerful attitude.
If it’s getting to you, go to another area and do a chore yourself, or do 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’re 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’m guilty of this a lot. If I’m upset about something, it’s very evident and I‘m prone to (unknowingly) 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.
Maybe it’s putting on a movie so you guys can chill and enjoy a stress-free activity while you collect yourself.
If you feel yourself becoming angry or upset and the reason isn’t clear, take a few minutes to think about what in your life is causing you to feel that way.
Identifying that will help you keep your feelings in check.
7. Make sure your kid hears what you’re saying
A common scenario that happens in my house is my kids are busy playing or running around and I’ll ask them to do something.
I’m promptly ignored, which pisses me off, and then I yell to get them to listen.
The problem is, they’re not purposely ignoring me, they’re caught up in what they’re doing and they either didn’t hear me or they weren’t paying attention.
Instead of giving directions or asking something from another room while you’re rushing around, or even giving them directions in passing, you can try this simple fix.
Stop what you’re doing, and look them in the eye while you’re asking or telling them something. You can ask them to repeat what you said to make sure they understood.
I know it’s not always convenient to stop what you’re doing to look your kid in the eyes to make sure they hear you, but it’s an effective tip that will help you to stop yelling at your kids.
Related: How To Get Your Toddler To Listen
8. Use transitions or warnings
This is another trick I use a lot.
Letting your kids know ahead of time what’ll be happening, can reduce tantrums or whining that often happens when they don’t want to stop doing something.
Whining and tantrums are a huge source of frustration for parents and a big reason why parents yell.
Transitions prepare your kids so they know there’s a change coming.
If you tell them they need to clean up their toys in 5 minutes because it’s dinner time, you’re letting them know what’s about to happen and giving them a chance to process that they’ll have to stop playing and clean up. You won’t catch them off guard, (like you would if you didn’t give them a warning) which cuts down on tantrums and whining.
9. Don’t try to teach your kids a lesson while either of you are upset
Say a situation went down, like your kid did something you told them not to do a million times and of course it didn’t end well, and now you’re upset with them.
You know you need to talk to them to help them understand the lesson to be learned from this, but it’s best not to talk about anything with them when you’re escalated, because you’re pretty much guaranteed to yell.
This also applies when your kids are angry.
Don’t try to talk to them or explaining anything to them when they’re in that escalated state because they won’t be receptive to what you’re saying. Plus it’s likely to frustrate you and you’ll end up yelling.
Wait until everyone’s calm before you start processing the situation with them.
10. Have coping skills prepared
Coping skills can sound trite, and they’re often overlooked as an effective tool to help you stop yelling at your kids.
However, these are a great way to keep your emotions in check, you just have to figure out which ones work best for you.
When you’re aggravated you can try, taking 10 deep breaths, counting to 10 slowly, or squeezing something, (even your fists) before you respond to your kids.
For coping skills to work, you have to use them often so they become a habit.
11. Remember your kid are sponges
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to change the way I reacted to my kids was because I knew they’d internalize the way I talked to, or responded to them.
Of course I get frustrated with them at times as all parents do, but I never want them to have low self-esteem, or poor emotional regulation, or lack problem solving skills because I yelled at them too often.
The way you talk to your kids or respond to them, is how they’ll learn to talk to and respond to others.
The way you show them how to solve problems or handle big feelings, is what they’ll do because they’re learning everything from you.
Parenting is tough enough by itself, but then you add the challenges and stressors of parenting in todays society, and it’s no wonder we resort to yelling so often.
But you’re not satisfied with that.
You know you want to stop yelling at your kids, and it’s possible with these tips.
Once you figure out what situations trigger you to become upset, you can come up with a different way to respond besides yelling.
When you slip up, 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.
As you make these changes, know that this isn’t an all or nothing type of thing. Even if you still yell on occasion, (because let’s be real, it happens) reducing the amount of times you yell will create a lasting positive impact in your home.