How and Why I Stopped Yelling at My Kids

I used to be a yeller. Well, I'm mostly not a yeller now. Sometimes I catch myself yelling and I have to apologize, ask for forgiveness and start over.

I yelled because I was overwhelmed. And to be honest, yelling is what I knew. And sometimes (way more than just sometimes) I just felt desperate and in way over my head and wanted my kids to listen to me. I thought yelling was better than spanking because there was no chance I would spank them out of anger and cross the line.

Even though I wasn't physically harming my kids, I hated myself for doing what I was doing to them. I could tell the screaming and yelling bothered them. It scared them. (to be clear, I know that there might be an occasion where yelling is the right thing to when they are about to run into the street, etc)

It was abusive.

Yelling at kids isn't an effective parenting technique. They might listen in the moment but it is damaging. Most, if not all, psychologists call it emotional abuse. And I know from experience that it has long term consequences.

Have you ever heard another mom yell at her kids? I have. It's shocking. And eye opening.

It IS possible to not yell. It IS possible to break the habit of yelling. Moms don't have to yell to get their kids to listen. Speaking to them respectfully and backing it up with proper discipline will go way farther than yelling.

Solomon tells us that a "soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word sturs up anger". And Paul tells us "do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord".

If I'm training my children to love the LORD and I do not allow them to inappropriately express anger (through yelling, hitting, etc), but I am provoking anger in them by speaking to them in a harsh way or yelling at them...what kind of message does that send them? An inconsistent one.

There is a time and place to be angry. I'm not saying that I should never get angry. Even Jesus got angry. What I am saying is "in your anger, do not sin".

When I really got serious about stopping the yelling, I could not imagine a time when I wouldn't yell at my kids. But every. stinkin. time. I did it, I confessed the sin to God and to my kids and I asked God to help me stop yelling.

And then I went to counseling and learned that I could, in fact, change.

I went to a Celebrate Recovery step study where I learned to communicate in a healthy way. And I learned that my yelling is about me and not about the marker on the wall or the massive mess in the living room or the broken (fill in the blank) or my kids just not listening to me. It. is. about. me. My responses are about me, not my kids. And so I take a deep breath and I remind myself of that fact. And when I actually do that, I don't fly off then handle.

The thing is, I still mess up. Way less often than when I first started, but I do mess up.

The important thing to me is that my kids see the difference. They know I'm trying and that God is changing me.

And that's the thing, bad habits usually don't get broken over night. They take time. And grace. So much grace. 

Change is possible. God is good and His power is made perfect in my weakness. Praise Him for the work He has and is doing in me! Every good thing in my life is from Him.

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