Are you constantly yelling at your kid? At first, speaking loudly to our son got his attention and stopped unwanted behavior.
Then, we had to get louder….and louder. Finally, yelling seemed to be the only thing that worked. I hate yelling. I don't want to be “that mom.”
I don't want to have a home of strive and yelling. My girlfriend, struggling with the same situations said, “How do you stop yelling at your kids when it seems like the only thing that works?”
We were having a great day. We'd been to the park, stopped at the coffee shop for a coffee (tea for little man) and then back home for some chores and a nap. As soon as we entered the house, the day went downhill. He ran for the remote, after all, Saturday was not a school day so television was allowed. In my frustration that he disobeyed instructions, I yelled at him. He ignored, I yelled again. This time, he yelled back and soon I was screaming at him at the top of my lungs and he was screaming back.
I caught myself yelling. Then I cried. I hated this cycle we seemed to be going around. We'd have really, really good days, and then, it would fall apart. I knew this was the beginning of another cycle of defiance, mouth, attitude, anger and a horrible atmosphere at home.
Yelling at your kids will work to get their attention for awhile. Eventually, it will only escalate the situation. Yelling for us is the start of a horrible cycle.
Lessen The Yelling At Your Kids Moments
I won't promise you that there will never be a need to raise your voice or that these magical steps will stop all family yelling. After all, we get stressed, tired and worn out and sometimes yelling will happen. What I can say is that as I have worked on my own yelling we have less yelling in general which is leading to the ultimate goal – a peaceful home.
The fruit of the spirit is yelling….. no, wait that's not what it says, is it?
If we look at all of the fruits of the Spirit the patience, gentleness and self-control come to mind when I think of yelling.
- Patience – When we're irritated we must remember that patience, also called longsuffering, is available to us. It is fruit we can display because the Holy Spirit lives in us. Patience can easily evaporate and frustration set it when kids don't do what we've asked or “get” what we're trying to teach them.
- Gentleness – Jesus was the perfect display of gentleness yet He was not weak, nor was He a pushover. Being a gentle parent doesn't mean our children walk all over us. It means we are firm yet gentle, guiding and direction our children in the ways of the Lord. A word can be spoken firmly yet gently still getting the point across.
- Self Control – Probably the hardest one for me. I get fired up, yell and then realize I had the power to control something – my mouth. I find it interesting that one of the fruits, given to us when we're grafted into the Vine is self-control. Not God control, Jesus control or even Holy Spirit control but self. We can control ourselves because it's a gift we have been given. Young children lack self-control but many, many adults lack it as well. We can choose how we handle our frustration, anger, and irritation, it's called self-control.
Tips for Less Yelling At Your Kids
Practically speaking, there are several things you can do to lessen the yelling in your home. Here are a few things to start today:
#1 – See them as they are: Children
We are parents of one and often I find myself forgetting that our son is not an adult. He's not fully capable of following every.single.command. with perfection. When you yell, are you forgetting that your children are just that, children?
#2 – Lower your expectations
This isn't a license to let them run wild but evaluate what you are expecting and look at the big picture. If your five-year-old is helping you fold towels and they aren't perfect, do you really need to get upset with them? You need to know what is developmentally appropriate for your children so that your expectations do not grossly exceed what they are capable of doing.
America seems to be in a rush to make kids grow up as fast as they can. Let's let our children be children, allowing them to contribute to the family and yet still be children. The next time you find yourself yelling at the kids, evaluate if you're yelling is the result of unrealistic expectations.
#3 – Be Thankful
So you asked your six-year-old to sit at the table to eat his cookies instead of in the living room. He did. But he didn't stay on the place mat and got crumbs on the table….and he spilled his milk. You have two choices: Be mad or be thankful.
You can yell at him for making a mess at the table or you can be thankful that the spilled milk was on the floor and not the carpet and that he obeyed your instruction to eat at the table.
#4 – Your stress is not their concern
Young children do not understand stress like adults do. I can't tell you how many times I've told our son, “We only have 10 minutes until we need to go,” or “We must hurry up to and get ready.” That really means nothing to a child. If you're stressed out, running late, under too much pressure or feeling like you're ready to burst don't expect them to understand.
#5 – Whisper, better yet, don't talk
Last year, while at our local Christian School, the 3rd/4th-grade teacher spent an entire day not talking. Part social experiment, part frustration, he decided that he'd try not talking at all, not even to me, the aide. There had been several days of disruption and excessive talking from students and yelling from him.
What he noticed throughout the day was that most, about 90% of the students spoke softly and paid much closer attention, even the ones who were normally noisy and silly. The other 10% tried to capitalize on the situation and gain more attention.
So while this isn't a sure-fire way to squelch yelling, whispering or not talking for short periods of time may indeed diffuse chaos.
#6 – Walk Away
I can't count the times I've walked away, to the bathroom or bedroom to just breathe and pray. Taking a moment to cry out to God when you're feeling stressed can help you refocus and not yell in the moment.
#7 – Get your spiritual renewal
A thriving home requires a thriving spiritual life. And yelling won't happen by will-power. Staying focus on Christ and strengthening your relationship with Him will go a long way in your efforts to stop yelling at your children.
#8 – Let it Go
Also known as pick your battles. Are you too caught up in wanting your children to learn proper etiquette, manners, attitude and more that you freak out (aka yell at them) when they don't get something right? Charlotte Mason, a well-known British educator was a proponent of cultivating good habits in the home for young children. One at a time. If you're working on respectful communication, focus on that and let go the nagging feeling that everything must get better all at once. That doesn't mean you don't point them out and explain proper behavior, even disciplining if necessary, but your main focus is training on one area at a time.
Yelling is a great example. If your whole family struggles with yelling, then your whole family should focus on cultivating a home will less yelling, parents and children alike. Older children can have permission to say, “Mom, you yelled that time,”.
#9 – See the teachable moments
I have found that when I focus on the fact that I am teaching and training our son, I'm calmer and more inclined to not yet but explain. If your child spills the milk after you told him not to swing his stuffie around at the table you ca yell or you can use it as a teachable moment. What can be taught from this:
- Cause and effect
- Our actions have consequences
- Taking ownership of mistakes (cleaning up the mess)
- Honoring your mother and father/following directions
Your children cannot learn if we are screaming at them. So if we learn to teach them rather than berate them we'll be much further along.
#10 – Model a calm and respectful voice
Children learn from seeing as well as doing. So model a calm and respectful voice when speaking to them and to your spouse.
Breaking the Habit
Yelling at your kids is likely a habit that needs to be changed into something positive and biblical. Give yourself grace when you mess up. Admit to your children that yelling a problem and come alongside them your family learns to yell less.
Grab this printable Tips to Overcome Yelling sheet and hang it on your refrigerator or wherever you'll see it often. If you find yourself yelling at the kids this is a great reminder of the ways you can transform yelling into peace.
Get Your printable here!
Looking for more?
The Stop Yelling Handbook and the 7 Tips To Save Yourself From A Bad Day eCourse are two great resources to help you identify your anger triggers and stop the daily downward spiral. Both resources are part of the Parenting Super Bundle available through August 14th.