We’ve all been there. It’s been a long day, you’re exhausted, and your patience is wearing thin. Suddenly, your child does something that pushes you over the edge, and you find yourself raising your voice. Again.
Yelling at our children is a habit many parents fall into. You are not alone.
We know it’s terrible, but stopping is easier said than done.
When your child keeps pushing your button, how do you stay calm?
Which Types Of Yelling Should Be Stopped
Yelling isn’t always bad.
When your curious toddler is about to insert a crayon into the toaster, your preschooler decides to pour a box of cereal onto the living room floor, or your impetuous child attempts to launch their toy car off the balcony, raising your voice is fine.
This reflexive response is valuable and desired when you must promptly stop the action. There is no need to be polite in these situations.
Nonetheless, if you continue to scold or yell at your child even after their problematic behavior has been stopped, then yelling becomes unnecessary and might cause psychological harm to your children.
The types of yelling that need to stop include
- Exhaustion yelling – Raising your voice when you are stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, or frustrated.
- Anger yelling – Aggressively yell using derogatory remarks, humiliation, and verbal aggression.
Why Should You Stop Yelling
It makes you feel horrible
No one enjoys yelling at others in rage. When you yell, it causes you emotional distress, too.
So, one of the most compelling reasons is to prevent yourself from feeling miserable.
Why keep doing things that make you feel bad?
It doesn’t work
If yelling worked, you wouldn’t have to keep yelling repeatedly.
Why keep doing things that don’t work?
When we resort to yelling, it trains children only to pay attention when our voices are raised, and it encourages them to yell back.
Although they may not show it, yelling can frighten children causing them to enter fight-or-flight mode. They cannot learn whatever we try to teach in this state.1
So our yelling is counterproductive if we want them to learn a different behavior.
It does the opposite
Parents often have valid reasons to be upset with their children.
They may want their kids to improve their grades, show better behavior, help with household chores, or adopt more positive attitudes. Yet their children resist these expectations and refuse to comply.
But studies show that being yelled at is associated with poorer academic performance2, increased externalizing behavior3, mental health issues4, strained parent-child relationships, increased drug abuse5, and diminished physical health.6
Ironically, these are the very outcomes parents believe they are preventing by yelling.
Why keep doing things that exacerbate rather than improve the situation?
It pushes our kids away
“Don’t worry. They know you love them. They still love you, too.”
These are statements parents frequently share to provide comfort. The problem is they don’t solve the problem. More importantly, these reassurances are often not accurate.
Consider this: If your boss yelled at you from time to time, would you still like or even “love” them?
When you constantly yell, a challenging child is guaranteed to develop an attitude and eventually yell back. And then you may wonder why your teenagers engage in yelling fights with you all the time. It’s not because they are teenagers. It’s because they’ve had enough.
5 Tips On How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids
Announce your commitment
Now that you understand there is no good reason for yelling, commit to making a change and enlist your family’s support to hold you accountable.
Have a family meeting to discuss the importance of respectful communication and ask for everyone’s commitment to this goal moving forward.
Acknowledge that you and your child will inevitably make mistakes, but you will remind one another and grow together. Foster a supportive environment so you can collectively work toward improving communication within the family.
Build a strong relationship
When you have a strong relationship with your child, they will naturally care about things that matter to you. They will be motivated to do better without being forced to.
Building a close relationship means prioritizing the relationship over immediate outcomes.
It doesn’t mean being permissive; it means you patiently teach your child.
“You mean I still need to teach my ten-year-old how to clean up after themselves?”
Yes, and no.
Your child likely knows the mechanics of cleaning up. What you will teach is why they need to do that and why maintaining hygiene and responsibility are important.
You may have to remind them repeatedly, as learning responsibility takes time and practice. In time, your child will realize that your love for them drives you to patiently guide them on their journey.
Recognize when you get angry
Recognizing your anger or frustration as it accumulates is essential to prevent it from escalating and spiraling out of control.
Parents often feel exhausted and may not have the time for self-care, reducing their ability to recognize these emotions.
Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or yoga, can help you become more self-aware. They are also effective in alleviating stress and refreshing your mind. A mindful parent is less susceptible to stress-induced reactions.
Visual reminders can also help you notice your emotions.
The best reminders are the ones you will likely see, even when you are angry or yelling. It could be a bright-colored note on the wall or a particular ornament on the table. Whenever you see it throughout the day, practice pausing and assessing your emotional state to keep your anger in check.
Develop and use your emotional regulation skills to model appropriate behavior for children. Show them that you don’t have to be disrespectful even when you disagree.
When you notice your emotions intensifying or your anger escalating, pause and take a few deep breaths.
Then name your emotions and let your child knows.
“I can sense that I’m reaching my breaking point. If I need to remind you again, I might lose control and start yelling. I know neither of us wants that. Can you please help us avoid this situation by taking care of it right now?”
Also See: Tips For Angry Parents
If you struggle to maintain composure, take a time-out for both you and your child, allowing each of you the space to cool down and regroup.
Once you’ve regained your calm, return to the conversation and address the issue. If you did end up yelling, make sure to apologize and engage in a discussion about how you can work together to prevent such incidents in the future.
This approach helps resolve the situation and fosters a healthy and open communication dynamic between you and your child.
Also See: Top 10 Good Parenting Tips – Best Advice
- 1.Goff AM. Stressors, Academic Performance, and Learned Resourcefulness in Baccalaureate Nursing Students. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship. Published online January 24, 2011. doi:10.2202/1548-923x.2114
- 2.Blodgett C, Lanigan JD. The association between adverse childhood experience (ACE) and school success in elementary school children. School Psychology Quarterly. Published online March 2018:137-146. doi:10.1037/spq0000256
- 3.Wang MT, Kenny S. Longitudinal Links Between Fathers’ and Mothers’ Harsh Verbal Discipline and Adolescents’ Conduct Problems and Depressive Symptoms. Child Dev. Published online September 3, 2013:908-923. doi:10.1111/cdev.12143
- 4.Teicher MH MD,PhD, Samson JA PhD, Polcari A RN,CS, McGreenery CE. Sticks, Stones, and Hurtful Words: Relative Effects of Various Forms of Childhood Maltreatment. AJP. Published online June 2006:993-1000. doi:10.1176/ajp.2006.163.6.993
- 5.Teicher MH, Samson JA, Sheu YS, Polcari A, McGreenery CE. Hurtful Words: Association of Exposure to Peer Verbal Abuse With Elevated Psychiatric Symptom Scores and Corpus Callosum Abnormalities. AJP. Published online December 2010:1464-1471. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.10010030
- 6.Hornor G. Childhood Trauma Exposure and Toxic Stress: What the PNP Needs to Know. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. Published online March 2015:191-198. doi:10.1016/j.pedhc.2014.09.006