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How do you keep from yelling at your children?

When I was a child, my mother would frequently yell at us. I was relieved when my parents divorced so that I would no longer have to endure her (or the spankings that followed.)

Now, I "hear" her under the surface of my voice WAY too much and then sometimes, it just explodes and I am almost outside myself trying to figure out where that came from but powerless to stop it. I don't want to do to my children what was done to me.

So, how do you stop it?!

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I count to 10. Seriously. And sometimes after I do that I realize what they did was actually funny and start laughing.

 

But sometimes it is justified. I have one child that will not hear me unless I change the tone and volume of my voice. Another that is very sensitive to the tone of my voice so I can't over react.

 

If you think you are truly out of control some counselling to heal your own past wounds may be needed. You can break the cycle with some help.

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I have noticed that I have certain triggers for yelling, and it usually is not even the children! When I am overly tired or hungry or hurried I tend to start yelling. It is not rational yelling either, it is me venting on my poor kids. :confused: Since I paid attention to that(because I also recall my mom going berserk and it was terrible) I have hardly yelled at all. I told the kids that these conditions affect me, asked them to politely tell me if they thought I was doing that, and to forgive me for when it did happen. I think they felt good about being part of the solution to (admittedly) my problem and things have been smoother around here ever since.It has been almost 2 years since we made this change and I think I have only yelled a couple times. I don't know if that is exactly what you were looking for, I hope it helps to at least know it is a common thing.

:grouphug:

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One thing that I noticed was that I would yell when I didn't know what to do. Meaning: I wasn't sure what a good consequence for their behavior might be. So even a fairly minor misdeed would lead me to yell. On the other hand, a major misdeed--if I could think of a consequence right away--would not lead me to yell. So I started to pre-plan consequences. That cut down on the yelling a lot.

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One thing that I noticed was that I would yell when I didn't know what to do. Meaning: I wasn't sure what a good consequence for their behavior might be. So even a fairly minor misdeed would lead me to yell. On the other hand, a major misdeed--if I could think of a consequence right away--would not lead me to yell. So I started to pre-plan consequences. That cut down on the yelling a lot.

 

Ooh, good idea :)

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My mother was a yeller, and I swore I wouldn't be. But I have become a yelling mom, too. Like a pp said, it is usually an issue with me that is causing the yelling. I am really really really working on stopping it. Just taking a little breather and leaving the room seems to help the most. Once I regain my composure, I can deal with the problem better. :grouphug:

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Have you ever seen "The Devil wears Prada"? Remember how Meryl Steep's character never raised her voice, but always got her point across. From what I've read that was a conscious choice by Meryl to give the character more power. Everyone gets defensive when someone yells (BTDT), but when you speak in a quiet voice, they have to pay attention.

 

I've tried channeling that power, still working on it.

 

ETA: I've been known to give myself a time out if needed. I call it break time and no one is the wiser. ;)

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How do you keep from yelling at your children?

When I was a child, my mother would frequently yell at us...Now, I "hear" her under the surface of my voice WAY too much...

 

I was also raised by a mom who used yelling as her primary response when upset - she still does. It's something I've had to work on too, because it seems to be my "default" setting unless I consciously try to respond differently.

 

There are times when I basically give myself a "time out" so I can calm down (I just say "I'm so upset with you right now that I can't react the way I'd like to - I'll be back in a few minutes to deal with this"). I've also mastered the "eerie calm" response where, instead of yelling, I put all that frustration into responding in such a calm, controlled voice that it freaks my DS out.... :D Plus, he has to strain to listen to me when I'm talking like that - so it quickly gets his attention.

 

As someone else said, if you're aware of it, and you've got some pre-determined responses and/or consequences ready to go, it becomes much easier to change how you respond because you're not trying to come up with something in the heat of the moment.

 

Good luck!

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Like Wendy, most of my yelling stopped when I realized what my triggers were. Now, I try to be ultra aware of my reactions before I get to the point where I am yelling out of frustration. When I notice myself getting wound up I try to determine if it is because the dc are truly misbehaving or if it because of something totally unrelated to them. Once I reach a certain point I will just stop and either tell the dc that I need a break or I will tell them to go upstairs for awhile while I cool off. I try to keep a sense of humor about it and I keep the dc aware of my stress levels. "Okay, I'm at a 4 guys...okay, I'm at an 8 now so everyone needs to stop what you are doing and go hide!" My oldest has been known to yell, "grab the young'ins and head for da hills, Ma's gonna explode!" Usually that will diffuse the situation a bit.

 

There are times though that I don't catch it in time and like today for example the kids just seem to be bent on riling me up. I cool off afterward, gather them all up and tell them that I'm sorry for yelling. I don't absolve them of their behavior but I let them know that I should have handled it differently. Sometimes when I am really fuming and have missed my window of opportunity for diffusing I will imagine how I would feel if my dc were gone, not that I never had them but that I have lost them through some tragedy. That usually always does the trick.

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Honestly, I decided that I had to make the situations that caused it not happen. I was DETERMINED to learn to discipline so that continued issues of behavior on their part or mine didn't happen.

 

Obviously, sometimes there is still the surprise; but those are fewer and further between for most people.

 

Hope that helps a little.

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I leave the room. I go upstairs and stand in my bathroom and vent to myself in the mirror until it is all out of my system. Then I come back downstairs and try to resolve the problem without raising my voice. But if my mirror could talk.....it would tell you it now needs therapy. :lol:

 

Diane W.

married for 22 years

homeschooling 3 kiddos for 16 years

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Heh. Depends on the kid. When my oldest son (adhd) is out of the house, I very rarely yell.

 

That said, what are they doing that makes you angry? are they not behaving themselves? Sometimes disciplining them and getting that habit down will reduce the yelling.

 

Are you stressed? If you are, can you take an hour or two to just stare at a wall or thumb through a magazine to relax?

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What do you consider yelling? I'm not trying to be a smart alek, but I've always wondered "What exactly is yelling?" Is it simply raising ones voice? Is it being "out of control"? Does it also have to do with the choice of words? I do raise my voice at times, but I'm not sure if that's yelling. I'm sure I've yelled at my kids, but most of the time it's out of panic if one of them is say... hitting his sister on the head with a 4"x4" block of wood or something like that.

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I don't consider raising my voice to get attention or to stress the magnitude of my dissatisfaction as yelling. What I referred to as yelling would probably be better described as screaming. Out of control, very negative words, face turning red, steam coming out of ears...scary. I haven't been there in a long time but have come very close. I think a lot of moms go there occasionally. It sneaks up on you and becomes a release. You feel awful while your doing it and can't seem to stop until you've let it all out. Then you feel even worse. Until you focus on the damage its causing and realize there are probably triggers that you can control, its a very difficult habit to live with.

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My kids are much younger.

 

(Dd is 3.5; C, whom I used to babysit, just turned 4; M is 1).

 

I hit a point a year ago when I felt that I was yelling at the kids wayyyyyy too much. Then I realized that I would yell after asking them to do something (or stop doing something) numerous times.

 

I started saying, "Dd, I've already asked you two times to do X." That gave either of the two older children a heads up that I meant business, and it was time to do some listening. (The youngest one has just recently started to get time-outs at 20m).

 

This has cut down on my yelling. It's not that I don't yell anymore* but this gives the kids an opportunity to do their part in making good choices with their own behavior.

 

*tired and hungry mama is also a problem

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Whisper.

 

I'm not joking.

 

I am a reformed...reforming...yeller. When I get upset, I take a deep breath to calm myself. I move closer to the child with whom I need to speak, I move to eye level and I speak very quietly and firmly. Not in a threatening way, just very firm. I often also reach out my hand and put it gently on the child's shoulder or waist to remind myself to connect with that little person even if I am angry. I limit my communication to "I want you to..." or "You may/may not..." to avoid over-talking at them, nagging, yelling or negative talk. (Later, we discuss the behavior and problem-solve, but when we're both upset, it is not a good time.)

 

It helps me to stay in control and gets their attention without having to resort to shouting.

 

If I am so upset that I cannot stay in control enough to speak to them that way, I let them know that I am upset and I remove myself and/or the child until I can speak to them calmly.

 

:grouphug:

 

Cat

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My mother was a yeller, and I swore I wouldn't be. But I have become a yelling mom, too. Like a pp said, it is usually an issue with me that is causing the yelling. I am really really really working on stopping it. Just taking a little breather and leaving the room seems to help the most. Once I regain my composure, I can deal with the problem better. :grouphug:

 

:iagree: I never thought I'd be a yeller, but I sure have been. Over the years I've mellowed quite a bit and learned some self control. My adult kids got a bit too much of my yelling. I take consolation in knowing two things. I didn't yell as much as my mom did, and I ALWAYS apologized afterward. So, my adult kids still love me to death but I sure wish I had figured out how not to yell when they were little. (Of course it sure would have helped if they hadn't been so naughty!!! :lol:) To those of you who don't yell...You are awesome! To those of you who are trying to quite....do. You won't regret it. I rarely yell at my DD9. She's getting so much of the best of me and I'm glad for her about that!

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I yell. I know I yell. I grew up in a house full of yellers. But the fact that I yell is something I'm not comfortable with.

 

I know that yelling is my issue, not my boys'. It isn't their fault that I yell. I'm not ashamed to apologize if I lose my temper.

 

I know that I'm more prone to yelling when I'm stressed out, and messes stress me out to no end. So, for me it helps to tidy up after the boys go to bed (so that we all wake to a clean house). As a bare minimum I straighten the kitchen before I turn in for the night.

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I generally don't yell and I never spank. I have to make a very conscious effort not to do these things. If we raised our kids the way some of our parents' generation raised us, we would all have social services beating down our doors.

 

I was listening to a psychologist talk about parenting styles and he said that the way your parents interacted with you is like a "default button" in the back of your mind. You can consciously interact with your own children in a different way, but when you get massively tired or stressed out, sometimes your parents' parenting style can creep out (whether it was good or bad).

 

Like other posters said, if I think I'm going to have a meltdown, I try to go to my bedroom and close the door. I've gone for a walk outside before and that helps too. I've also gathered up my kids, put them in the car and gone for a drive. I could call my friend and see if she wants to come over, drink some coffee and let the kids entertain themselves. Maybe go online and read the news for a while. These probably aren't the greatest strategies in the world... I'm definitely no parenting expert.

 

:grouphug:

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I saw this post last night but was too tired to respond.

 

It is very ironic that you posted this... last night I took the girls to a local homeschool theater troupe's production of Cinderella (it was very well done, and I got to meet MarianNOVA in real life!!!! :):):):))

 

Anywayzzz, the Stepmother in the play was a Yeller with a capital Y. I cringed every time she screamed, because I could hear my voice coming out of her mouth. Humbling. I think I'm going to try and remind myself of her every time I get the knee-jerk reaction to yell.

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I saw this post last night but was too tired to respond.

 

It is very ironic that you posted this... last night I took the girls to a local homeschool theater troupe's production of Cinderella (it was very well done, and I got to meet MarianNOVA in real life!!!! :):):):))

 

Anywayzzz, the Stepmother in the play was a Yeller with a capital Y. I cringed every time she screamed, because I could hear my voice coming out of her mouth. Humbling. I think I'm going to try and remind myself of her every time I get the knee-jerk reaction to yell.

 

I loved meeting Stephanie and her whirly-twirly girls. And, yes, the production was very well done - I was so happy that dh, the kids, dd31, her dh and my two grand-daughters and I made the effort to get there.

 

We were talking on the ride home with the kids about what Stephanie wrote about the Stepmother -- her screeching. We also talked to the twins about the fighting between the two step-sisters (it was very well done) --

 

We had a thread on this board about yelling some months ago -- Joanne provided either a link to an article or some amazing information about yelling. It made SUCH an impression on me (my mom yelled -- apparently my in-laws did too). I will try to find the link and post it here -- after reading it, and with alot of prayer, effort, meditation, the yelling here has been curtailed to almost nothing.........thank G-d.

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"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

If I speak gently (even when I am not feeling gentle), it turns away the wrath in my heart. I memorized this and try to read it every morning (and pray about my tone with my kids) to prepare my heart for the day (and all it brings).

 

I also pray for a "calm and gentle spirit" daily and that I will have "sweet speech and kindness" toward my children. Nothing will change me but God - I know that. When I am in fellowship with Him, I do more godly things (no yelling). When I am not in fellowship with Him, it shows!!! (ex. when I was sick w/morning sickness, I did not spend much time in the Word or in prayer b/c I was so sick (just trying not to throw up all day & night) and guess what? I yelled A LOT (when I wasn't throwing up)!)

 

Hope my experiences help. I am a yeller (and HATE it :(). I have faith that God will change me but man, I wish it would come soon. Mine are young and I don't want them remembering a yelling mom either...

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My mother was a yeller, and I swore I wouldn't be. But I have become a yelling mom, too. Like a pp said, it is usually an issue with me that is causing the yelling. I am really really really working on stopping it. Just taking a little breather and leaving the room seems to help the most. Once I regain my composure, I can deal with the problem better. :grouphug:

 

This is me.:glare:

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Just to add one more suggestion to the really good things people have said.... A technique used for parents who have abused their children is to have them imagine that they are being watched. Imagine that social services, or your minister, or your husband, or whoever you would least want seeing you, is there in the room, watching.

 

I'm not a spanker (only because my parents and dh's parents were) nor a yeller, but at my worst moments I can say cutting, sarcastic things guaranteed to reduce a child to a puddle of jelly. It's horrible. God forgive me. The "I'm being watched" technique has been amazingly effective for me.

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I didn't grow up in a yelling house, so I don't really struggle with this myself but my kids' dad does. His parents STILL yell a lot - at each other, at him, pretty much at everyone except the grandkids (surprisingly). It's extremely uncomfortable to be around. It makes me and my kids really hesitant to be around any of them, including their dad.

 

He's been working on it lately, though. Sadly, what really brings it home for him is when he hears our children speaking to each other that way -- which they typically do when they're with or have just been with him. He can write of his parents as "that's just the way they are and have always been" but he knows our kids didn't leave the womb that way. Or behave that way in the many years he wasn't around.

 

So what I asked him to do is to first breathe. Or bite his tongue, if he needs to. Just for two seconds. Then to communciate to the kids the same way that he'd want them to communiate with each other. Or to our future grandkids. If it's a reflexive yelling, it works and he can bring his voice down while still letting them know he's not pleased. If it's something more serious, and he's very much in the heat of the moment ... well, he's still working on controlling the yelling in those situations. Baby steps, though, right?

 

I really work with my kids on not yelling at each other when they come back from being with him. I make them hug each other. Re-state their words in a more respectful tone -- or write it twenty times once they've calmed down, if they refuse to on the spot. And I remind them that I don't speak to them that way, nor should they speak to each other that way. I try to reason with all three of them (my two kids plus their dad). Nobody likes to be yelled at; nobody really listens when they're being yelled at either, so if something is important to communiate -- it's counterproductive to yell. To me, yelling is like a verbal slap; neither is an appropriate way for my kids or their dad to treat each other 99% of the time. I give them the 1% because there are those times LOL.

 

ETA: It's a learned skill, which means it can be unlearned. I think actively working on it, particularly in front of the kids, is great for everyone. I come from a sarcastic family, which has its own repurcussions; this is my strategy for addressing that and it seems to be also helping the kids and their dad with the yelling.

Edited by eternalknot
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