In this guide, we will discuss ‘How to get your child to stop yelling at you?’, Why this could be happening, what is your child learning when you yell, and some tips on how to get your child to stop yelling at you.
How to get your child to stop yelling at you?
You may be wondering ‘How to get my child to stop yelling at me?’ because you have already tried everything and nothing seems to work.
You may even answer screaming at them or you may stay quiet waiting for them to stop yelling.
If this were to be effective then every parent in the world would use it and their kid would comply, but the truth is, it does way more harm than good.
Just the same way your child may be yelling at you to get your attention, you may yell back to get theirs.
Moreover, you yell because you run out of other ideas to make them stop what they are doing.
You may have noticed how yelling has a huge effect on you, maybe you give them what they want in the form of attention, something they want, or simply remove them from a situation where they don’t want to be. Let’s see some examples of each situation.
For instance, imagine you are talking on the phone and your child requires your attention to look at something they have been doing like building blocks or drawing something for you.
They start yelling and then you suddenly say “I will need to call you back” and then you pay attention to them.
In the second scenario, you could be watching TV but they have spotted something they want in a place they can’t reach, they start yelling “mommy, mommy I want/need…”, what do you do next? You get it for them so they can stop yelling.
The third scenario we can analyze could be taking your child to the dentist.
They could have started yelling even before they got out of the car or for a few mins already on their way there.
Out of frustration and seeing they were driving you crazy, you get into the car and go back home so the yelling stops.
Not just yelling, but parents should also learn ways of how to discipline a child that won’t listen.
What is your child learning when you yell?
In the scenarios we have proposed, you may or may have not lost it and yelled back out of frustration and with the intention to show them who is the adult and who is in charge.
According to James Lehman from empoweringparents.com, there are 3 things your child is learning from yelling:
- How their parents can lose control
- Power gets things done
- How to shut you off
In addition, “There are two ways people shut down emotionally during an argument: (1) they either stop paying attention and reject what they’re hearing; or (2) they start yelling back. When people yell, usually they are not feeling anything but anger, hostility, or frustration. And during a screaming match, certainly, no one is doing much—if any—listening.”
Subsequently, think about how you react when your child starts yelling and how you could be contributing to this behavior to keep presenting itself over time.
Tips on how to get your child to stop yelling at you
You have tried many things already, even have asked your child this is not the way to treat mommy or daddy or how they should not speak to you that way, but still, nothing has changed. So what can you do?
Tip 1: set your expectations
If you are clear about what behaviors are and are not acceptable, you will know how to work with your child.
For instance, to identify if the behavior is a product of the normal development of your child or if you can really expect your child to react differently.
However, there are things that you should not consider as normal, such as your child being disrespectful to you.
As indicated by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka from parentchildhelp.com, determine and classify if the behavior is unsafe, hurtful, or disrespectful to you, others, or the environment.
Tip 2: communicate with your child and listen
If your child starts screaming, you have already established this is unacceptable behavior but before you can effectively communicate your message and how it is not acceptable, try to draw your child to you and help them calm down so they can look at you and hear what you are saying.
You could try to whisper “I can’t hear you when you scream” and they will try to match your tone and even whisper back at you.
If needed, you can use:
- “I know you are angry but I can’t listen to you when you start screaming”
- “Let’s try this one more time. Tell me what you want but in a way that makes me want to listen”
- “Take a few mins and then we can talk”
If your child turns away or keeps screaming simply say with a soft and calm tone of voice, “I will wait” and try to resume any activities you were doing as if you are not paying attention.
Tip 3: the 3,2,1 calm down technique
If you are noticing how the situation keeps escalating and you are about to start screaming, shouting, etc.
Here is a simple technique you can use to calm yourself down and deal with anger.
You stop and prevent yourself from engaging by identifying 3 things in the scenery or environment that you can see, 3 things you can feel, and 3 things you can hear.
Then you focus on 2 things you can see, 2 things you can feel and 2 things you can hear.
Finally, 1 thing you can see, feel, and hear. This will force your brain to start making blood-flow to other parts of the brain.
Tip 4: remind yourself your child’s tantrums are part of their development
As explained by Laura Markhan, PH.D., “Children don’t yet have the frontal cortex neural pathways to control themselves as we do.
(And please note that we don’t always regulate our anger very well, even as adults!)
The best way to help children develop those neural pathways is to offer empathy, while they’re angry and any time they’re upset.”
With this, we are not saying their behavior should be tolerated just because their brain is developing, instead there is your responsibility to help them feel safe and find alternative ways to express their feelings.
Is it OK to yell back at my child?
No, it is not ok to yell back at your child but we understand sometimes you may feel very tempted or you could end up doing it anyway if anger and rage take over.
But when is Ok to yell back? Well, there are special (and obvious) circumstances where yelling is normal or necessary, for example:
- Out of excitement or celebration.
- When they are in danger.
Subsequently, yelling should be avoided when possible, and instead, implement some additional strategies that replace the yelling since long-term, yelling can be detrimental to your child’s mental health.
Why is this blog about How to get your child to stop yelling at you important?
This topic on how to get your child to stop yelling at you is extremely important for many parents that are frustrated and desperate not knowing what else they can do to make their child stop yelling.
As we have seen, this type of behavior is extremely useful for them in many contexts and it is used primarily because we have made sure to reinforce it unintentionally.
Remember that your child is learning how to express their emotions but you need to be a role model for them to see how it is done, where screaming back at them will certainly give them the message of ‘My parents lose control and yell so why shouldn’t I?’.
Subsequently, taking the time to make your child feel safe and let them know they can express their feelings in a different way will be very useful long-term.
Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to get your child to stop yelling at you
Can yelling at a child be harmful?
According to WebMD, “New research suggests that yelling at kids can be just as harmful as hitting them; in the two-year study, effects from harsh physical and verbal discipline were found to be frighteningly similar. A child who is yelled at is more likely to exhibit problem behavior, thereby eliciting more yelling.”
Why does my child scream at me?
Most likely your child may be screaming at you searching for attention, it really translates to “Hey, look at me” or “Hey, I need your attention”.
Also, it could be that they need something they can’t have on their own like something at a top shelf or a treat.
Consider how your child normally talks to you and how they do it and make a comparison, it could be that their volume is turned up because they are full of energy and you interpret it as screaming.
What happens when you yell at a child?
If you are constantly yelling at your child, the effects long-term could make your child more aggressive both physically and verbally.
Moreover, it can make your child feel insecure, anxious, with low self-esteem and increased behavioral problems.
What happens to a child’s brain when you yell?
Your child’s brain will have the same “flight or fight” reaction when you yell.
Their brain will send a signal throughout their body to get ready to run or face the threat or potentially harmful situation.
Long-term they will become insecure, anxious, have low self-esteem, and even could become aggressive towards you or others.
How does an angry parent affect a child?
An angry parent can affect their child by making them behave more aggressively and increase behavioral issues. In addition, there seems to be a relationship between parental anger and delinquency.
This effect can continue to impact your child during adolescence and even follow to their adulthood increasing their probability of depression, social withdrawal, and domestic abuse.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues
- If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.
If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.
Lehman, J. (n.d.) 5 Ways to Stop a Screaming Match with Your Child or Teen. Retrieved from empoweringparents.com.
Kurcinka, M.S. (n.d.) When your child yells at you: Expecting and teaching respectful behavior. Retrieved from parentchildhelp.com.
Markham, L. (2017, Apr.) When Your Child Gets Angry: Here’s Your Gameplan. Retrieved from psychologytoday.com.
Marquess, A, (n.d.) How to Stay Calm and Get Your Child to Stop Yelling at You. Retrieved from bouncebackparenting.com.