Want to stop yelling at your kids? In this post, I share what has helped me to stop yelling at my kids and practical ways to love more and yell less.
How I Stopped Yelling at My Kids
I thought I was a patient person… then I had kids.
I said I’d never yell at my kids… and then I had kids.
I pictured myself as a sweet, loving, always-cheerful mom… then I had kids.
Motherhood has stretched me and humbled me. It’s brought out the best in me and the worst in me.
About five years ago, I found myself snapping at my kids more and more frequently, which only served to frustrate me. The more I snapped at my kids, the more frustrated I was at myself. And the more frustrated I was at myself, the more I’d snap at my kids.
It was a vicious cycle and I felt trapped.
One night, I was up late thinking of the kind of mom I’d been and feeling so ashamed of my behavior and the example I was setting before my kids. I started praying and asking God to help me to love my children, to help me have patience with them, and to stop getting so angry with them.
My 4-Week Commitment
As I was praying, an idea birthed in my head. I decided to make a commitment to my husband for the next 4 weeks.
I woke Jesse up to tell him my commitment (I have such a gracious husband — poor guy!). It was this: every time I was tempted to lash out at a child I would, instead, find a very practical way to love that child.
It was a BIG commitment, but he agreed that he thought I could do it and said he was willing to hold me accountable. I went to bed resolving that, by God’s grace, I was going to change the tone in our home.
It Was SO Hard
The first day was very, very hard. One child in particular was pushing all of my buttons and seeming to make a game of trying to see how much they could annoy me.
Well, the first few hours on that first day of my 4-week commitment, this child tried all their usual tactics. I didn’t get frustrated. I didn’t yell. I didn’t even raise my voice.
Oh, it was very hard. But I’m a stubborn person and I was determined to stick with my commitment to my husband.
Instead, of lashing out, I asked this child to come snuggle next to me. I poured love, love, and more love.
The Change Was Amazing!
Within a few hours, this child’s attitude had drastically changed. They were calm, happy, and asking what they could do to help me. I could not believe it!
And this only continued for the next few days. Until finally, I felt like I almost had a completely different child living in my home. It was amazing!
I decided my 4-week experiment was a smashing success. And I decided to extend it for another 40 years. Or something like that. 🙂
Five Years Later
I wrote most of the above five years ago and I wanted to give an update for those who may have read my original post on this. I can safely say that this one change in me has changed the tone in our whole home.
My children are more helpful and respectful. I am so much happier. Jesse is happier because we’re happier. And our home is much, much calmer.
All because I’m choosing to love instead of lash out.
Lean in and Love
Now, let me be honest: I haven’t always done it perfectly and I occasionally revert back to my old ways of getting frustrated.
But when I start to feel the frustration and anger rising, I remember my mantra, “Lean in and love.”
When I want to lash out, lean in and love.
When I want to express my frustration, lean in and love.
When that child is getting on my every last nerve, lean in and love.
Practical Ways to Love More Instead of Lashing Out
1. Invite your child to sit with you.
I’ve noticed that when my children are frustrated and acting out, it’s often because they are craving attention and affection.
Inviting a child to come sit next to me when they are getting on my every last nerve can be so hard for me to do. In fact, I usually want them to be as far away from me as possible. But distance is only going to make matters worse.
Lovingly and gently asking my child to come sit next to me and be with me helps to calm both of us. It helps me to communicate love for the child (even if I don’t feel all that loving at the time) and it causes the child to feel special and cared for.
2. Stop, look, and listen.
Moms, we can get so busy with life. We have places to go, things to do, messes to clean up, meals to fix… the list is never ending.
Our kids don’t need our productivity. They need our presence.
If a child is misbehaving, don’t shush them just so you can get back to what you were doing. Stop, look into their eyes, and gently ask them, “Is everything okay?” Or, “What’s wrong?” Really mean it. And then really listen to their answer.
Taking time to do this — even in the middle of a very busy day — has made a world of difference in our home.
3. Pray With Your Child
When Silas is struggling, I’ll often ask him if I can pray for him. He always says yes and then calms down while I pray with him asking God to help him be calm, obey, love his sisters, or whatever it is that he’s struggling with.
Usually, by the end of my prayer, he’s calmed down and in a much better mood. I think, for him, my willingness to take time to pray with him helps him to feel loved. It also communicates to him that we need God’s help in our everyday life — especially when we’re struggling.
Diana from My Humble Kitchen once shared me with that when she’s struggling to respond with kindness and gentleness to her children, she’ll ask them to gather around and pray for her. She said that it’s basically impossible to respond in anger after your children have gathered around you and prayed for you! I definitely plan to try this soon!
4. Go Outside & Take a Walk Together
If you feel like things are about to explode inside the walls of your house, call everyone together and tell them you’re taking a walk in 5 minutes. (Or, make it a family bike ride if you have older children.)
Exercise and fresh air can do wonders when things are uptight! Plus, a fresh change of scenery can provide a better setting for talking through issues in a calmer manner.
Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses along the way, breathe in the fresh air, soak up the sunshine, and notice the beauty around you. This will boost your spirits for the tasks that lay ahead of you the rest of the day!
5. Share Three Things You’re Thankful For
As I often say, “There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.” But sometimes we can get bogged down by all the problems, stresses, and struggles that we forget to count our blessings.
In those moments when you want to yell and be frustrated with your kids, challenge yourself to stop, breathe, and call your children together and each share three things you’re thankful for. This might seem really difficult at first if everyone is at odds with everyone else, but force yourself to do this and it will most likely change the tone in your home.
Plus, it might help you step back and gain some perspective: in light of all you have to be grateful for, the small things that someone is doing to irritate you won’t seem so upsetting.
6) Do Something Fun
If you have young children, this can be especially helpful to do on a hard day. When things feel like they are falling apart, set aside your to-do list and plans for the afternoon or evening and have a tea party, a family game night, a family movie night, or go do something fun as a family.
Sit down, smile, and just enjoy your children. Take time to laugh together, read a story (or tell stories!), and maybe also talk to them about how they are feeling about life, things they are struggling with, or even some encouragement for them in some areas they need to improve in.
7) Put Yourself In Your Child’s Shoes
It’s so easy for us to forget that our kids are often carrying heavy burdens, too. Sometimes, we can [...]
The temperature is rising, but that doesn’t mean your spending level should go up, too. The long, hot summer months, when the kids are out of school and there’s lots of idle time to fill, can feel like a giant cash trap.
But they don’t have to be. Here are five ways to save money this summer.
Instead of booking airfare and a hotel, save money by spending your vacation in the wilderness. Camping provides a great opportunity to unplug and unwind.
Borrowing or renting equipment can help you shave down the cost of your adventure. Anything you cook over a campfire will be cheaper than a restaurant, so plan out your meals, avoid the fancy outfitter stores and be strategic about when you visit campgrounds.
Don’t forget the marshmallows — and bug spray!
Be Mindful of Utility Use
Electricity bills can run high during the summer months when you want to keep cool. Save on your bills by being conservative about your usage.
To avoid a high electric bill, adjust your thermostat at different points of the day. Turn it up when you leave in the morning — but avoid setting the temperature too high so your system doesn’t have to work harder to cool down your home once you’re there.
Blackout curtains and fans can reduce the need to blast the A/C. Keep your air vents clean and swap out dirty filters to improve your air conditioning unit’s function.
Check if your electric company offers the option of letting you pay the average cost of your usage throughout the year rather than getting stuck with super expensive bills in the summer.
Join a CSA to Enjoy Summer Produce
The summer sun makes for a bountiful harvest of berries, watermelon, peaches, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, bell peppers and more. A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program can help you save money on fresh — often organic — fruits and vegetables.
You may have to pay upfront for the entire season’s worth of produce, but buying directly from local farmers means you don’t have packaging, shipping and grocery store overhead costs tacked onto the price.
If you find the weekly haul too plentiful, you can split your share (and the cost) with a friend, or freeze or can the produce to enjoy later.
Find Fun Things to Do at No Cost
Whoever said you had to pay to have fun? Now’s the time for free summer concerts and outdoor movies at the park. Take advantage of the good weather and go on a walking tour of your city. Or spend your free time indoors playing video games or reading a book from the library.
If you think you can’t come up with enough creative free things to occupy your time, check out this list of 100 free summer activities.
Work Out for Free Outdoors
Take a break from all the A/C and head outdoors to sweat this summer, instead of paying money for a gym membership.
Get your heart pumping by using workout equipment at your local park, taking a run around the neighborhood or swimming in the pool at your apartment complex or subdivision — or a friend’s.
If you already belong to a gym, ask if you can pause your membership plan for a couple months. Some fitness centers (such as LA Fitness) may still charge you while you’re away but at a lower rate than the regular monthly fee. That way when you want to return when the weather turns cold, you don’t have to pay an initiation fee as if you had canceled your membership.
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]