“I Feel Like All I Do is Yell at My Kid”
“I feel like all I do is yell at my kid!” If you’ve reached this point in your parenting journey, you are not alone. Raising young children is HARD work and often filled with moments of incredible frustration.
I want to welcome you to this post free of judgment. It’s no accident that you’ve landed here. If you’ve arrived seeking change, I hope you feel proud.
You have courage and a willingness to be vulnerable. What an incredible gift you are preparing to give your child!
It’s time to free yourself of any shame and guilt you’ve been carrying around. If you’re here for solutions and effective positive parenting alternatives, you’re in the right place.
Feeling Bad After Yelling at Your Child
In the heat-of-the-moment, things can feel so personal. You try to set a boundary and your child blatantly ignores you. They do that thing you’ve talked about 1,001 times. And they don’t seem to care one bit!
It’s in that instance that yelling often feels like the only choice. You’ve exhausted other tools at your disposal and just want to get through to them. I get it. I’ve been there too.
But then… the dust settles. Perhaps it’s the disheartened look on their face or the dreadful guilt that begins brewing inside you. Either way, it feels awful!
The good news? With positive parenting, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Why Does My Child Only Listen When I Yell?
It’s true, yelling and other authoritarian parenting techniques can yield short-term results. You raise your voice and your child complies. You ask nicely and they ignore you. Why?
The problem is that fear is a terrible tool for teaching life skills. Sure, children may comply with the directive, but do they understand why? Will they make the same choice next time on their own?
Research suggests no and has found fear-based parenting techniques to increase challenging behavior in the long-run.
Fortunately, a positive approach to discipline offers effective alternative strategies to elicit internal motivation in children. While these techniques do not spark blind and immediate obedience, they empower kids towards independent positive decision-making.
Positive parenting is a marathon and not a sprint. Remember, calm and steady wins the race!
“I Feel Like All I Do is Yell at My Kid”: How to Repair Your Relationship After Yelling
No parent is perfect. Allow yourself some grace. Take one day at a time… or even one minute at a time if you have to.
Recognize that when adopting a new approach to anything, there may be setbacks and slipups.
Use the “3 A’s” After Yelling
When working as a waitress in graduate school, I learned the “3 A’s” of customer service: Acknowledge, apologize, act. In other words, own up to what happened, show remorse, and take action to make things right again.
It’s how we as a society expect fellow adults to treat us after a wrongdoing. We owe it to our kids to provide the same level of respect and restoration.
Growing Through Mistakes
The Positive Discipline model encourages families to use mistakes as “learning opportunities.” What better way to show children how to grow through a misstep than modeling through our own actions?
For example, “I didn’t manage my anger well earlier. I shouldn’t have yelled at you and I’m so sorry that it scared you. Next time I’m going to work on taking some deep breaths and staying calm before we talk through a problem.”
“I Feel Like All I Do is Yell at My Kid”: 5 Key Ways Stop
So now the most important part. How do you stop yelling from happening in the first place? Let’s talk about 5 key ways to remove yelling from your parenting toolbox.
#1: Reframe Your Thinking
Adopting a no-yelling approach to parenting often requires shifts in both priorities and perspective.
Prioritize teaching over punishment
Positive parenting embraces the true definition of discipline, meaning“to teach.” When teaching becomes the goal, rather than punishment, keeping a calm voice just makes sense.
The next time your child challenges you or makes a mistake, consider, “How can I best teach them a new tool or strategy to use next time?”
For example, if your child hits someone, you may spend time teaching them a different strategy to use when they are feeling angry (e.g., taking deep breaths, walking away, sensory toys).
Unlike yelling, a teaching-centered approach helps the child learn a replacement behavior. As a result, they may be less likely to repeat the undesired behavior in the future.
Find a perspective-taking mantra
Kids have a way of pressing buttons! When emotions are running high for us as parents and caregivers, the issue at hand can often seem bigger than it is.
Adopting a go-to perspective-taking question or mantra can serve as a helpful tool to respond calmly.
- “Will this problem still matter to me by bedtime? Tomorrow? Next week?”
- “My relationship with my child is more important than this issue.”
- “This behavior isn’t personal. It’s developmentally normal.”
- “My child may not be listening *right this second*, but he/she will get there with a little patience.”
#2: Take a Pause (& stop disciplining in the heat-of-the-moment)
Safety concerns aside, challenging behavior in children does not need to be addressed immediately. In the heat-of-the-moment, both parents and children are likely to make decisions impulsively, rather than based on connection and relationships.
Unfortunately, this impulsivity significantly impedes effective problem-solving.
By first taking an opportunity to cool-off and reflect, we not only decrease the likelihood of yelling but model effective coping skills for our children. We can also strengthen our parent-child relationships by growing together through mistakes.
Consider narrating your actions out loud. “I need to take some time to cool-off, then we can sit down together and talk about how to solve this problem.” (Note: The “talk” or “time-in” is not used as a threat or punishment).
#3: Put Connection Before Correction
“Connection before connection” is a widely accepted and effective tool in the positive parenting community and for good reason.
Expressing love and validating feelings before problem-solving is much more likely to invite a listening ear. In other words, connection allows children to become emotionally available for redirection and learning.
*You know your child best and what helps them feel loved and connected! Some kids thrive on physical touch while others may not.
#4: Plan Special Time
The positive discipline model strongly encourages parents to plan out special time with their children to decrease the likelihood of challenging behaviors.
Special time is scheduled in advance and includes a mutually enjoyed and agreed-upon activity.
Special time can support your no-yelling mission in two ways:
- Decrease instances of challenging behavior in children.
- Strengthen the parent-child connection and opportunities for mutually positive interactions.
Positive Discipline offers the following guidelines for providing special time based on your child’s age:
- Ages 2-6: 10 minutes per day
- Ages 7-12: 30 minutes per week
- Ages 13+: A once a month activity with a high level of interest from your teen
#5: Make Self-Care a Priority
We do better when we feel better as parents. When we’re exhausted or poorly nourished, we may be more prone to yelling.
Furthermore, research shows that feelings of stress in parents can be unknowingly passed onto children when not properly addressed.
Making sure your own cup is full is an essential way to stay the course in your positive parenting approach.
Some simple self-care ideas:
- Stick to a consistent bedtime
- Get outside or exercise for 20 minutes, a few times each week
- Ask your partner or loved one for help and be honest when you need a break
- Make time for a favorite activity or hobby that you enjoyed pre-parenthood
In instances of depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns, professional intervention may be essential in achieving parenting goals.
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy offers a helpful therapist locator search tool. If you have insurance, you may also consider contacting your insurance company for a list of approved providers.
There is no shame in seeking help. Remember, taking great care of your child includes taking great care of his or her parent.
“I Feel Like All I Do is Yell at My Kid”: The Last Thing You Need to Know
If you’re still reading, you’ve likely made it your mission to stop yelling and incorporate more positive strategies into your parenting routine. You are courageous, loving, and ready to give your child an incredible gift. I applaud you!
Now, where can you go from here?
Take the FREE 30-Day Positive Parenting Challenge!
To get started, I invite you to explore our positive parenting resources. You may consider getting started with a FREE 30-Day Positive Parenting Challenge.
You’ll gain access to:
- A free 30-page PDF workbook (instant download)
- The foundation of positive parenting with essential “do’s” and “dont’s”
- 30 powerful, easy-to-follow positive parenting tips & tools
- A parent-favorite positive discipline & consequences “cheat sheet”
You got this!