How I Stop Yelling at the Kids (Mostly)

I feel like this article needs a disclaimer. Something like this: I love my kids. I don’t feel the need to yell at them all the time. This is a sometimes thing, and a sometimes strategy, so please don’t judge me, lest ye be judged, and so on and so forth, yada-yada-yada.


But, hey. Judgers gonna judge, no matter how I frame it. So here goes: sometimes I want to yell at my kids. Sometimes, I DO yell at my kids.

The whinging. The whining. The sooking. The repeated requests for things you’ve repeatedly said no to. Repeatedly. The noise. The selective hearing. The ignoring.

All of the things.

And while I acknowledge to myself that I am only human, and that sometimes I’m going to respond with yelling, I want that to be the exception, not the norm. I want my kids to be polite and respectful because they should be and want to be, not because they’re terrified that the OGRE HULK MUM MONSTER is about to make an appearance.

So when I feel the OGRE HULK MUM MONSTER building beneath the surface, I try these things before HULK SMASH.

How I stop myself from yelling at the kids - BEST TIPS

1. I ask myself what I’m really angry about

Why am I feeling ragey? Is it even about the kids? Or is it me? Am I tired? Am I in pain? Did I just check Twitter and see that Pauline Hanson is trending?

Have they actually done something wrong, or am I just being grumpy morning mum? And if it was something they did, did they have control over it?

Is it about this kid, right here, right now? Or am I about to yell at my six-year-old because my three-year-old took twenty minutes to brush his teeth, and then she dared to ask me to help her find her hairbrush?

More often than not, I want to yell because of a combination of all these factors. I might be tired, with a low threshold for cheekiness, and the children might be extra-cheeky. But by the time I’ve thought through these reasons, that instinct to yell has gone and I can just deal with the situation. Which may or may not include some stern words, but hopefully not of the yelling variety.

2. I ask myself if it’s that important

I’m an organised person. (People who know me, don’t laugh. You know it was true pre-kids. That person is still in here. Somewhere.)

I like structure and routine. I like to know what’s happening next. I like to know what’s happening after that. I’m someone who would rather be an hour early to something than five minutes late.

So when the kids throw me out of whack, I feel frustrated. An issue here, a delay there, a whinge here, a waaaah there; it all gets too much. It doesn’t often come to yelling, but sometimes, when combined with other frustrations, I feel the tension bubbling up.

So I ask myself if it’s really that important. And the answer is usually ‘no’.

3. I leave the room

I have told my children that if I can feel myself getting frustrated, I might leave the room to calm down. I have explained that just like them, mummy gets annoyed and tries to control her feelings by removing herself from the situation.

And I explained it to them in the third person just like that. Because mummy can, that’s why.

This works brilliantly if they are being cheeky because they can be. It calms all of us down. Once removed from the situation, I can breathe and regain perspective, while my kids find that performing to an absent audience isn’t quite as much fun.

But if they are genuinely upset and tired and are seeking reassurance and love, leaving the room will catapult them straight to tantrum stage. So, when this strategy isn’t appropriate, I jump straight to the next one.

4. I sing

Um… what? Is this a typo? I cannot have gone from self-reflection and self-calming to singing, right?

Yes, yes I can.

If I have tried everything above, or if I’m too lost in my frustration and grumpiness to attempt logic, I turn what I’m saying into a song.

It is absolutely impossible to yell when you are singing. It’s still possible to sound angry, but yelling? Impossible.

Try it. Pretend your child has just whiiiiiined at you in their whiiiiiiniest whiiiiiiny voice. Try yelling this:


Now try singing it. Feel better?

This is not just a tactic I employ when I can feel myself about to yell. This is one I use when I’m already yelling and want myself to stop.

I instantly turn my words into a song. I might sing an actual song with similar words. I might sing my words to a particular tune (Frere Jacques and This Old Man get quite the run!). I might just make up a tune on the spot. Whichever way I go, I instantly start to feel better, and the kids stop whining.

And if I’ve chosen a tune they know, they might even join in!

What’s your go-to strategy when you just want to YELL?

Watch Emily’s LIVE video from Facebook where she talks more about her strategies:


More positive parenting ideas:

Image: Getty