Have you ever felt like you’re constantly yelling? Maybe you’ve wondered how you’re supposed to stop yelling at your kids, especially when they just don’t listen.
Parenting is hard, and sometimes keeping your cool is even harder. Kids of all ages have a unique ability to push our buttons in all the right places. Some days it’s hard to keep your patience intact.
It’s hard to respond well to the seventy-sixth “why?” question of the day. Swallowing your frustration and annoyance and responding with grace and patience is a job in itself.
But I’m willing to bet you don’t want to constantly be yelling at your kids. I’m betting you want to be a calm mom full of that elusive patience.
And you can be that mom. You can be a patient mom that stays calm even when the kids are doing anything but behaving. When the baby has done nothing but cry or scream all day. When your toddler doesn’t seem to care one bit about what you’re saying to him.
But what exactly does it take to stop being an angry mom that’s always yelling at her kids?
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Can Moms Stop Yelling At Their Kids?
We’ve all been there. The baby won’t stop crying. The toddler won’t do what you’ve asked him (five times) to do. The older kids seem to completely ignore every word you’ve said.
You’re on your last nerve, and you can’t take it anymore. And so you yell at them. Maybe it seems like yelling is the only way to get your kids to listen to you. Or even just pay attention to what you’re saying over, and over again.
Maybe that’s not the exact situation. Maybe your kids to listen relatively well, but you’re just very short on patience today. And even though you know you only had to repeat yourself twice—which is pretty good when you’re talking to a toddler—you still lose it and bark out your next words.
Who’s fault is it anyway?
Whatever the situation, as soon as those words leave your mouth at that elevated level, a wave of mom guilt hits you. You should be doing better than this. You should be able to keep your cool and parent more positively.
As those thoughts rotate around in your head, you feel crappier and crappier. You want to do better, but you’re stuck in this cycle of yelling and feeling frustrated with your kids. And even on the good days, the build up of bad days has you on edge and losing your temper far too soon.
Before we go any further, let’s take a minute to do a little self evaluation. It probably isn’t going to be comfortable, but it’s necessary if you want to break this cycle of frustration and impatience.
If you haven’t really thought about, you probably assume the yelling is your children’s fault. It’s their fault because they don’t listen, they don’t obey, they don’t hear you. If they just listened, you wouldn’t have to yell at them in the first place. Right?
Well…yes, and no. True, if your children were perfect than you probably wouldn’t yell at them. But the reality is that yelling is your own response to outside opposition.
Taking responsibility for your response
Kids aren’t perfect. No one is. No matter where you go in life, you will face outside opposition. You can’t control what other people do, think, or say. And that includes your kids.
You can, however, control how you respond. And that’s the part most of us trip up on.
We allow our frustration to build until we can’t control it anymore. Until it manifests as yelling, even at the smallest things. The yelling doesn’t come from a lack of obedient kids, it comes from a lack of self control in ourselves.
I know that’s not a particularly comfortable thing to think about. And believe me, it makes me feel lousy to think that the times I yell are not really my child’s fault, but my own failure to respond well.
But this is also good news. If whether you yell or not falls on your own shoulders, it also means you are fully capable of changing that. You and you alone are capable of changing how you respond. And that’s a good thing!
That means that even if you have a history of yelling, you can choose to work on yourself and become the calm mom you want to be.
Why Moms Yell At Their Kids
Even if your initial response to taking ownership of your response is to feel lousy, be encouraged that this is something you can do. You can take back control of your own emotions and responses, and learn to parent with more grace and less yelling.
Honestly, there’s a lot of power in realizing your responses are in your own control. You don’t have to be ruled by your circumstances or by other people. You can be the kind of mom—and person—you want to be.
And taking back control of how you respond to your kids starts with understanding where your current responses are coming from. Most of the time, we just need to be more intentional. More intentional with our parenting, more intentional with the things we put on our schedules, more intentional about the “small” parts of our lives.
Because eventually, all those things build up and influence how we tend to respond. Especially in the times we respond without stopping to think about it. Which for most of us, is more often than not.
Let’s take a minute here to look into the reasons moms tend to lose their patience and yell at their kids.
1. They’re frustrated
I’m not sure I even need to say more for this one. Sometimes we just get frustrated.
Frustrated that kids and family members aren’t listening to us. Frustrated at disobedience. At things not going well for us that day. Honestly, the list could just go on and on and on.
There are so many reasons moms get frustrated. It happens to all of us, so give yourself a big cup of grace.
But too often, we allow that initial frustration to build and fester. Before long, it’s a raging monster inside of us that’s ripe for exploding. And then at the tiniest trigger, we find we can’t stop yelling at our kids.
2. They’re burnt out
If you find you can’t stop yelling at your kids, even for the smallest reasons, you may well be experiencing some burn out.
Look, parenting fatigue is a real thing. Sometimes we get so involved in our lives and our children that end up burning the candle at both ends. Before long, we’re so depleted that we just can’t seem to recover. (Spoiler: you can recover from burn out!)
Often when we find ourselves in this place, it brings out some really ugly parts of us. The parts we can’t stand and hate and swore we’d never be. And yet there they are, rearing their ugly heads in spite of ourselves.
3. They haven’t taken time to recharge
Speaking of burn out, it often happens when we fail to take time to recharge ourselves.
You’ve probably heard the analogy of needing to “refill your cup” so that you have something to pour back into others. And it’s mostly true: at some point you have to take care of yourself in order to function well enough to care for others.
Now, don’t get me wrong. While I fully believe in self care, I also know there’s a true reality to the need to balance self care with sacrificing for our families. And often that means relying on God to hold you up even when you haven’t had time to recharge.
But sooner or later, a lack of time to recharge will manifest in negative ways.
4. They haven’t had time to themselves
This kind of goes hand in hand with recharging, but I think it’s important for moms to have a bit of time to themselves. Even if it’s just using the bathroom by yourself, and having ten minutes of alone time while you shower every day.
Being a mom can be wearing, especially when you have little ones clinging to you all day. And even if you love little ones constantly on you, it can become wearing.
Even the best moms can find themselves “touched out” come evening. Most of the time, some simple alone time can quickly remedy this feeling. But if you don’t ever have that time, it can quickly build irritation.
5. They’re short on patience
No, duh, right? When you think of reasons a mom might yell, this is probably one of the first things you think of.
I’m not saying it’s easy to have patience, because it’s not. It’s a discipline that must be learned, even for those who are more naturally inclined to it.
And often our patience is tried when other factors are present as well. It’s hard to stop yelling at your kids when you’re not actively working to maintain your patience.
6. Something else is bothering them
Sometimes, the reason we’re yelling is even remotely what we think it is. Sometimes it has to do with something else entirely.
This realization often leaves us feeling worse, but it’s a reality that sometimes we react poorly simply because of something else that’s unrelated. If you allow other things to bother you and fester in the back of your mind, you may find yourself letting that frustration out on your kids.
It’s usually best to deal with things immediately. Try not to let things eat at you. And when you can’t, be open with your kids that something else is bothering you. It’s okay to acknowledge that you have problems too!
7. They haven’t taken time to connect
Do you ever feel like you’re so busy you don’t have time to spend with your family? Sometimes this happens even when you’re physically with your spouse or kids, but you aren’t actually connecting with them.
For example, your schedule may be packed with activities involving your kids. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re connecting with them (and doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t, either).
But all of us are made for connection.
No matter if you’re introverted or extroverted, or how you think, or what you like to do and talk about, all of us crave deep connection with another person. And if you’re not regularly connecting with your people, it can lead to frustration and a quick temper.
8. They’re tired
How many of us have dragged ourselves out of bed feeling anything but fully rested? It’s no secret that moms are often tired, if not most of the time.
And sometimes being so tired can lead to irritability and a lot of unnecessary yelling. Next time you find yourself yelling at your kids, stop and ask yourself if it’s really coming from a state of exhaustion.
If you find yourself in this season, give yourself some grace. You won’t always be this tired, and you will sleep again (and feel well rested).
How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids
We’ve talked about some of the root reasons that moms lose their cool and yell, but you may still be feeling lost as to what to do differently.
There are numerous things you can do to make a long term change, which we’ll talk about in the next section of this post. But as you work toward long term solutions, here are some simple ways to begin making a change right now, in the moment.
1. Recognize that yelling is a choice
No one really likes to take ownership of their poor responses. I know for me, it just makes me feel super guilty. But taking ownership of your own responses, actions, and words is the first step in making a positive change.
You can’t fix a problem while simultaneously ignoring the fact that it exists. And you can only change yourself, not others. So if you truly want to stop yelling so much, you have to recognize that it is on you to choose to yell or not to yell.
While it may not always feel like it, no one is forcing you to yell. No one is forcing you to lose your patience. It’s not comfortable to admit at all, but taking ownership for your own behavior is the only way to move forward and change.
2. Stop reacting—pause before you yell
It’s insanely tempting to have knee-jerk reactions, especially while raising kids. But aside from taking ownership of the problem, the first thing you need to do is stop reacting immediately.
Rather than reacting in the first way that pops into your head, try intentionally pausing. This is especially important when you feel your blood pressure going up and the tension building inside you.
You can’t change how you act if you leave it to chance. It’s going to take a lot of intentional pauses to choose the right reaction. And it’s going to take a lot of time and practice to retrain yourself to react more positively, rather than immediately resorting to yelling.
I’m not saying it’s easy. In fact, it will probably take a while before you can fully stop yourself before reacting at all. Just start pausing as soon as you realize what you’re doing.
Even if you’re halfway through yelling at your kids, stop and pause mid-yell. Take a deep breathe. If you can immediately change your response, do so. If not, follow the next steps to regain control and change your response.
The more you do this, the sooner you will catch yourself. Before too long, you’ll be able to stop before you even start.
3. Step away for a minute and breathe
Whether you managed to pause before yelling or had to stop yourself midway, take a step away and breathe in deeply. Sometimes we just need a minute to collect ourselves—there’s no shame in that.
You can readdress the issue in a moment when you’ve calmed down. Trust me, your child will still remember what it was all about.
If you’re worried about your child continuing to do something they shouldn’t be, have them take a seat before you step away.
Leave the room if needed, and focus on taking at least six deep breathes. When you feel calm again, or at least calmer, come back and try again.
4. Identify the real reason you feel this way
Whether you do this immediately or after you’ve calmed down and addressed the situation, try to identify the real reason you lost your cool.
For most of us, the true root reason isn’t what it appears on the surface. Tired? Try to get some rest, even for just a few minutes to reset. Feeling drained? Take ten minutes to do something that recharges you.
5. Choose a better response
Finally, choose a better response. How can you handle the situation better without needing to raise your voice?
Maybe a simple consequence is a better approach. Or maybe you need to take time to connect with your child and talk to them about why their behavior is not appropriate.
It’s okay if you need some time to figure out a better way to handle the situation. Don’t feel like you always have to have the right answer right there. Sometimes it takes time to figure out what works best for your unique family and children.
Tips To Be A More Calm Mom
While stopping yourself from yelling in the moment is great, learning to become more calm around is a better long term strategy. After all, the more calm you feel, the less inclined you’ll be to yell in the first place.
Don’t allow frustration to build
This is a lot easier said than done, but it’s important to not let frustration build inside you. It’s so, so common for us to allow things to build and fester long after the fact.
Instead, learn to let things go. Learn how to release your frustration in a healthy and constructive way. Don’t allow past behaviors and situations to affect the ones you are currently facing.
This is a hard exercise in forgiveness, but an important one. Learning to truly move past things and let them go is a rare skill even among adults, but it’s incredibly necessary. And it’s important that you model that skill to your children.
Take time to recharge and care for yourself
One way to help release that built up tension and frustration is to regularly take time to recharge and care for yourself.
I’m not saying that there won’t be times that you have to sacrifice “you” time in order to care for your family. But for the most part, you need to have regular time to refill and recharge.
You can’t captain the ship if you’re drowning in the ocean. Creating space in your day to do the things that breathe life back into you is important. You are important. And your family deserves to have you at your best.
Actively cultivate your sense of peace and calm
Wish you were that calm mom that never seems to get rattled? Well, you can be, but it doesn’t come without hard work.
If you want to be truly be a calm mom, you have to actively cultivate your sense of peace. That means regularly doing the things that bring you peace and relieve any tension inside you.
Here are a few ideas of things you can do to activate a sense of peace inside yourself:
- Regularly have time to yourself
- Regularly spend quiet time with God (reading the Bible, praying)
- Practice deep breathing
- Spend time meditating
- Practice mindfulness (Breathe, Mama, Breathe is a great book to get started with this!)
- Make time to read everyday
Maybe you’re already feeling incredibly overwhelmed just trying to figure out where to start. If that’s you, start with just ten minutes a day.
Maybe that means breathing deeply for ten minutes, or reading for ten minutes. Whatever it is, start small and set a regular time to do it.
Once you’re adjusted to it being part of your routine, add on five or ten more minutes. Alternatively, you can add on a second ten minute break into your day at a different time.
Even just ten minutes of intentional time spent cultivating your calm will help you to stop yelling at your kids so much simply by activating your calm.
Avoid mom burnout and fatigue
At some point, pretty much all of us experience a season of burnout and fatigue. It may be a direct result of parenting, or it may be caused by other factors in our life. Either way, it can easily lead to a season of increased yelling at your kids, even if you desperately want to stop interacting that way.
And let me tell you, it’s far easier to avoid burning out than it is to get out of that season. So as much as you can, work to avoid burning out in the first place. Do whatever it takes to avoid reaching a point of fatigue.
That might mean scheduling fewer activities so you have space in your week to recharge. Maybe it means having a set night where everyone is expecting to be home and spend time together. We recently did this, and it’s made a big difference for us.
Figure out what prevents you from getting overly tired and burned out. And then guard it with your life.
Do you struggle with yelling at your kids?
If I’m being honest, there are seasons where I’ve yelled quite a bit more than I probably should have. There have been times I’ve really struggled with feeling constantly frustrated and tense. And those are the times I’ve had the hardest time stopping myself from yelling at my toddler.
Did my toddler need to be corrected? Yes. Did I need to yell in order to accomplish that? Most of the time, no.
If you’ve found you’ve yelled with when you shouldn’t have, be honest with your kids. Admit when you’re wrong, and ask them for forgiveness. It may be uncomfortable, and may require humility, but it will 100% be worth it.
What about you—do you struggle to stop yelling at your kids? What seems to trigger you the most?