Yelling at your kids is damaging. Find out how you can stop the yelling habit — NOW!
Fifteen years ago I had an “aha” moment in my parenting journey.
And that moment came from a friend named Deanna.
We were chatting about how parents use raised voices and even yell at their kids when they want them to follow instructions. (And if you’re not convinced that yelling is damaging to your kids, take a few minutes and read this article from WebMD. It should clear things up!)
I only had a six month old at the time, so I hadn’t gone down the frustrating roads of toddlerhood, tweens and teens yet. So this was definitely a “safe” conversation for me…;0)
Deanna told me that she was trying to encourage a close friend to speak to children in quiet, firm tones.
That idea intrigued me.
I kept listening intently because deep down I believed the very same thing.
There was no elaborate reasoning for my thoughts except for the simple fact that yelling deeply hurt me and I didn’t want to be the cause of that same pain in my own children!
Listening to Deanna’s experience and wisdom solidified my stance against parents yelling at their kids.
She explained that if children didn’t respond when parents used a normal tone of voice, then parents would always need to use a raised, loud voice (a.k.a. yelling) every time they wanted their child to follow instructions.
Or she may have actually used the four letter word obey. ;0) You definitely want to check out my friend, Jodi’s, post on “Has Obey Become the New Four Letter Word?” It’s a powerful one!
My friend Deanna’s point was so incredibly simple, yet undoubtedly wise.
And she lived what she believed.
I would see her lean over and gently talk to her daughter about an issue and her daughter always responded.
And guess what?
No yelling was needed.
(Applause!! Standing ovation!!)
Speaking to our own children in normal, calm tones can be very effective in raising well-loved, well-mannered children!
But there’s a but…
We can’t just speak and expect kids to listen.
We have to ensure our words have meaning, purpose and direction.
Why do you most parents yell?
I think most parents yell because they’ve lost control.
Do you agree?
Here’s why I’ve come to that opinion.
For many parents, their normal, gentle, speaking voice doesn’t get the job done.
And when it doesn’t get the job done, they resort to yelling.
It’s incredibly sad because it seems like a recurring problem without a solution!
I’ve even heard my own friends and family uses these excuses for yelling:
“My kids won’t respond or obey unless I raise my voice.”
“Yelling is just a way I vent my anger. I’m not hurting my kids, just venting frustration.”
“Yelling is the speaking voice in our house. It’s the only thing to get above the noise.”
Stop Yelling At Your Kids and Start Speaking Instead
Though it’s definitely not common, it is absolutely possible to get your kids to respond when you speak with them in a normal tone of voice.
Have you ever wondered why some kids only respond to parents yelling instructions or commands?
Let’s read a common scenario that happens almost daily in many homes.
In our hypothetical story we’ll have two characters. A young, rambunctious kid named Zach and a busy mom who’s trying her best to get out the door on time. Because she believes in punctuality — yay for that! (That’s one of my hobby horses…ha!)
Let our story begin! <3
“Zach, put your shoes on. It’s time to go to the store,” informs the busy mom.
She waits and and watches as her son continues playing with his toys.
“Zach, mommy said to put your shoes on. It’s time to leave,” she repeats again with urgency in her voice.
There is still no movement.
Zach didn’t even acknowledge his mother’s words.
“ZACH! Get up RIGHT NOW and put your shoes on. We are leaving, NOW!” the frustrated, busy mom yells in exasperation.
Finally, the seven-year old son slowly responds and grudgingly puts his shoes on while the mom’s blood pressure rises.
The busy mom hates to yell, but she needed leave five minutes ago and Zach was not listening to her. Yelling was the only way she could get him to respond.
If you are indeed yelling at your child, I want to say this.
I implore you to consider that you are hurting your child when you yell.
I do understand you are frustrated, and you have every right to be!
And we’re going to help you work through those frustrations in our list of effective ways to stop yelling at your kids.
But first, let’s talk about a few more reasons why you should stop yelling.
We already mentioned that you want your child to be accustomed to following instructions from a normal tone of voice.
But is that the only reason?
No, it’s only the beginning…
Yelling does create hurt and bitterness in children. But most of the time children can’t find the words or courage to express that to parents.
When a parent is yelling, the tone is often frustrated, angry, or irritated.
And what accompanies the tone of voice?
A body language with gritted teeth and maybe even clenched fists.
Some parents may even go as far as throwing objects across the room .
Even when they yell, parents often feel powerless, so they add fuel to the fire and bang on doors and tables.
Oh, what a scary sight for a child to behold!
Parents have years of life-wisdom, while children are learning day by day.
Surely, we can use years of wisdom and give our kids a childhood filled with memories of a parent who could control frustrations and speak in a calm voice.
If you’re a yelling parent there is hope for your yelling habits. You can stop, and even gain control of your children.
Take a few minutes and read these powerful tips that could change your parenting journey.
10 Effective Ways to Stop Yelling At Your Kids
- Don’t be a repeater. If you’re giving your child an instruction, make sure you’re making eye contact with your child and you have her full attention.
As soon as you’re sure your child is engaged and listening, give a simple instruction. If she doesn’t respond, do not repeat the instruction but walk her through the instruction.
For instance, if you’ve told her to put her shoes away and she doesn’t listen, gently, but firmly remind her you told her to put her shoes away and walk with her to her shoes and wait for her to put them away.
If she still doesn’t listen, then choose one of these creative consequences so she learns that following parents’ instructions is a must. (Learning this early is so important for future life lessons!)
But avoid repeating instructions three or four times. If you become a “repeater” your child will learn to wait until you’re frustrated to actually follow instructions. And that is the perfect way to become a yelling parent!
- Be consistent. Always follow through and make your kids obey a command.
If you don’t feel like making them obey, it is better to not give them a command than to let your child disobey without consequence.
But, the best decision it to be an offensive parent instead of a defensive one.
Decide if you want well-mannered, respectful, hard-working, diligent, kind, delightful and obedient kids or if you want unruly, lazy, obnoxious, dishonoring and self-absorbed kids and work industriously to instill those desired attributes into your child. I think I know which kind we all want! ;0)
- Don’t take things personally. My husband is the one that pointed out this repeated offense of mine!
I often took my child’s bad behavior so personal that I would become emotionally involved.
Though our parenting techniques absolutely affect our kids, (you can read how my mothering style created a cranky toddler here) often times we take their misbehavior, bad manners and disrespect very personal and that overrides our thinking.
Sometimes our children are suffering from a lack of sleep, health issues or being off their routines. We have to help guide them back to good behavior without yelling. We have to be the examples. <3 Take a step back and re-group your emotions before addressing your child. Sometimes just a few seconds of remembering this one point is all it takes!
- Send yourself to your room. Do you feel your blood-pressure rising? Does the sight of scattered toys and unmade beds make your blood boil? Send yourself to your room and cool down for a few minutes.
Don’t deal with stressful situations until you are calm.
Then, decide the best method on cleaning up the mess, washing the marker off the wall or breaking up the sibling squabble.
Each “adventure” that happens throughout the day needs to be addressed with a calm and collected parent — always.
- Keep instructions simple. This is one of my biggest faults as a parent!
I’ll tell my son to take out the trash, then I’ll notice his unmade bed and tell him to make it, then I’ll tell him to brush the dog because I’m doing a quick house swoop.
I’m often in hurry, so I’ll quickly name undone tasks and then I end up with a frustrated kid who only gets half the tasks done.
Because I overloaded him with too many tasks at once.
Our home runs much more effectively if I keep things simple.
Telling my son to take out the trash, and then maybe an hour later reminding him about his unmade bed is much more effective than giving him 3-5 tasks in just a few minutes!
- Have accountability. Express your desire to yell less to a close friend, your spouse or a family member that is dependable and honest enough to encourage you to achieve this goal.
Keep a chart or record of every time you raise your voice or yell and report this to your accountability partner every few days.
Seeing your faults on paper and having to verbally admit them to others does help you to stop committing them.
You could even ask your spouse to say a code word when he sees you beginning to lose your temper.
This code word helps to bring you back to reality and grasp the reins of your tongue before it’s too late.
- Lower your expectations. Honestly, I use to hate it when people suggested this point. I like our home run efficiently, productively etc.
But there are times, that if I let my expectations of a perfect home become a god in my heart, then there’s higher likelihood that I will lose my cool!
This even includes kids’ appearances, grades in school and even my own appearance.
When I choose to be thankful where we’re all at, but still strive to be a little better every day, there’s much less tension in our home — and definitely much less yelling!
- Pray. If the art of juggling kids, cooking, cleaning, home-schooling, working, ministering and being a wife can sometimes make you feel burnt out, turn to your refuge and strength — the Lord Jesus Christ.
Slip away from the chaos and beg God for wisdom and a calm temper.
God can replace your stress, bad attitude and unkind tongue with a loving countenance and renewed spirit ready for the task at hand.
Jesus said his yoke was easy and his burden was light. Whose burdens are your carrying? Have you put other things on you that God has not required?
Get into God’s easy yoke and you can find strength to “get it all done”.
- Cut back on screen time. This is a painful one, I know!
But Smartphones, TV and computers can cause parents to yell.
Because kids have an innate ability to be be loud, jumpy or even ask 101 questions when a parent is glued to a screen.
Reserving screen time for when kids are in the bed or engaged in other activities will help you avoid this popular yelling trap for parents!
- Consider the Word. The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 31 that the law of kindness is found in a virtuous woman’s tongue. Do you desire to be a woman God views as virtuous? Keep kindness in your tongue.
Honestly, I don’t view a kind woman as a person who frequently yells at her kids. Yes, correct your kids. But correct them with the law of kindness — every time.