How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids: Tips To Help You Maintain Your Sanity

A couple of weeks ago, I told you how I was TIRED OF YELLING all the time. When I wrote it, I was venting – looking for a way to yell without yelling. I had no idea how many moms would comment (I don’t get a whole lot of comments on my blog posts) and tell me how much they could relate. Turns out you, like me, want to learn how to stop yelling at your kids. Misery loves company, and I was glad I wasn’t the only one ready to pull out my hair and sell my kids to gypsies.

how-to-stop-yelling-at-your-kids

WARNING: Long post ahead! I usually try to keep my posts on the shorter side rather than the longer. But  I have so much great advice I want to share that came from you, real moms, because I think it will be helpful to other moms out there in the same boat.

Before we get to that, I thought I’d ask my friend Dr. G, family physician and mom of four, why yelling at our kids is not healthy for them of for us. We all know we shouldn’t do it, but for many of us, it’s our first reaction. Here’s her advice on how to stop yelling at your kids.

Advice From Dr. G

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. G at Blissdom last year, and wish I could have spent more time with her! So here she is to help us understand more about yelling:

Yelling happens. If a child has never heard someone “lose it” in frustration at home, they are not going to be so resilient when this happens to them at school or youth group or at their first job. Even more important, they’re not going to have any context for their own frustration as they grow if they never see ours.

The biggest problems with yelling are, A. That is makes us feel lousy (and our kids sometimes too) and B. That it usually doesn’t work! So don’t beat yourself up about yelling occasionally, but try these tricks for making it a little less frequent.

How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids

There are three tricks to actually communicating with kids:

  • If you don’t have eye contact you have to assume she can’t hear you. So don’t start talking until she is looking you in the eye. The part of her brain that can actually attend to your words is not engaged if she is focusing on something else. Some kids STILL can’t hear you until they have put down the toy, even if they’re looking at you!
  • If you have to repeat yourself, get quieter instead of louder. The instinct to escalate our volume when saying something for a second time is almost inescapable! Unfortunately, as volume rises, so does blood pressure and frustration. If you get quieter she will attend to your words better.
  • Kids don’t hear what you say to someone else. As a mom of four, I can’t begin to count the number of times I have said “Did you not hear what I JUST said to your brother?” The honest answer? “No, did you say something?” Kids can not be an example to one another. Just give up that fond wish now.

There are lots of other great communication tips. Keep it short, ask your child to repeat back to you what they heard, use funny voices… There are lots of options to avoid yelling if you can keep your cool long enough to remember any of them. Which is the hard part, of course!

Thanks Dr. G for sharing your knowledge with us and sharing about how to stop yelling at your kids. You can find Dr. G on Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.

Real Mom Advice: How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids

Now on to all of your advice! These are some of the comments I received about how to stop yelling at your kids.

Jenny, The Momplex - What helped for me is to use on *myself* one of those tools we’re always told as parents to use with our kids–a behavior chart. What’s good for the goslings is also good for the gander! So, I displayed it on the fridge. I would give myself a star at the end of each day that I didn’t yell (as one for each day that I didn’t pig out on the kids’ leftover food, which is a whole other ball of wax). When I reached 20 stars, I’d reward myself with something like a pedicure. Seeing on paper how much I was or wasn’t yelling each day (and was or wasn’t fattening up my butt), well, it helped me a lot with self-control.

Laura, Kodomo Sushi – I do the count to 10, walk away and come back. Just let them hash it out (like when fighting ‘well you two need to make it right with each other, mommy wasn’t fighting’).

Cindi - 1) Pick your battles. ““STOP CRYING!” Stop Crying isn’t something you can force someone to do by simply telling them to stop. Is this really a battle you need to participate in?

2) Give only one warning. “HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU NO RUNNING IN THE HOUSE!” “I AM GOING TO THROW ALL OF THESE TOYS AWAY IF YOU DON’T PICK THEM UP NOW” Once. Then take action.

3) Whisper. “DO YOU GUYS HEAR ME? WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO ME? YOU ARE TOTALLY IGNORING ME! KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OF EACH OTHER!” “STOP YELLING AND SCREAMING!” Pretty simple, they can’t hear you whisper while yelling so chances are they’ll stop to hear what you just said. (Reverse psychology.)

4) Seperate. They can’t fight from different rooms. (Physically.)

5) Propose and enforce family rules. (ie: No hitting. Immediate time out/loss of privelage.)

Leigh Ann, Genie in a Blog -  When I find myself yelling a lot, it means they need my attention more to redirect them into something more productive. Also I sometimes have to swallow my instinct to yell and speak calmly. They may hear my voice when I yell, but they hear my words when I speak calmly at their level.

Jen  - Sometimes when it gets to be too much…I stop what I am doing and I send myself to my room. Let the kids fight. “Excuse me. I am going to my room. When you are ready to play nice and be kind to each other, then come and get me. If someone gets hurt while I’m gone, you’ll just have to take care of it yourselves.” Then leave the room. Inevitably…with no one to pay attention to them…they’ll get bored with each other and come find you. Or they will get hungry.

I also use the “don’t come crying to me.” Comment. “I’ve asked you to play nice several times. The next time someone gets hurt, I don’t want to hear any crying or screaming or complaining. You can stay away from each other (play in different rooms) or play nice together.”

And inevitably..I also separate them (make them sit on chairs in opposite sides of the room) and tell them that there is no more talking or touching or playing for 10 minutes (or until dinner is ready). Or I actually tell them what they need to go play (H you go play with your art kit and R you go play with your legos) that separates them.

Fadra, All Things Fadra -  I think the idea, as other people mentioned, is that you save your voice until you mean business. And then you talk like you mean business. I’m working on it. And my son hates it so sometimes when he doesn’t listen, I will calmly ask him if he wants me to yell and he says no. Aversion therapy?

Jennifer, Momma Made It Look Easy - I do the “if you can hear me clap once, if you can hear me clap twice” thing until I get their attention again.

Arnebya, What Now and Why? - At my 9-year-old’s school, there was a developmental coach who was brought into the traditional classrooms (she started out only working with kids with developmental delays) and she would say “put on your brakes” and the kids would have to stop and stand still. I think it had something to do with her not being me, you know? And the principal says something (I don’t know the language; I think it’s an African dialect) like AH-JO and the kids respond AH-JAY. I tried it once at home and it worked because they were surprised to hear me do it.

Greta, GFunkified - For the oldest, who’s 7, taking things away (like Legos or video games) really does help.

Rivki, Life in the Married Lane - When my four-year-old starts to pitch a fit, I just walk away. I don’t repeat myself or try to reason with him. I just tell him no, a short reason why and leave. Whenever they do something good I go overboard with praise. Call grandma. Write a note to their teacher. Send an email to their father. Whatever. I also keep a stash of dollar store toys to bust out from time to time, just to keep the positive feelings flowing.

Pragmatic Mom - Just keep repeating in a calm, firm voice. This is advice from when my kids were younger that they said their teacher did that worked for them. Calm Firm Voice. Sounds easy but it’s hard to pull off!

You can find even more great advice in the comments of my YELLING post as well. Thanks everybody for the advice and support! Do you have tips to share about how to stop yelling at your kids?

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Comments

  1. Quieter instead of louder. So simple, but how often do we do that? Me? never. Great advice I am going to make a point of trying.
    Poppy recently posted..A Kia Hamster or a HemiMy Profile

  2. Such good tips. Now I just need to remember them!
    Jennifer recently posted..The weight of threeMy Profile

  3. Great advice!
    I do the quieter instead of louder, and it really works.
    Alison recently posted..10 Truths I Learned In 3 Years Of Imperfect ParentingMy Profile

  4. When I was growing up, if my mom spoke to me in a low, firm voice that sounded like it could explode into a psychotic rage at any moment, then I knew she meant business. Whenever I get the urge to yell, I try to adopt that kind of tone instead. It doesn’t always work (what can I say – I’m a yeller), but I do find it’s easier if I’m more conscious of it.

    Also, taking privileges away and rewarding good behavior works really well with my 3YO.
    Kristin @ What She Said recently posted..This Could Get HairyMy Profile

  5. Awesome advice. I agree with Kristin — when I yell abruptly, it gets their attention and startles them, but when I talk quietly and firmly in that “I’m about to lose my shit on you” kind of way, they totally listen.
    Leigh Ann recently posted..That time everything in my house broke at onceMy Profile

  6. Great advice. I’ve resorted to deep breaths.
    Robin | Farewell, Stranger recently posted..On the Move: at Things I Can’t SayMy Profile

  7. When I was in 4th grade I can remember my mom just one day stopped yelling at my brother and I. I hated that she didnt yell anymore when I was in trouble. That meant that my yelling back didnt effect her as much (what I thought). It took some time but after she did that the atmosphere in the house felt better. She had told me years later she just got tired of yelling and just stopped. I am working on not yelling but it is so hard, I just feel the heat building inside me and then… Of course I feel guilty after. I am so glad I came across this post. I hope to try some of these out to help make myself feel better as well as keep my kids from seeing mommy all crazy all the time. LOL Thanks ladies!

  8. My mom didn’t yell. There were times when I WANTED her to yell, because I felt like that would be faster and better :)
    angela recently posted..The Shoes Series – A ReviewMy Profile

  9. *Such* good advice, and so nice feeling not-so-alone!
    Galit Breen recently posted..This is Childhood: THREEMy Profile

  10. My husband and I had this discussion not long ago – on a day he was edgy, he yelled at our three year old and made him cry, and I lashed back at him, upset that he had made our preschooler cry. It wasn’t pretty. My husband later apologized to our son, and hopefully we’re teaching him that we all make mistakes and we learn from them.
    Kristin Shaw (Two Cannoli) recently posted..Even when he hates meMy Profile

  11. I’m SO glad I’m not a lone on the yelling thing!!

    I love the get quieter tip. I am totally going to try that!

    Great follow-up, Natalie.
    Tonya recently posted..Kookie KarmaMy Profile

  12. I’m trying to transition to singing instead of yelling. Some of this other stuff sounds good too.
    robin recently posted..The Operatic Parenting MethodMy Profile

  13. Thanks for sharing these great tips. We try to reserve yells for when there is immediate danger to one of our kids. Hopefully this means they hear yells so infrequently that they will pay attention when it happens and we can avoid injury, accidents, etc.
    Joe recently posted..College Savings for Twins, Regain Pre-Twin Life, Diaper Genies – Podcast Episode 30My Profile

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  16. Not yelling is so hard! I think it’s ingrained in us as moms.

    It’s something that I’m aware of and really have been trying harder to get a handle one. It’s not easy though.
    Jackie recently posted..A weekend at Grand Traverse ResortMy Profile

  17. Awesome advice! I’ll have to remember this when the time comes! :)

  18. I love the ideas and I have implemented the no yelling, and I haven’t yelled at my kids all week woot woot. But my issue is not just with my kids fighting, because they actually get along great and hardly even raise their voices to each other. My problem is with one of children and the fact that they can’t seem to stop lying about things, even small things that wouldn’t get them in trouble. They thought it would be great to not do as I asked the other day then when confronted, my 10 year old decided to get upset and yelled at me. I know it was wrong but I about lost my mind, I had to walk away and didn’t say too much after that. My husband and I have tried a lot of things to try to figure out what the problem is or how to fix it, but any other moms have this issue with just one child? I don’t want my other child to see this behavior and think it’s ok to act this way, because I cannot handle two lying and yelling at me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.
    Rochelle

  19. When my boys are fighting I get them to stand and hold each others hands, and look at each other. They both get a chance to tell the other one why they are cross/ sad with them. It usually ends with them giggling and pretending to dance. If that doesn’t work, then I separate them for a while. They are 9 and 6 xx

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Parenting Tips: How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids (mommyofamonster.com) [...]

  2. […] And that got me thinking. I knew I had a post from the past that my wonderful friend Dr. G had guest posted for me with advice on how to stop yelling at your kids. So I dug through my posts and found it: How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids: Tips To Help You Maintain Your Sanity. […]

  3. […] blog where she writes about the good, the bad, and the ugly of parenting. I just love her advice on How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids (awesome, right?), and here she’s writes How to Gain (or Lose) Twitter Followers. She also […]

  4. […] Follow Up: After getting such great advice from you all, I wrote a follow up post titled How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids: Tips To Help You Maintain Your Sanity. […]

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