Do you find yourself yelling at your kids more often than not? If so, you’re not alone. Many parents struggle with how to stop yelling at their kids. Yelling can be ineffective and damaging to the relationship between you and your child. Let’s discuss how to stop yelling at your kids, and what you can do instead. We’ll also provide some tips and tricks that will help make the transition easier for both you and your children!
Almost all parents yell
You might feel like the only parent you know who is yelling at your kids. But the truth is, almost all parents do it.
Yelling is ineffective
Even though you aren’t the only parent who yells, it’s important to note that yelling is often ineffective and can be damaging to the parent-child relationship.
When you yell at your kids, they are more likely to tune you out or rebel against you. Yelling also models bad behavior for your children. If you’re constantly yelling at them, they’re likely to do the same when they grow up.
- Faber, Adele (Author)
So how can you stop yelling at your kids? Here’s a few ideas that can get you on the path of no-yell parenthood.
Recruit a partner or your spouse to help and do it with you
Unlearning the habit of yelling at your kids is tough. You’ve probably been yelling for a long time. You were probably even yelled at as a kid. But it’s important to remember that you can break the cycle!
One way to do this is to recruit a partner or your spouse to help you. It’s much easier to go through this process together. Plus, they can be a great support system when you’re feeling frustrated or tempted to yell.
Choose one specific thing you want to work on
When you’re trying to make a change, it’s important to be specific. Otherwise, you’ll likely feel overwhelmed and give up. So choose one specific thing you want to work on. For example, you might want to focus on how often you yell or the words you use when you’re angry. Once you’ve mastered that, you can move onto the next thing.
Know your triggers
Everyone has a yelling trigger. Mine is noise. Yours might be a messy house or your child’s attitude. Identifying your triggers can help you avoid them in the future. It may even be helpful to write down a list of things that you feel trigger you into wanting to yell at your kids. Knowing your triggers is half the battle.
Give kids plenty of mental prep time
If you have children who tend to melt down over small things during transitions, it may be helpful to give them plenty of prep time. For example, when it’s time to leave the park, instead of waiting until the last minute to tell your kids it’s time to go, give them a heads up a few minutes before. This will help them transition more smoothly and avoid a meltdown (and you from yelling!).
Set clear expectations and stick to them
It’s important to set clear expectations with your kids from the beginning. This will help avoid power struggles and meltdowns later on. Once you’ve set those expectations, it’s important to stick to them. This can be difficult, but it’s so important. If you give in every time your child has a tantrum, they will learn that all they have to do is throw a fit and they’ll get their way.
Use “I” statements
When you’re communicating with your kids, try to use “I” statements. For example, “I feel frustrated when you don’t listen to me.” This will help your child understand how you’re feeling and why you’re reacting the way you are. It will also help them see that their behavior has a direct impact on your emotions.
Need more ideas on I statements? Read: I Statements for Kids
Take a time out
If you’re feeling angry or frustrated, it’s important to take a time out. This will help you avoid saying or doing something you’ll regret. It also gives you a chance to calm down and collect your thoughts. When you’re ready, you can talk to your child about what happened and how they can avoid triggering that reaction in the future
Give yourself alternatives
Most of us know that it’s not always very effective to try to remove bad habits from our lives. Instead, you’ll have better success if you replace bad habits with better one. So if you are feeling frustrated and ready to yell, give yourself a few solid options for how to react instead. For example, you could take a deep breath, walk away, or count to ten. Write down those options so that you have a good plan on what you can do when you are feeling ready to yell.
Teach the lesson later
Kids mess up. That’s just a fact of life. But it’s important to remember that every mistake is an opportunity to teach a lesson. When your child does something that triggers your anger, instead of yelling, take a deep breath and talk to them about it later. This will help you avoid getting caught up in the moment and saying something you’ll regret. It will also give you time to cool down and think about how you really want to handle the situation.
Understand normal kid behavior
Most first time parents have a point in their parenting journey when they realize that the bad behaviors their child has, are just normal child development. Most toddlers throw tantrums and most teenagers are a bit angsty. Take some time to really understand normal behavior for a child your kids age. This will help you have realistic expectations and avoid getting angry over things that are just part of growing up.
Commit to stop yelling
One of the most important things you can do to stop yelling at your kids, is to commit to that action. Tell your family that you’d like to stop yelling and ask for their help. Let them know what you’ll be doing instead (like taking a time out) and ask them to hold you accountable. Put it in writing if that will help you stick to your commitment.
Take care of your own needs
In my own life, I’d noticed that the trigger for my anger is higher when I’ve had little time for myself. When I’m tired, stressed, or hungry, I’m more likely to snap at my kids. So taking care of your own needs is crucial if you want to avoid yelling at your kids. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and taking some time for yourself every day. This will help you be a calmer, happier parent.
A lot of the triggers that parents have relate to something in their past. For example, if your parents never let you be loud at home, you are more likely to yell at your own kids when they are being loud. If you want to break the cycle of yelling, it’s important to do some work on healing yourself. This might mean therapy, journaling, or reading self-help books.
Realize that empathy works better than yelling
Anytime my kids yell at me, my knee-jerk reaction is to yell back. But, my time as a parent has taught me that yelling back at my kids rarely works. Instead, I have more success when I try to empathize with my kids. This means understanding how they are feeling and why they are acting the way they are. Once I can see things from their perspective, it’s much easier to find a solution that works for both of us. Sometimes that empathy simply looks like a long hug until we both calm down.
It’s so much easier to avoid yelling if you can be proactive instead of reactive. This means being prepared for the situations that trigger your anger. If you know that you have a hard time dealing with messes, make sure you have a plan in place for how to deal with them. Maybe that means setting up a chore chart or teaching your kids how to clean up after themselves. If you know that mornings are always hectic, try to get everyone up and dressed a little earlier. Taking the time to be proactive will help you avoid situations where you’re more likely to yell.
Make it right when you slip up
No matter how committed you are to your non-yelling life, there will be times that you slip up. It doesn’t make you a terrible parent, it just means you are human. What is important is that you take responsibility for your actions and make it right with your kids. This might mean apologizing to them or trying to repair the damage that was done. What’s important is that you keep moving forward on your journey to being a calmer parent.
Think of a safe word to remind yourself
Do you have a safe word for yourself. Some quick reminder about why you are choosing to stop yelling? For some this can be, “Choose love” or ” Be the safe place”. Something short, sweet and to the point that you can say to yourself in the moment to help you remember your commitment.
Get close and remove distractions instead
If yelling doesn’t work, what does? Most of us parents have had the experience of yelling across the room to a young child, only to be ignored. But, in a similar scenario, you walk calmly across the room gently tap your child’s shoulder, get on their level, and talk calmly. Which has the most impact on your child? The answer is usually the latter. So, instead of yelling, try getting close to your child and removing distractions. This will help you get their attention and have a productive conversation.
Be kind to yourself
Remember that you are on a journey. There will be times when you mess up and yell, but that doesn’t mean you have failed. Be kind to yourself and keep trying. Every day is a new opportunity to choose love over anger.
If you find that you just can’t stop yelling, it’s time to get curious. When are the times you yell? What is going on when you feel like yelling? Keep a log if it helps pinpoint those times when you are most likely to lose control of your temper. You can also get curious with your child’s behavior. Why are they struggling? What is happening that is causing their behavior. Curiosity can help remove you from the serious emotions and create a more objective perspective.
Use visual aids
One of the best ways to remind yourself not to yell, is to create visual aids. This could be a sign that you put up in your house or on your fridge. It could be a bracelet you wear or a keychain. Anything that will help serve as a physical reminder of your commitment not to yell.
Choose one tip and start today
Stopping the yelling is a process and it won’t happen overnight. But, if you start with one tip and commit to it, you will see progress. So choose one of the tips above and make a commitment to yourself to start today. Remember, you are not alone on this journey. We are all in this together!
If you’re struggling with how to stop yelling at your kids, know that you’re not alone. You can do this!