yelling at kids Archives - FamilyFelicity.com

Why Moms Yelling At Their Kids Isn’t the Problem – and What Is

There are tons of articles floating around the internet telling moms how and why they should stop yelling at their kids. And while I’ll admit I’m one of many bloggers who’ve written on this topic – I want to set the record straight.

 

Personally, I struggled a lot in my early years as a mom with getting my kids to listen without yelling or constant nagging.

That’s why I simply don’t believe the yelling is the problem. If our kids don’t listen without the shock of a yell from us or needing to be reminded a hundred times, our system isn’t working.

It’s not the yelling that needs fixing, it’s the system!

And a lot of the parenting advice today can leave moms feeling hopeless for why they can’t control their own temper or why they can’t figure out how to get their kid’s attention without yelling.

If that’s you, know you’re NOT alone and you’re NOT a bad mom!

Moving right along…

Related: How to Really Get Your Kids to Listen

All Moms Yell at Some Point

Yelling happens to all moms at some point. I don’t know a mom who’s never lost her cool. If that’s you, I’ve seriously got to meet you and sincerely shake your hand.

The cold, hard truth is motherhood can be painfully hard some days. And when we combine the behavioral issues of our kids, our own emotional challenges and seriously crappy days – yelling seems like an inevitable occurrence.

In my early days as a mom, I probably yelled at my kids at least once every day. Sometimes my yelling was just high energy talking like when we’d be running late and I needed to announce it upstairs to the whole house at once. Let’s go!!

But other times I yelled when I was angry like when my kids would start arguing in the living room over what to watch on Netflix and start wrestling over the remote. 

In the beginning, it all seemed normal. When I yelled, it always got everyone’s attention and made me feel like I was doing a better job than simply taking a passive approach. 

I felt proud of the fact that my kids were always some of the most well behaved kids in the room. I always got compliments and comments about how respectful my children were, even when they were just toddlers. 

What people didn’t see was, I was using yelling as part of my parenting strategy. A strategy that gets results but doesn’t last. One that required ME to make it work. 

This overwhelm and exhaustion only perpetuated my yelling and anger. It was like I was angry because I had to yell in order to get anything done. 

I’m convinced that if there was a way to measure the stress hormones surging through my body in those days, mine would’ve been off the charts! I was always running on a 10 and found it very hard to be in a state of calm or ever be relaxed or playful with my kids.

Click below to get my FREE guide that shows you how to quickly identify surprising mom anger triggers and how to calm down before losing it!

What’s Really Behind All The Yelling

I didn’t really want to yell or scream at my kids. But at the time, I felt like it was my only option and was my go-to method that always gave me that quick win.

I wished there was a way I could talk to my kids like Claire Huxtable who always knew just what to say to get her kids to listen, teach a valuable life lesson, and make a priceless connection with her kids – all after a long day at the office. 

What I didn’t know at the time was my communication process with my kids was broken and that parenting like Claire wasn’t a total work of fiction.

The problem with yelling all the time is it hinders our ability to truly connect to the heart of our children. Think about if you yelled at your spouse all the time when they got on your nerves. Instead of communicating in a more respectful way you just yelled and nagged.

Or what if your partner was the yeller and lost it every time they didn’t like the way you did something. Hmm. I bet there wouldn’t be a lot of intimacy happening.

It’s the same with our kids. When we’re angry and yelling, it sends negative and fear-laden messages to our brain about the source of our anger. Who just happens to be our kids. 

Yelling also sends fear signals to our kids’ brains and studies have shown that yelling also has damaging effects to their brains and overall development.

When you combine how yelling makes us feel and how it makes our kids feel – it really hinders our ability to have a close, intimate, and even playful relationship with our children.

Again, let me emphasize that yelling here and there isn’t likely to be a problem. What I’m talking about here is a lifestyle of yelling.

Related: Surprising reasons moms really yell

What We Need to Ask Ourselves

If you find yourself yelling on a daily basis, I want to encourage you to take a moment to ask yourself why. 

Are you dangling at the end of your rope? 

Are you stressed and exhausted beyond anything you’ve experienced? 

Do you need a better way to get your kids to be self-motivated and listen without you needing to yell? 

Is there a source of unresolved anger that’s bubbling under the surface?

Only you know the answer to those questions and only you know if you need and want to change. It’s not my place or anyone else’s to tell you that you have a problem or need to change.

You’re smart and capable enough to decide that for yourself.

I made my own decision to change because I didn’t like how I felt as a mom anymore. I didn’t read a parenting article that told me I should stop yelling. I just felt inside that there was a better way for me and my family.

What You Probably Don’t Know About Yelling

Yelling is two things…

The first is something I didn’t know early on. And that is yelling is a reinforcer of the behavior we don’t want. Yep. Every time we yell and our kids finally jump up and do what we ask, we‘ve reinforced that ineffective pattern of behavior.

We’re essentially training our kids to only listen and obey when we yell. In fact, I used to say that to my kids when I was annoyed… “you guys are training me to yell more because you don’t listen until I yell.” 

Sure, I was just venting my frustration, but the truth was they weren’t training me… I was training them! 

The second thing is that yelling is more about us and how we’re feeling in the moment than it is about our kids and what they’re doing in the moment. 

Imagine your spouse just came home and gave you the devastating news that his position is being phased out of his company and he’ll be getting laid off next month. 

Suddenly, you’re heart starts racing and you’re flooded with high levels of anxiety, fear, frustration, and maybe even anger at the situation. You walk into the kitchen to get a glass of water and you’re jolted when see your 4-year-old decided to take his older sister’s giant pack of colored sharpies and make a mural on the kitchen wall. 

How do you think you’d react to the wall and your son in that moment? What would you say? What would you do? Do you think you’d be yelling or screaming?

Now let’s change that scenario up a bit. Let’s say your husband came home and announces that he’s finally been given the dream promotion he’s been working on for two years. 

 

His salary and bonuses will be increasing significantly and you can finally move out of your cramped house and into the neighborhood you’ve both been eyeing for over a year. 

 

You’re elated and filled with a renewed sense of hope. As you bounce into the kitchen for a drink of water you suddenly notice your son’s art project. 

 

How do you think you’d react to the wall and your son now? Is it a much different reaction from the first one? Do you think yelling and screaming would be involved? Or do you think you might even have a sense of humor about it. 

 

I’ve seen many awful messes made by toddlers whose moms decided to make a video and post it on social media. I’ve always thought, “she must have been in a fantastic mood when that happened!

Seriously, the BEST News Ever!

Now that we know what yelling is… let’s talk about what yelling is NOT. Yelling is not something that has to control you. We get to decide.

 

If yelling is more about us and NOT our kids… that means we have the power to control the only thing we can control… us. 

 

We can’t make our kids behave differently, make better choices, or do everything just the way we want it. That’s the definition of owning a robot. And if you’ve been a parent beyond 5 minutes, you know there’s no off switch or mute button!

 

That said, we can take courage to make a change within ourselves. One that allows us to learn easier ways to get our kids to really listen without all the yelling and constant reminding (yes, it’s possible!) And one that helps us manage our emotions in a healthy way. 

 

This is the work I did for myself. I got very honest with myself and asked God to help me through this process. And He did. I surrendered my guilt, frustrations, and my pride before God and decided that it was time I committed to doing the work I needed in order to change. 

 

And make no mistake about it, this was WORK. God gave me the grace, but I had to walk through the hard stuff for several years while making all the mistakes until I made it to a place that feels like peace. 

 

I can’t express the gratitude that I feel for giving myself permission to be brave to go somewhere I was terrified to go. 

 

I still get mad, irritated, and yell from time to time. I’m human and those old instincts still come out if I can stressed and tired. 

The difference for me is I know exactly how to calm my nerves in those anger-inducing moments. I’ve done it for so long, I even surprise myself sometimes!

But the most priceless gift is having kids who truly listen to me and the relationship I’ve been able to build with each one of them. 

Less Yelling is Just a Happy By-Product

If you’re feeling stuck in a cycle of yelling and can’t figure it out… it’s time to do some work. That’s because you don’t have to yell unless you really want to. 

NOT yelling shouldn’t be your focus. There’s always an underlying cause that needs more attention.

You can become a mom that’s calmer and more playful than you’ve been in a long time. 

One who’s not burnt out and overwhelmed to your max. 

If I can do it… you can do it.

Yelling less at our kids is simply a by-product of fixing the actual problem!

If you’re a mom who’s stuck and feels alone… please hear me now. You are NOT alone! You are NOT a bad mom. And you do NOT need to spend your days in guilt and frustration. There is freedom for you. 

You can start your journey to a calmer way of life by grabbing your free copy of The Calm Mom Formula! It will teach you how to start training your brain and understanding your anger triggers.

 

How have you overcome anger? Share your tips in the comments below. Or share your biggest struggles and questions and I’ll be sure to answer them below!

With all the advice telling moms to stop yelling at their kids, I believe this is bad advice for moms. Why? Because there's something huge that's missing when we say to moms to just stop and calm down. Here's what moms should focus on instead... #kidsandparenting #momanger #parentingtips

7 Surprising Reasons You Yell at Your Kids and How to Break the Cycle

As a new mom of two little ones I spent my days cycling through being a happy and grateful mom to an angry yelling “blowing her top” mom, to an ashamed and guilty for yelling at my kids mom.

As the days went on the cycles got more frequent, the happy and grateful mom showed up much less often and I ended up trapped in a sad and paralyzing state of tired, grouchiness.

I snapped very often, my demeanor was pretty uptight most of the time, and I felt like a complete and total failure as a mom. Until one day it hit me and I asked myself, “why am I such an angry mom?

This certainly wasn’t what I thought motherhood was going to be like. I dreamed of being a mom and though we struggled through infertility for almost 5 years, I was overjoyed to bring our first child into this world.

Then the reality of mom life showed up… and my idea of motherhood didn’t seem to fit my reality of motherhood.

It was hard for me.

And the fact that is was hard for “me” the mom whose dream it was to even be a mom, was pretty devastating. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in over my head and felt consumed with shame all the time.

Why Good Moms Get Angry

I finally decided this craziness needed to stop. I genuinely wanted to have fun as a mom and have a close and fulfilling relationship with my children. So I got to work.

With loads of prayer, study, and tons of trial and error I’m now at a place in my life where I LOVE being a mom and actually feel like I’m pretty good at it! But that only changed when I stopped letting dysfunctional behavior patterns just happen, and started getting intentional about changing them.

One of the first things I learned (HUGE!) were my anger triggers. Little did I know, I was setting anger traps for myself every single day. And that’s what this post is about… helping you to set yourself up for those good, no-blow up days!

Now, let me be clear here, I did a lot of work in the process of healing from mental and emotional lies and past hurts that were greatly contributing to my overall anger. This is not an overnight process.

Recognizing my triggers for yelling was just a part of the puzzle but helped tremendously! Doing these things won’t likely be a total solution to why you are yelling at your kids but they are vitally important to an overall anger management solution.

Here are some helpful posts to getting kids to listen and not causing anger in the first place:

Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling

How to Respond When Your Child Disobeys on Purpose

Common Parenting Mistakes Any Parent Can Fix

I would also like to add that yelling to be heard or because you tend to be on the louder side of the communication spectrum isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you just talk louder or are more intense than all your mom friends… that’s totally OK. I personally still fall slightly into this category!

In this post, I’m addressing moms who struggle with anger in this post. The kind where you feel like a horrible mom after. That’s what I wanted to break free from, and you can join me!

Surprising Mom Anger Triggers

These surprising anger triggers are the things we commonly do every day that we’re usually unaware of that can open the door to blow-ups. And as the saying goes, “when we know better… we do better.

If you read this list and notice one or more that you’re doing, I want to encourage you to make a plan to set up borders for yourself to allow yourself the change you desire.

You want to be a more peaceful mom who really enjoys her children or else you wouldn’t still be reading this post! This process is going to take work but you owe it to yourself and your family to give it all you got so you can be the mom you know you really are inside!

1 | Working with Kids in the Room

I’ve been a work from home mom since my first daughter was born. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to work right in my home while raising my kids, but there is a right and a wrong way to do it! Over the years I’ve done crappy work totally because we needed the money and work that I absolutely love – and this rule still holds true either way.

Honestly, I could write an entire post on this topic, so I’ll do my best to keep it brief. Working on your laptop (or whatever work you do) with kids actively in the room is a setup for disaster. Unless you make a very intentional mindset shift.

I can’t tell you how many times I’d be intensely working (head down, eyes on screen) and blow up because I kept getting interrupted again and again. Silly, I know.

After I realized this to be a huge anger trigger for me, I totally shifted how I work. I now get up very early in the morning and do the bulk of my work that needs my full concentration while my kids sleep. This doesn’t have to be how you do it, but find what works for you.

Then, here’s the mindset shift, I make any work that I do work on in the presence of my kids, second to their needs… ALWAYS.

It looks like this – if I’m working (on a less intense work task) and my child asks for a snack, I put my laptop down and get a snack.

If my children break out in a fight-mob in the living room, I put my laptop down and handle the issue. No more, let me finish this really quick… one more minute sweety… stop fighting! Don’t you see I’m working!

By mentally shifting to my kids and not my project as the priority, it totally changes things for me. Sure, I’m not nearly as productive as I used to be when I was putting my work first but I’m so much more peaceful and my kids no longer resent it or try to fight for my attention when they see me working. It’s a total win-win.

2 | Not Setting Boundaries Up Front

One major source of mom blow ups is when our kids don’t listen until we yell. It’s a cycle that doesn’t have to continue.

In fact, yelling undermines our authority because we don’t have to yell to get their attention. One of the biggest reasons our kids do things we don’t like is because they don’t know the boundaries.

Think of behavioral boundaries like physical boundaries. If you told your son he could ride his bike outside until 5:00, chances are, he’ll go exploring beyond where you had in mind. If you caught him riding his bike on the main road, you might be upset.

This really wouldn’t be fair because he wasn’t given a boundary line like, “do not ride your bike past our street.” Now, this doesn’t mean he won’t try to test this boundary but we’ll get to that in the next point.

For now, we need to establish simple boundaries like, “when we play with one game, we need to clean it up before we open another game.”

This keeps us from going into a screaming fit when we walk into the playroom and see every game they own dumped out on the floor after a very exhausting day at work!

There are endless boundaries you can create, but you get the point.

3 | Not Giving Natural Consequences

When we create and effectively and repeatedly communicate our boundaries, we must offer natural consequences when those boundaries are challenged.

And they will be challenged! Your kid isn’t bad when she deliberately disobeys what you just told her. She’s merely testing your resolve and if you’re really telling the truth. Hmmm, think about that for a second.

When we say, “if you don’t pick up your Legos by the time I get back upstairs in five minutes, I’m going to box them up and give them away” and we don’t follow through (if the Legos aren’t cleaned up), we’ve just lied to our child.

And they know it.

This is why giving natural consequences upfront is so important. Don’t give great big threats that you have no intention of doing just to scare them into obedience. This cycle of giving threats and not following through is a recipe for disobedience every day of the week. And your sanity goes right out the window!

Make sure your child clearly knows both the boundary and the consequence to their behavior upfront. If they cross that boundary… that’s where the next point comes in.

4 | Not Keeping Your Word

This is so important to establishing trust with your child. They know when we won’t stick to our word and it’s like blood in the water to a kid.

They aren’t trying to destroy our patience, they’re just trying to figure it all out.

Take a moment to be sure the consequence you’re about to give makes sense and you are willing to dole it out when needed.

Never ever waiver or bargain with your child. This is the key to keeping your peace.

If you’re currently trapped in this cycle, I give you permission to stop right now.

Just know, it’s going to take work and your kids will likely not appreciate your new found change. But over time, they’ll know you mean business and will listen when you talk without needing to yell.

5 | Pouring Out of an Empty Cup

As a mom, we’re in a perpetual state of pouring out. We pour out spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. We know that’s all a part of the job of mom.

But what we all seem to forget or treat as unimportant is the filling back up part.

We can’t run on empty any more than our car sitting in the driveway can. Sure, we can try but at what cost?

There are harder mom seasons than others, and in the hardest ones, we need to find pockets of rest. But when we’re not caring for a newborn or for 3 kids under the age of 3, things get a bit easier.

And it’s our job to carve out time to rest and recharge because honestly no one else is going to do it for us!

Doing things that recharge you like getting enough rest, exercising consistently, reading purely for enjoyment (audiobooks are great for moms), having a quiet devotional and prayer time, and even time with close friends you can connect with.

Just remember, these things are only effective if you schedule them regularly… not once a year around Mother’s Day.

Sure, it’s wonderful to have a family who shows their appreciation for all you do, but I’m pretty sure that’s a rare occurrence for most moms. The good news is, you can take charge of your own happiness and show appreciation to yourself. You totally need and deserve it!

6 | You Take it All Personally

Kids misbehave and test boundaries… it’s kind of their thing. It’s NOT personal towards you. There may be things we’re doing that contribute to undesired behavior, but it’s not an attack on you.

Kids are tiny humans and whether we believe it or not, they have their own reasons for doing what they do no matter how strange or annoying those things are to us.

I find one of the best ways to get in our kids’ little heads and hearts is to ask questions before we assume what we see is accurate.

One day I was looking for my daughter who was 5 at the time and heard her in her closet. When I turned the corner I almost lost it! There were clothes everywhere!

What looked like a, destroy my closet for no reason type of situation, was actually her attempting to reorganize her wardrobe. She was just doing it the really hard way kids at that age do. Yikes.

I’m grateful that in that moment, I didn’t start yelling and lecturing but mustered up enough self-control to ask what she was doing.

When I realized that she was trying to do something helpful, I dropped down and started to help her. We had a good conversation and I found out that she didn’t like the way I had organized her clothes and she felt like her way would be easier to get ready in the morning faster.

Who am I to argue that?

Even in the moments when our kids are disobedient and rude right to our faces, we must know there is something else at the root. And ironically, they need us most of the time to help them work through their emotions.

Not taking it personally helps us show up and do that.

7 | Not Managing Things Well

When life gets too hectic and I’ve allowed too many things to overtake our family schedule all the important stuff gets pushed to the side.

What’s left is a very messy house, no plan at all for dinner every night, running late for everything, and a mom that’s always on the edge of a meltdown.

I think in many ways, this is the hardest part about being a mom… the managing the home stuff.

It took me a long time to realize that something’s gotta give and I can’t allow our routines to fall by the wayside.

Making sure that the house stays livable and the kids are actually doing their part in keeping the house clean is so important. When the house is filthy, it’s very hard for me to stay in a positive mindset.

And making sure there is a plan for meals that don’t involve giving all my money away in the drive-thru is also super important. Meal planning is both my nemesis and lifesaver. I honestly hate doing it, but it’s the only way to not operate in chaos.

Finally, practicing intentionally leaving with plenty of time totally reduces fits of yelling at my kids. Running late for appointments is such an open door for yelling, tears, and frustration.

Why Moms Get Angry

This is not an exhaustive list of anger triggers. Moms yell at their kids for many reasons, some are not even being addressed here in this post. These are just some anger triggers that I became aware of personally in my own life and from talking to other moms who struggle with anger.

I want to encourage you to observe your life and time with your kids and look for those things that set you off, and do what you can to eliminate them.

The important thing to remember is, you are NOT a bad mother! Simply the fact that you’re reading this to the bottom proves you’re a good mom.

The first thing I learned is that I needed to change, but I couldn’t do it on my own. I am a Christian and knew I needed to surrender my emotions to Christ. I believe surrender is the first step to change. It acknowledges that I can’t do this on my own or I already would have by now.

I then needed to be honest with myself and transparent with others. I stopped being isolated and found out that other moms were struggling with the same issues. There is freedom in openness.

Finally, I made a quality decision to change and become the mom I knew I was meant to be. I apologized a lot to my kids along the way, and now they hardly have memory of those old days. Which means there’s a better life ahead of you that’s free from guilt and shame.

You can do it if it’s what you really want… you just have to decide.

Want to stop feeling like an angry mom and yelling at your kids all the time? These simple tips really helped me find my anger triggers and stop yelling at my kids! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingadvice

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