December 17, 2017

How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids

By Erin Kurt

I love a line I read in a book once. It went something like this: “If it isn’t life threatening, if the house is not ablaze, if it is not an emergency, or if the child you are yelling to is not half a mile away, then yelling is the wrong choice in parenting.”

Yelling negatively and directly affects the way children see themselves and how they feel about their life and their place in this world. Yelling is also bad for the parent’s self-esteem since it is usually a behavior that one regrets or is ashamed of later.

It is important to realize that when parents yell they are not editing what they say the same way they would if they were speaking in a calmer moment of discussion or conversation.

The first step one must take to stop yelling is to understand what triggers the yelling. Yes, your child is probably doing something annoying; however, it is important to think about what makes you choose to yell instead of speaking matter-of-factly.

Ninety percent of the time, people yell because they were yelled at as children or they saw a lot of yelling when conflict arose in the household. Perhaps their parents yelled a lot.  Perhaps one parent often yelled in the house. Even though they may have hated being yelled at it is all they know, it’s their “normal,” so they simply fall into that same pattern during times of stress with their own children.

To stop yelling at your kids, start by becoming aware each time you yell.  The more you are aware of it, the more you can stop yourself before that shouty voice even comes out. This takes some practice, but without becoming aware of how often you do it, it is very difficult to change it.

The second step is to realize what response is most likely to occur after you finish yelling. Because yelling makes children feel badly about themselves they will often lash back in order to protect themselves, and then become revengeful. They may, out of fear and sadness, stop the behavior for a short period of time; however the anger and humiliation they feel will build up and soon enough they will lash out.

Often times, parents think yelling works when their child is small, but are shocked when they experience severe disobedience when their child gets a little older. At this point, it is more difficult, not impossible, but definitely more difficult to regain the respect and trust of the child.

So, if you know you are yelling simply because it is what you learned and saw when you were young, and you understand that the result of yelling never achieves the desired result, what is the alternative? What is the solution to stop yelling?

In order to change this habit around, you will need to learn an alternative way of getting your child to listen and be very consistent in using this alternative method. 

Children love and thrive on predictability and consistency.  For example, I teach my clients a 4 step discipline technique.  They use the same phrases and the same tone of voice over and over again so  they know exactly what to say each time a situation arises.  This makes them confident, it satisfies their children’s need for predictability and consistency, and it truly replaces the need to yell because it is effective in changing their child’s misbehaviour around.

I’ll share with you one of the steps in my 4 step technique: Use a matter-of-fact-voice.  Practice this.  For me, I would say, “My name is Erin Kurt and I’m a parenting coach who teaches simple techniques to moms and dads who want to effectively parent without yelling.” What would you say?  Watch how you say it.  What’s your tone?  Is there any emotion in saying it?  Probably not, it’s just fact, right?

When a situation arises with your children you simply need to use this same tone and describe what it is they need to do. Is it, “You need to finish eating what’s in your mouth before you start talking”? Is it, “You need to be patient and wait until I’m done talking to this lady”?  What is it?

You CAN stop yelling at your kids and you CAN start feeling more confident in what to say and do in times of stress when you need your child to stop or start doing something.  Remember: become aware, realize the undesirable outcome of yelling, then learn a simple method and be consistent with it.  This is a winning formula!


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Erin A. Kurt, Stress-Free Parenting Expert, is founder of and the author of Juggling Family Life: A Step-By-Step Guide to Stress-Free Parenting, the proven step-by-step program that shows you exactly how to raise happy, respectful and well-adjusted kids in just 3 steps…guaranteed. To get your F.R.E.E. video series and receive her stress-free parenting articles on how to parent without yelling and get your kids to listen to you the first time, visit 




  1. Great article. We are the adults. We should be able to come up with other means of communication. What we say and how we say it is so important. Kids can sometimes tune you out if all they hear all the time is yelling.
    Thanks for the post.

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