“I’m Sorry for Yelling, Honey”: How to Break the Cycle


Here is a list of times where it is appropriate to yell:

  1. Cheering on your fave team at a sporting event
  2. When riding a roller coaster
  3. A boy band concert
  4. Clawing your way through a haunted house

Notice how yelling at our kids didn’t make that list. If you are like most moms (myself included), we are horrified at how much we raise our voices to our kids each day. You can usually tell what kind of day it has been by how frazzled and loud I am at the end of it.

I know things have to change. There are countless studies about how yelling negatively impacts our children’s growing brains. Adults in my therapy practice can still remember how loud their parents yelled when they were growing up; it sticks with us. We know we shouldn’t be doing it, but how do we stop this cycle?

Here are a few suggestions to subdue the shrieking:

Talk Like a Boss

Parenting guru Janet Lansbury has one of the best suggestions I have heard to date to combat yelling. She suggests talking to your children like they are employees, and you are their boss. In a professional setting, you wouldn’t be yelling, screaming, and shedding tears, trying to teach a subordinate a lesson or get your point across. You would be assertive yet kind and talk in a normal conversation voice.


It may seem strange, but flip the script and whisper your request. It forces you to physically take it down a notch and eliminates the volume. Plus, then your kids will have to observe at least a short moment of silence to hear what you are saying.

Get Out

Sometimes leaving the room is the only thing that will work in the moment to avoid a blowout. Take a few minutes to get away from whatever futile fight is happening. Take a few deep breaths, get some fresh air, grab a glass of water, and come back less frazzled and more rational.

Teach Them Techniques

Coach your children on some relaxation techniques such as yoga poses, deep breathing, and meditation, and then practice it with them. Make sure you pull one out when things get tough, and you feel like you’re about to lose it. Role model positive ways to take your emotions down, and it is a win-win for parent and child.

Get to the Root

If you look back on the times when you have exploded, there is usually some kind of pattern. Figure out what your triggers are, and make a plan to diffuse that bomb before it goes off again. If being late is your thing, get up even 15 minutes earlier to avoid a.m. arguments. If it’s the kids not wanting to get dressed, try offering two choices to them, so they feel like they have some control. Get ahead of it.

Working on changing a behavior can be a long process that requires lots of effort, commitment, and dedication. Know that while yelling is not the right answer, it happens, and we are all human. You’re not alone in your stresses. We’re all in this together. Let’s make a pact to work on STOPPING THE YELLING, ONCE AND FOR ALL!


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