Sometimes our kids push our buttons. Sometimes (most times?) we’re exhausted. Sometimes the demands of parenting exceed our capacity to cope. And sometimes, as a result, we yell at our kids. And as you may have found – yelling doesn’t help anyone. It often makes us feel terrible, and our children are likely to yell back, cry, or stare at us with wide, frightened eyes. What it doesn’t do is make our children suddenly stop the behaviour that is undesirable and act more appropriately. And if it does, it's because they are scared of us.
What can you do when you realise you have lost control and are yelling at your kids?
2. Take a few steps back and take some deep breaths.
3. If the children are safe and your emotions are still running
strong, leave the room and let your anger subside.
4. Don’t dwell on what’s happened. Forgive yourself and go to
your child. You can turn this into a valuable lesson for both of
5. Apologise. Something like: “Hey, sweetheart, I’m so sorry I
yelled at you. That was pretty scary, huh?” or: “I got very
angry and didn’t use my words the way I should have. I’m
6. Ask your child: “Instead of yelling, what could I do next time
when I’m feeling angry?” Brainstorm better alternatives with
your child. Ideas might include: taking deep breaths, hitting a
pillow, walking away, counting to 10.
7. When everyone is calm, discuss with your child the reason
for your anger. Having this conversation when emotions are
more settled will result in a more rational, productive
So, after your flip out you can actually model to your child the following things:
1. How to calm yourself when angry.
2. How to apologise and acknowledge that your behaviour wasn’t
the best way to solve the problem.
3. How to problem solve and generate appropriate alternatives to
yelling that your child may then apply themselves when they
are feeling angry.
We are all human and don’t always parent the way we imagined we would pre-kids. But demonstrating how we can make mistakes and learn from them is a valuable life skill for our little cherubs.