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Why You Should Stop Yelling at Your Children

I have a deep voice that gets loud while in hulk smash mode. A couple weeks ago CleverMom was trying to grab hold of Little Miss so she could put on her pajamas. Little Miss refused to listen and ran around like a lunatic. Finally I snapped. I stood up, put on my mean face and yelled.

Yelling at Your Children“Knock it off, RIGHT NOW!

Little Miss jumped out of her skin and crumbled to the floor as if my words smacked her in the face. She cried “Daddy scared me.” and my heart was instantly shattered. How could I do that to my little girl? Did I really accomplish anything besides scaring the shit out her?

Yelling teaches kids to yell back

How many times have you yelled at your kids to stop yelling? I’m guilty of this. Seems silly when you think about it. Kids learn by example. If they see you yelling in an attempt to get what you want, they will do it too. Monkey see, monkey do.

They won’t take you seriously until you raise your voice

Eventually your loin fruit are going to tune out any demands that are not repeated a thousand times and above a certain decibel level. Unless it’s something fun or benefits them, then suddenly they are able to hear a slight whisper from across the house.
Constant yelling will turn you into Charlie Brown’s teacher. A pair of legs, wearing a dress and… waa… waa… waa… wa…

Yelling at your kidsYelling kills the chance for conversation

Being married to a pregnant woman, I’ve been yelled at a lot. If you’ve ever loaded the dishwasher incorrectly, forgot the separate the laundry, bought the wrong oranges, then you’ve been there with me. It’s not fun.
As a parent, we should be opening the lines of communication, and encourage our kids to use big boy, or big girl worlds. Yelling at your child turns the conversation completely one sided. Give ‘em a chance to explain themselves. Sometimes their reasoning is justifiable, or at the very least, so stupid that it’s hilarious.

Constant Yelling Ruins the Effectiveness

Sometimes yelling is necessary. If for example, your son or daughter is about wander onto a busy road or towards a gaggle of geese (Who are assholes by the way!). That would be an acceptable reason to yell at your little loin fruit.
Constant yelling wears of the effectiveness. If you’re always screaming about picking up toys, or brushing teeth, there will be no shock value left when you really need it.

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Photos courtesy of: Kiwanja & Kandyjaxx


  1. This rings so true! I’ve never understood the reason behind yelling at children, and the only time I did it to mine, I felt about an inch big for scaring her so badly. This is a wonderful article with great points.

  2. Ugh. And there I am. It’s as if my 5-year-old won’t take me seriously unless I bark, yet, like all of us, he doesn’t like being barked at. So, how do we stop this?

  3. So true. It’s the most basic and common technique that turns into what I call “fear-based” parenting. Those who yell and scream and berate and punish 24/7 find themselves at a loss when their tactic suddenly stops working sometime between the ages of 10-17—when the child realizes yelling is actually disrespectful, or alternatively has twisted their perspective into thinking that yelling is what you do to receive respect. For the former, the child simply stops caring about anything the angry parent says or does, and the latter becomes a more dangerous animal–he/she yells back, and is likely to continue the cycle of fear-based parenting if they have children.

    Thank you for not yelling! 😀

  4. I often do this with my 6 and 3 year olds. Check out Playful Parenting, a great book that really helped me start to eradicate this behavior.

  5. Have you ever seen those Nanny 911 type shows? The parents are so busy yelling at the kids that they stop listening. It’s like, geez. I’d tune you out, too!

  6. Hah, and it works so well! But I guess when you’re so far gone that you result to Nanny 911 there is not much else to lose besides your voice.

  7. Its not good to always yell your children often because it affects their emotional behavior. A lot of techniques on how to discipline your children without yelling. You should understand your children’s behavior.

  8. I love this post and I’m definitely reposting it on my blog! I also subscribed to your RSS feed and to your email updates. Thanks for posting this!


  9. Thank you for writing this article. I couldnt agree with you with more. 🙂

  10. I totally agree with what you said especially with how you are teaching them to yell back because they really just see what your doing and if daddy or mommy do it, then it must be OK even though its not. They really are just like their parents if that’s what you show them how to be. Like you said sometimes they won’t even come near to taking you seriously unless you raise your voice just a little and its amazing how smart children are these days because its like they test us with what they learn and what they see and its our jobs to make sure that we set the right example for them. Thanks for the great read and post! Nice job!

  11. SO true. And sadly fairly frequent in our house. Definitely my achille’s heel. I remember thinking I would be this calm, matter-of-fact, MATURE parent. Then kid #2 came along… Learning curve!

  12. Makes sense but sometimes so hard not to do…

  13. Thanks for sharing this. I try not to, as well, but there are just some days….

    I’m glad my kids know when to tell me “mom, please don’t talk to me in that voice, let’s all calm down first, okay?” (This is my 11 year old)

    Then I become more rational. Surely helps.

  14. Hey Jen,

    I think it’s awesome that your kids know enough to tell you when things get a little heated. It shows maturity beyond their years!

  15. thanks for this! I am a stay at home dad with two boys, and a girl (6,4,1).

    I try to keep my temper with my boys, because I do have one.

    I just tell myself:

    “Yoda, Obi Wan, Qui-Gon, no kids. For Anakin, we dads know that it was parenting that turned him to the Dark Side!”

  16. I agree with with your theories on yelling at your children. They are smarter than we give them credit for and most parents would be surprised to see their cognitive abilities unfold with a conversation. They are perceptive, as well as impressionable. It is important to instill positive communication skills when they are young. Thanks for the info : )

  17. Totally agree that yelling only teaches kids to yell back and therefore loses all effectiveness. I try really hard to remind myself and calm down! Not always easy.

  18. @Jill

    Hi Jill, thanks for reading!

    I agree, its a constant reminder to calm down and not yell. Easier said than done when there is steam pouring out your ears and you’re just about ready to blow!

  19. As a family therapist, I would obviously agree with this article, but it leaves out the most important thing about communicating with kids: What TO do instead of yelling. I love the books, “how To Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk” and “Siblings Without Rivalry”. What NOT to do advice leaves parent’s hanging in tough moments. We yell because we don’t know what else TO do.

  20. Hi Kathleen,

    Thanks for the comment. I’m going to check out the books you mentioned which should hopefully inspire future posts!


  21. I am so guilty of the yells. I have a short tether, and I’m working on it. I hate myself as soon as that mean tone escapes my lips, and I watch how it affects my young children. Thanks for posting – it’s another good reminder that I need to find more effective ways of disciplining my kids.

  22. Thanks Andrea!

    I am guilty of having a short fuse as well, and usually realise my mistake after the blow-out. As long as we learn from our mistakes, we’ll get there! 🙂

  23. You’re so right–yelling just makes everything worse, and yet it’s so damn easy to do. A great resource I’ve found on this one is Howard Glasser’s Nurtured Heart work. Basically, the idea is that build your child up by giving him/her lots of positive attention/feedback. That way, they won’t need to get your attention by acting out. The book’s called All Children Flourishing: Igniting the Greatness of Our Children, and it rocks.

  24. Agreed on all points! I have slipped a few times and yelled at my daughter. I’ve noticed that, despite the fact that 99.9% of my interactions with her are calm and measured, she tends to latch on to the few phases that were said in a not-so-nice tone. Not fun hearing your out of contriol self parroted back to you!

  25. Great post…good info…my husband needs to read this!

  26. It’s the whole catching more bees with honey instead of vinegar….good stuff

  27. Yelling at your kids truly doesn’t work. Its hard not to when they are being so obstinate! But I too am learn to resist.
    Also, I burst out laughing with that comment about the gaggle of geese. Totally true they are @$$holes.
    Can you link this post up with my inpirational linky party on my website? I know my readers would enjoy reading it! Thanks!

  28. Hi. Great article. I have a soon to be 8 year old and I have always made it a point not to yell at him. He is a wonderful child and I never even have a reason to do so. But if I do have to correct behavior I do it in a stern voice without raising the volume. I talk to him. I always give him the reasons why I expect him to behave a certain way. Whenever I take him out people always tell me how wonderful and behaved he is. I think you’re point of monkey see/monkey do is spot on. If a person is to yell at their child, it is what they will get in return. I refuse to have my child fear me. I want him to respect me. There is a huge difference.