How to stop yelling at your kids (Useful tips)

In this guide, we will discuss “How to stop yelling at your kids”. There are times when we feel we can’t control ourselves and all we do is yelling and screaming at our kid’s behaviour. However, here we will mention some useful tips on how to stop or refrain from yelling at your kids. There are many techniques such as using positive reinforcement or time out instead of yelling or screaming at your child.

How to stop yelling at your kids

If you would like to know ‘How to stop yelling at your kids’ may indicate that you have been yelling at them expecting them to change their behaviour but it hasn’t been effective at all. You hear yourself repeating the same thing over and over again and they just don’t seem to listen, not the first, not the second and certainly not the fourth time. But how many times does it take? How do you get my kid to listen without having to yell?

As Dr Paul Jenkins indicates, “when kids respond is because parents are serious, they’re at a point where they know, the kids know, that something is going to happen now if I don’t act, so the key here is not to get angry, not to yell, not to be mad but simply to move the consequence up and tie it directly to the communication that you just gave.

How to stop yelling at your kids (Useful tips)

Moreover, he explained, “…so you’re speaking calmly in a loving voice, right, raise your eyebrows a little bit, keep a smile on your face as you say something that’s going to happen and your prediction is something that your kids can count on.”

If you want your kid to do something such as cleaning their room or stop playing Xbox so you can have a family dinner, ask nicely the first time and then the consequence should happen immediately.

Yelling doesn’t work

You may feel like yelling makes your kid do whatever you ask them to, but notice how this is just temporary. You may have yelled three or four times and on the fifth time, it seems the effect wears off. Kids learn how to ‘shut you off’ meaning your yelling would not feel threatened or affected by it anymore. Instead, try to communicate with them but you may be wondering, ‘how can I communicate with my kid so they can understand what I am saying?’ Let’s talk about it more in-depth. 

When you are communicating with them, ask them to look at you because eye contact is very important. If you ask them to do something but you are too far away, let’s say in the kitchen, have you noticed they don’t seem to have heard your instructions? You probably might.

Another important aspect is to let them know what to expect and what they expect is based on their experience of previous interactions with you. This only means that what you have said, doesn’t matter as much as what you have done in the past and because of that they may not believe there are any consequences for their behaviour. Be consistent, if you say you’ll do something, do it.

How to stop yelling at your kids (Useful tips)

Use positive reinforcement

We know it can be tempting just to punish our kids when they have done something wrong but sometimes all we seem to do is to punish them. If they feel they are going to get punished every time they do something either good or bad then what is the point of behaving as you expect them to? 

Positive reinforcement is very useful if you want to increase the presence of a behaviour. Praise them when they do something good, just say something like ‘Good job, I feel very happy when you clean your room without having to ask you to’. Try to praise them for trying, even if they approached to do what you have asked them to.

Try timeouts

It is true that not every technique will work with every child. The general rule is a minute for every year. If your 3-year-old won’t stop misbehaving, he/she should go to their room for three minutes. Remember to associate the time out by calling out their undesired or negative behavior in real-time so they know why they are being punished. For instance, you can say something like, “you didn’t stop playing with the ceramic, so you need to go to your room for a time out”:  However, you can also designate another place for the time out and make sure there are no distractions or they won’t feel they did something wrong.

Take some time for yourself

We know how bad we can feel after yelling at our kids and perhaps we have said many hurtful things in the process so make sure to apologize if you did. If your child has pushed your buttons and you feel very angry and frustrated, take time for yourself. During your break, try to name your emotions, take a deep breath and clear your mind. 

This will prevent the yelling and screaming. When you have calmed down, come back and sit with your child. This will help you communicate with them effectively and teach them how their behaviour is not acceptable.

Know what triggers you

Knowing what triggers you will help you anticipate all the yelling and screaming. We know that there are specific behaviours that bother us more than others but most of the time we are not aware of them, we just simply react. However, sometimes it is not even about our kid’s behaviour but maybe we have had a stressful day at work, and then we come home to see how our kid has made an “art piece” all over the walls. You snap and start slashing out on them and all they wanted was to surprise you.

If you feel sad, stressed or frustrated for things related to your personal life and not your kid’s behaviour, avoid interacting with them if you don’t feel well emotionally. Take a few minutes to breathe and say something like ‘Mommy/daddy is not feeling well right now and needs a few minutes to be alone’. 

Why is this blog about How to stop yelling at your kids important?

As we have discussed ‘How to stop yelling at your kids’, we may feel we tend to lose our temper too often because we don’t know how else to make our child listen. We tend to repeat ourselves two, three, four times and there is no change in their behaviour. No matter how many times we yell, the outcome will be exactly the same. Instead, try to reinforce positive behaviours and ignore the disruptive ones.

However, as we have seen, the idea is to refrain ourselves by learning what triggers us and managing our emotions. If we feel we are about to slash out, take a few minutes to breathe and stay away to clear your mind. Also, set clear expectations and be consistent because our kids won’t listen to us if we never abide by what we say.  

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to stop yelling at your kids

Can yelling at a child be harmful?

Yelling at your child can be as harmful as hitting them. A two-year study suggested that the effects of harsh physical and verbal discipline strategies were found to be similar. Children who are yelled are more likely to exhibit problem behaviour, where there could be more yelling perpetuating the cycle. Moreover, it has been shown through fMRI studies that yelling can modify neuronal pathways in a child’s brain.  

How do I stop yelling at my kids?

If you want to stop yelling at your kids, consider self-regulation. If you can manage your emotions then what your kids do won’t affect you the same way, leading to having to yell at them as a last resort. If you need a minute to calm down, give yourself a timeout. Recognize and acknowledge your emotions, frustration, anger, etc. and learn how to manage them.

How do I stop yelling and threatening my child as a parent?

If you are yelling and threatening your child is because you feel you have tried everything and nothing seems to work. You could take a few minutes by removing yourself from the situation temporarily, sit your child down and tell them how their behaviour makes you feel. Try to find out if they have any needs that need to be taken care of and avoid threats by trying to set consequences for their actions. If you do yell, apologize. 

What is the most psychologically damaging thing you can say to a child?

Some experts believe that telling a child you don’t love them or how they were a mistake can be the most psychologically damaging thing you can say to your child. Others believe verbal abuse in the form of belittling, humiliating or name-calling can be the most damaging thing but certainly, all of them combined can damage your child’s self-esteem and foster behavioural problems. 

What happens to a child’s brain when you yell?

When you yell at your child, it changes the way their brain develops. Yelling and other harsh parenting techniques can change the way their neuronal pathways develop, this is because humans tend to process negative information and events faster than good ones so they are easily remembered and bring a lot of emotional pain

Is it OK to tell a child to shut up?

Most parents would like their child to ‘shut up’ and from time to time you may find yourself saying this to them but remember if you don’t want them to tell you to shut up then avoid saying it. Children learn how to behave when they observe their parents so they can easily imitate your behaviour because you have taught them it is appropriate.

References “How To Get Kids To Listen Without Yelling”

Grose, J. (2019, Apr.) How to Discipline Without Yelling or Spanking, Retrieved from

Kadane, L. (2020, May) 10 proven ways to finally stop yelling at your kids. Retrieved from 

How to stop yelling at your kids (Useful tips)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.