I would love to tell you that I am a perfect mom, that I never lose it nor yell at my kids but the reality is that I make mistakes. Every single day I try to be a better parent and learn from my mistakes. Every single day I read a few pages from a book or an article online to help me become a better a mom but I am not perfect. I yell sometimes.
Yelling is not something I’m proud of. Actually, I hate yelling and after I yell I’m always hard on my myself and wondering why I let myself get to this point. And although I don’t yell often, I shouldn’t be yelling at all.
I’ve come to realize that when I yell it’s because I’m too tired or too overwhelmed or too frustrated and end up yelling at my kids so I try my best not to let myself get to this point. If I feel like I’m close to yelling I usually try to take a break to recharge myself.
Yelling is not good. Your child won’t “learn a lesson” if you yell at them. If anything, they will learn that yelling might get their point across and do you really want your child yelling its way through life? No. Yelling might also make your child scared of you and I personally don’t want that either.
However, there are times I end up yelling and feeling horrible about it. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that feels this way so I came up with a list of things we should do AFTER we yell at our kids.
Stop yelling and take a deep breath
The very first thing you have to do if you find yourself yelling is to stop. Stop right away. Take a deep breath and try to calm yourself down.
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Focusing on your breathing is a great tool to help you calm down.
Tell your kids you need a moment to calm down. This is actually being a good role model because they will see we can get upset and calm down immediately and reassess the situation. Kids learn how to manage their own emotions by watching how we manage our own emotions.
The next thing I do is apologize to my kid. Why? Because yelling is not an appropriate response and we want our children to learn how to communicate without yelling. In fact, when we yell our child’s brain hears more the tone than the words, so much of the message is lost. The best way to discipline your child is to do so in a calm tone of voice, so that they can hear you words, not just your tone.
I apologize for yelling at them and tell them that I got upset, overwhelmed, frustrated and yelled but that I shouldn’t have done that.
For example: “Cookie I am so sorry for yelling. Mama was really upset because you were drawing on the wall and I felt so frustrated that I yelled. But yelling is not right and I shouldn’t have yelled. I am so sorry.”
You can also keep it simple and say: “I am sorry I yelled.”
I am usually on my knees when I’m telling my kid this and I also give her several hugs as I’m saying it.
Explain the situation
Along with the apology I explain to my kids why I yelled at them. I tell them what made me yell and once again I explain to them why I shouldn’t have yelled. I also like to tell them how I should have handled things instead.
For example: “When you draw on the wall it makes me upset because it’s really hard for me to clean it afterwards. I would like to spend my time playing with you and not cleaning the wall and this is why mama got mad. But I shouldn’t yell, I should have come to you and asked to stop or given you a book to color, right? I am sorry. Mama doesn’t like to yell to you. I love you.”
Connect with you kid
I stop what I’m doing at the moment to reconnect with my kid. If I don’t have much time (because I’m cooking dinner or we’re heading out) we reconnect with a hug, a kiss and an “I love you” but when I have time we do an activity together. I remind her during during the activity that I feel bad for yelling at her, that I shouldn’t have done it and that I love her.
I also take this opportunity to explain what led to me yelling. There’s usually something I’m trying to teach them and when we yell the message gets lost, so once I’m calm I talk to my kids about what they did so we can correct the behavior.
Sometimes I’ll even talk to her about what happened a few hours later. I tell her how bad I feel for yelling at her again, explain what happened, why I yelled, what I should have done instead and remind her that I love her.
During this time I also invite my kid to come up with a solution to whatever problem we’re dealing with.
Hit the reset button
Once you’ve calmed down, your kid understood what happened and you’ve reconnected with them, it’s time for a do-over.
If the kids were playing over a toy you can ask them if they’re ready to share it or offer them a new toy. If your kid didn’t feel heard, ask them to tell you again what is it that they want. Offer alternatives to what they were doing or show them a new way.
Going back to the drawing on the wall example, I would tell my kid: “I see you want to draw, but we can’t draw on the wall. How about we get your coloring book out?”
What’s important to remember is that we are trying to coach/teach our children an important lesson or rule but when we yell the message gets lost. Once we’ve apologized for our behavior, it’s time to correct their behavior.
Don’t be hard on yourself
I am guilty of being too hard on myself but I know I shouldn’t be. Being a mom is a hard job and you usually don’t get a break from it. It’s easy to reach your limit if you don’t take care of yourself, get some “me time” or little breaks during the day.
Remember that we’re all learning how to parent along the way, so we are bound to make mistakes. The best we can do is learn from them, move on and do better next time. Remember you are doing your best and beating yourself up about it is not going to change things or make it better.
Use your energy on reading about positive parenting techniques or on thinking how you can handle things better next time.
Start paying more attention to your own behavior so you can stop yourself from yelling. Usually we are already irritated or tired before we yell so if we’re able to recognize this, we can mentally prepare ourselves to have more patient that day since things that usually don’t trigger us, might trigger us.
Ask for help
If you’re under a lot of stress you might find yourself yelling a lot. Sometimes we need to remove ourselves from the situation for a while. If you can, ask your spouse or a family member to watch your kids for a few hours and go do something for yourself: exercise, shopping, hanging out with your girlfriend, whatever makes you happy.
This is actually a good habit to get into, especially if you have more than one kid. A little time to yourself does wonders for your mood and therefore, makes you a better parent.
A few more things I want to add:
Kids learn through example
The reality is that we are all humans and lose it. It is healthy for your child to see that you can be upset, mad or frustrated, apologize and make the situation better. It is also great to show them other ways you could have handled that situation so when they’re feeling this way they can approach things differently.
They will learn that we all make mistakes but that we can learn from them and grow to become a better person.
When it’s ok to yell
If your child is in danger or about to put themselves in danger, yelling them to stop will make them realize the urgency of things and stop them before they get hurt. For example, your kid is about to walk across the street and a car is coming or your kid is about to touch the stove and it’s hot.
If you’re constantly yelling at your kids they can become immune to your yelling and when an emergency arrises yelling won’t help, it won’t make them stop. So try to save yelling for those times when their life is in danger.
How to discipline without yelling:
Click here to read my top tips on how to discipline without yelling. If you’re more of an audio person, click here to listen to my podcast episode with tips on how to discipline your child without yelling and WHY that’s so important.
Or you can read these great parenting books on positive discipline: