I have to say, growing up I don’t remember my mum or dad yelling and screaming at me. We knew with mums firm tone that what she said – SHE MEANT! There was no reason for her to raise her voice or scream at us to comply with her instruction. We respected her and we knew our boundaries. We knew she meant business.

I think about raising my own kids and all the times I’ve felt the urge to YELL to get their attention and get them moving. I did try this a couple of times and have to say, I think it hurt me, more than them. Getting angry is draining. It affected my persona more than theirs. And, though it frightened them into action for a short while, it also displayed to them a negative behaviour which they now believe is acceptable. I had my two year old asking me to do something and with his impatience he suddenly screamed “MUM! COME OPEN THE DoOOooOR! NOWwwwWW!!!”

My first reaction was “ohh, you angry little monkey” then I thought “oh MY GOSH – that’s ME! He’s impersonating me”

Not cool.

This mum just taught herself to behave in a gracious manner when requesting something be done. What are we teaching our kids by this angry yelling?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean we have to “Pleasantville” everything up for our kids and speak in soft, loving, soothing tones whenever we need them to come inside for dinner. I just think we can turn our approach around to a way that does not leave us jumping around flapping our arms like circus clowns to get our kids to abide by our conditions.

We’ve got to remember sometimes that we are the adult here. We guide them, we’re not be guided by them and their ‘limit pushing’ ability.

Think about this, you want your child to come inside, they plea with you (in their ‘gonna do things my way’ kind of manner) to stay playing in the sandpit. You firmly explain “No, it’s dinner time, I need you to come in now and have your dinner”

“nooooo! I wanna play in the sandpit!”

Again firmly, ask them “Do you want a smack?”


“then come inside or you’ll get a smack, I’ll count to three

ONE . . .


“come inside . . .TWOOoo”

“but but, Muuum”

SMACK *** “Three!


Your child is hysterical; you actually meant what you said. The smack hurt their pride more than their bottom and they did not just whinge their way into a screaming match performance by you. You were calm, collected, instructive. . . they are the ones now dancing round like circus clowns and you didn’t have to get angry or resist or raise your blood pressure one bit. You were in full control of the situation and your child is the one now upset that they did not get their own way, nor did they push those buttons or limits. Well done. IF you are consistent, this may just work for you.

It sounds simple yeah? Why don’t you try it. You’ll be surprised.

Think about the outcome. One of two things can happen. Either they will be an uncontrollable ranting mess, or you will be an uncontrollable ranting mess – it’s your choice. Because Yes, you are the adult. Adults behave better than that. They understand how to control their emotions and it is their job to teach (and model to) their kids how to do the same.

Do you want your kids yelling and screaming and showing the world what you carry on like at home?

Good luck! Have fun. Stay sane ;o)

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  • I admit to yelling a lot at my kids, even though I believe it is ineffectual I myself stop listening when someone starts yelling at me, so why wouldn’t it be the same for the kids?!


  • If we were naughty and persisited when we were old enough to understand we would have one of our favourite toys confiscated. We knew not to touch it until we were told we could. We soon learnt after the first time that we lost them for a 2nd stint. Some children are so defiant that you can talk to them until you are “blue in the face” as an old saying goes. Yelling one or two words is the only way to get the attention of one child I know, then she will listen. Even removing what she is doing makes very little difference. The child is just very stubborn and defiant. Assessments have been done – not just once or twice – and no reason can be found for it. Her hearing was tested and it is very good.


  • I love this feedback, I have found myself yelling at my child many times and it doesn’t seem to work for me and it makes me look like the bad guy feeling bad about yelling…Gonna try the new approach I have found in this article…


  • I usually do a countdown and face the wall or go to their room rather than the smack.


  • yeah i do the countdown but it’s for time out
    it does work and the countdown is enough to get them moving

    being calm is being in control. i know you get tired but be calm and access the situation. stand there and ask them questions like what are you doing? why are you doing this? what should you be doing? how are you going to stop this behaviour?

    encourage them to express themselves and be consistent


  • Thanks for sharing, it was an interesting article.


  • My mother was a yeller, big time. I refuse to speak to my children like that.


  • I’m pretty sure we all know it’s not effective discipline!


  • Mostly it works, but sometimes I want to just sit down there (or lay as the case sometimes is) and do my own bit of yelling and screaming.


  • I admit I’m a yeller. Thanks for the article,will try & curb the yelling & see how I go


  • I hate yelling, like my mother I used to do the countdown thing and found that worked well. Very good article, thanks.


  • i think its second nature to start to yell when things are not being listened to, but trying to keep it at a minimum, I dont want them having my temper


  • Will try and give this ago. Clear instruction and no yelling.


  • I think something like time out would be more effective than yelling or smacking. SAorry thats just my opinion


  • I admire those that deliver their message in a rational manner, but sometimes, you do need to yell to get through, especially if it is to avoid the child hurting himself and he has tuned out.


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