Strategies I use to stop myself from yelling at the kids

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In a recent newsletter I shared some strategies on what I do to stop myself from yelling at the kids. I had such a lovely response to this  newsletter and I have had a couple of readers contact me trying to find the email again, so I have decided to publish it on the blog too!


I have always considered myself not to be a yeller. Logically I know yelling at the kids only exacerbates the situation and is an ineffective parenting tool. But I have recently found myself yelling more than I would like recently.

The crazy thing about it is I feel dreadful after I yell and I feel regret knowing I could have approached the situation better. So I have been thinking a lot about why is it that I have been yelling? I think there are a few reasons:

  • Tired. When I am tired my patiences is less.
  • Falling into the teenager trap. Teenagers often either want to have the last word or be the loudest in the conversation. At times I have been forgetting this and raising my voice to be louder than him. This is so futile and this is the biggest challenge for me at the moment.
  • Frustrated. Sometimes after repeating myself for the third or fourth time, I raise my voice out of frustration.
  • Short cut. I mistakingly think it will get me a quicker result, which it never does, so you would think that would be enough to make me stop doing it!

None of the above are valid excuses. As I say to my kids “You can say the same thing, but say it quieter and with a nicer tone.” I have been trying really hard over the school holidays to heed my own advice and while certainly not perfect there has been a significant improvement.

The flow on effect has been encouraging as I find the kids are speaking to each other better as well. As so often is the case in our house, my mood and behaviour really sets the tone for the family.

Strategies I use to stop myself from yelling

So what have I been doing instead of yelling? A few things:

  • More rest. I have been going to bed earlier and I have not been as tired. The school holidays also means less running around for me, so I think this has helped too as I don’t feel the pressure to be out of the house by specific times as much.
  • Letting the teenager have the last word. I have worked particularly hard on this one. Sometimes saying less is more and this is particularly the case with the teenager. I am endeavouring to say enough to make my point clear and leave it at that. (Still some work to be done on this by me though.)
  • Pausing. When I am feeling frustrated with the kids, I am literally counting to 10 before I speak to them again. Pausing for those seconds allows me to give a more considered response.
  • Bringing them close. This is a favourite strategy of mine and I have been using it more frequently. If one of the kids seems to be out of control or in the middle of a meltdown, I am not saying anything and bringing them in close. You can read more about this strategy in this post.
  • Time out for me. There have been a couple of occasions where I have told the kids that I need to go away for a few minutes and get myself calm. I haven’t been in a state to respond properly so remove myself from the situation and then come back to it.

Parenting is always a work in progress and I am going to continue to work on not yelling at the kids as it has such a negative impact on family harmony.

More strategies for parenting through the tough bits

You may also find these posts on parenting helpful too:

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