How I Stopped Yelling at my Kids!


Okay – So, just in case you catch me in public with my 2 in tow and I’ve lost all patience, I’m not PERFECT at this NOT yelling thing.  I’m still a work in progress.  I am, however, MUCH better than I used to be.

Let’s talk about the bad and ugly.  I yelled at my 2 year old, Meatball because he was being 2 and refused to get out of the bath.  He was tired. I was exhausted. My 5 year old, Miss, was watching carefully in the wings, trying to be good and trying to smooth out the edges and help her brother understand mommy was on the verge of losing it. And then – I lost it. High pitch completely outta control, foaming at the mouth, screaming at this naked vulnerable 30 pound chunk of toddler.  I was alone.  No one saw but my children.  I don’t know how but I got them in bed and cried. and cried.  and cried.

I don’t want to be a Yeller.  I was not going to yell.  I was going to break the cycle and be gentle and peaceful and not YELL.  I felt horrible.  I was failing at this parenting thing. I was trying my hardest, but it wasn’t good enough.  I wasn’t good enough.  This was my “shitty first draft” as Brene Brown would say (I like to name drop, like we’re BFFs.)

I went in to their bedroom (they shared) and kissed them both, apologized and promised to get it together. I inhaled their innocence and put myself to bed.

The next day I reflected HARD on why I was yelling.  How was I gonna get out of this? What could I do to really hold myself accountable and how could I find support in making this change?




If you aren’t familiar I came across a random blog/article and ended up reading this book By Sheila McCraith. (I don’t know her personally either, but that’s just a detail.)


and everything on and then I started a private FB group to do a 30 day no yell challenge with some mom friends. Why an orange rhino?  I don’t get it.  Well – A Gray Rhino charges when provoked, but an orange rhino responds gentler and more intentionally.  Get it?  I liked it.

I made it 3 days before I yelled and had to start over.  Then I made it 9.  Then 7.   Basically I failed REPEATEDLY and learned a little bit every time.  I don’t know how long it took me to make 30 days but TRUST ME it wasn’t the first (or the fourth) time around.  I did this challenge on and off several times over a couple years. It has helped me IMMENSELY.  It is hard work and requires a lot of reflection and a lot of forgiveness for yourself.


  1. Hunger! (it’s simple, but so complicated.) I get hungry and then I can’t handle the littlest thing from my kids, like buckling their carseat.
  2. Tired! My son has/had night terrors., My husband snores. My head kept telling me things to remember.  I was worried about work. I learned to put myself to bed earlier and ask for help at bedtimes especially.
  3. Lack of self care.  I yelled less on days on was able to work out.  I didn’t notice this pattern until I tracked it.  It didn’t matter if it was a full on hour long gym class or a simple half-mile walk. Having a little exercise ideally between work and home helped me significantly with the transition.


  1. SUPPORT.  I posted daily in that FB group.  I held myself accountable and wanted to know how others were doing with me.  I celebrated little accomplishments of my fellow moms.  I commiserated and complained and I learned.
  2. FINDING ALTERNATIVES – yelling is energy.  I needed to find a way to release this. Exercise worked but was not always an option with 2 small children and a husband working weird hours.  I learned that dancing and singing to nursery rhymes or oldies or whatever I had could change my our mood.
  3. FIGURING OUT MY WHYs – I now feed myself better.  There are protein bars in the glove compartment, apples and nuts stashed in my purse for when I’m running errands and time gets away from me.  I go to bed earlier and found ways to get meditation into my day. (I highly recommend the CALM app).
  4. I WORKED HARD ON MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY KIDS!  I got down and played with them more, even when it wasn’t convenient or anything I wanted to do. I apologized for my mistakes.  I held them when they cried (and cried a little too).  I stopped over-booking myself with busy work and decided they would keep me busy with trains and dolls and that housework would wait.


Read ORANGE RHINO and give yourself a 30 day challenge. I get nothing from promoting this, but I just liked it soooo much!  DO IT.

Realize that to stop YELLING – YOU have to change yourself.  You have to really look at the deep, awfulness and hurt and pain and be real about it all.  No one can do this for you.  YOU have to do the work and be kind to yourself as you fail.  You have to be willing to admit you are wrong, talk to your kids about it all and be vulnerable.  It’s hard!  I can’t sugar coat it. It’s hard to have a 5 year old call you out and hold you accountable.  But it is effective!

Miss and Meatball are 8 & 10 and i’m only now brave enough to write this, publicly.  It is shameful for me.  I don’t want people to know about that me.  I am different now. They are different now.

And it has made all the difference!



Do you yell?  Everyday?  Would you like to stop? What’s your reason?



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *