About That “No More Yelling” Resolution: Pour Your Heart Out

When I shared my New Year’s Resolutions with you, probably the most commented about was my resolution to stop yelling at my kids.

Because so many of us do it. And really, it’s not like any of us likes yelling at our kids or feels great about it. But damn, it’s a hard habit to break.

The first time I wrote about a screaming mama moment was almost four years ago. My boys were 5, 3, and not quite 2. Yet, I really didn’t do much of anything about it except to occasionally throw out another post about how I didn’t want to keep yelling. To put that into perspective, those little boys are now 9, 7, and not quite 6. That’s a long time to keep yelling.

My boys, 4 years ago

In the past three weeks, since I officially “stopped yelling,” I’ve yelled twice. Both times, I caught myself mid-yell and stopped.

What I’ve realized is that my yelling usually doesn’t have much to do with my kids. It’s me. It’s when I’m stressed out, fed up, tired, pms-ing, something going on with me more than them.

Not that my boys don’t have their moments when they are being punks and need to stop whatever it is they are doing or when they really need to do whatever it is that I’ve asked them repeatedly to do. But if I’m being honest with myself, it’s not usually something deserving of a scream. Corrected, absolutely. But nothing they need to be yelled at for.

To give you an example of something that made me want to scream yesterday: I was on the phone with my middle son’s doctor and was trying to tie my youngest’s shoes so that we could get out of the door on time for basketball practice. My son was dancing around with his feet, squirming around and making it hard for me to get his shoes on.

I finished my phone call and my son continued to make it hard for me to tie his shoe. I started to yell “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST…” and then I took a deep breath. And I finished quietly “I know you want to go to basketball, so you need to let me finish tying your shoe so we can get there.” He stopped, I tied his shoe, we were ready to go.

At almost 6, he should be getting the hang of tying his own shoe. Or at least, he should be able to sit there and let me tie it. But that’s not anything worth yelling about.

What had me stressed out was the phone call. Everything is okay with my middle son, but where I thought we’d be shelling out $150 in the next month for his medical needs, we would need to come up with $600 instead. And that is what pushed me to have an outburst, not my son swinging his legs.

And while I’m being perfectly honest with myself, most of the times I’d yell are like this. More like this than those things that would make even a saint yell.

Just being aware of this is changing my behavior, though. Taking that deep breath(or holding my breath before I open my mouth), gives me that time to think about what I should say in the situation, instead of just snapping.

At night, when I’m reflecting on my day, I like the mom I am more. I don’t have as many “tomorrow, I will do that better” regrets.

I think my boys are noticing a difference, too. Which makes me wish I had stopped just saying that I need to stop yelling and actually STOPPED a long time ago.

The blog giving me inspiration as I try to stop being a yeller(and giving me reassurances that it’s normal to slip now and then) is The Orange Rhino.

Join in Pour Your Heart Out

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    • Shell says

      Oh, for sure. My goal is to stop yelling… but I also realize that it will be hard to never yell.

  1. says

    It’s so funny that I came across this post tonight. I’ have had a rough day with my oldest and lost it a few times, so I was just telling myself that I was going to stop yelling!  I am glad to know that I’m not the only “yeller”. Thanks for this post! 

    • Shell says

      Totally get you. Mornings used to be the roughest time around here b/c it was so hard to get out the door on time. Until I started doing things that made our morning smoother, which meant I wasn’t as stressed.

  2. says

    “At night, when I’m reflecting on my day, I like the mom I am more. I don’t have as many “tomorrow, I will do that better” regrets.”

    This made my heart so happy to read.  I’m so glad that you’re already feeling the difference in yourself and the kiddos.  
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  3. says

    I hate that I yell.  Like you said, it usually has more to do with me than with them.  At this point I think I’ve trained my boys to know that when I start yelling I’m finally “serious” about what I said.  I think my whole family needs to unlearn that.   
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    • Shell says

      It’s the same here. With my oldest(who is my worst when it comes to having to be told something multiple times), I’m telling him something once. If he doesn’t listen, I give him one last chance but say that if he doesn’t do (or stop) whatever, I add a consequence and mean it. It’s working.

  4. says

    I think you are in a great place Shell and I applaud you for sharing this. I am yeller. I hear myself screaming and in my head think, WTF, lady?!? While these other articles from other bloggers and so-called professionals haven’t really hit the nail on the head for me, reading your piece did. It really did make me stop and think. And so I guess I should say thanks. 
    Good luck with the resolution. 
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    • Shell says

      Well, you know I’d never claim to be an expert. 😉 Just sharing what has been going on in our house.

    • Shell says

      I figure resolving not to yell will at least result in less yelling. And that we can’t be perfect. We all have rough moments.

  5. says

    You are such a wonderful momma, Shell. I think just the fact that you are cognizant of this and that you can actually stop yourself mid yell (!) is incredibly impressive. 

    I think that’s true for most things, isn it? When our tempers flare and we find ourselves heated and we lash out on someone we love… it’s very rarely about them, right? It’s usually something we’re internalizing and stressing out about. I want to be mindful of this in my daily routine, too. 

    Thanks for sharing and I wish you and your beautiful family a very happy and healthy 2014!! XOXO
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    • Shell says

      Thanks, Charlotte. It’s hard to make a big change, but I’m excited about it. It is so true that we often take things out on those closest to us.

  6. says

    Yes, I think for me to it is definitely when I am not in the right place, when I am caught up in my things I want to do, when I am annoyed at something else in life that I snap way too easily.  It isn’t worth it though and I don’t want my kids to remember me that way either. 
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    • Shell says

      It really hit me when I realized what my kids could possibly be taking away as their childhood memories.

  7. says

    I yell all the time I actually started off talking nicely and calmly but my kids paid me no mind hen I yell they move. I don’t have to do it often though sot hat’s a good thing. Great resolution to have.
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  8. says

    Thankyou for this Shell. I love your honesty and every single word of what you say is absolutely true for me as well.

    It’s always when WE are stressed that knocks us off the edge- you couldn’t be more right. I actually tell my kids that very thing- usually to explain after I blow- and how their behavior just added to it.

    I love this post and your mission, my friend. I will join you in it.
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    • Shell says

      Thanks, girl. It’s so hard, isn’t it? I’m glad I’m finally deciding to make this change.

  9. says

    I’m right there with you and I create my own stress, which causes the yelling. My boy will be 6 in February so I get it. They ARE punks sometimes, but the yelling I do is usually because I have some crazy expectation that he couldn’t possibly meet…in the timeframe that I want him to meet it. I’m drawing inspiration from your “stop yelling” posts as well because the last thing I want my boy to remember when he leaves for school is that his mommy yelled at him this morning.
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  10. says

    We are most definitely on the same course. I’ve slipped too, but caught myself. The no-yelling is not only helping the relationships with my kids, but me. I seem to be … better. Or be able to pull myself out of a bad mood sooner. 
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  11. says

    I love this – mostly because you are saying it. Which is why I have loved your blog from the get go – you say what so many think but don’t have the courage to share. So thank you! I am right with you – I swear 9/10 times I yelled because of my own issue. It was tough to realize that but a total game changer too. Good luck! 

    • Shell says

      Thanks so much! I do feel like it was important for me to put this out there. It makes me think about it more and be more accountable.

  12. says

    I’ve made the promise to stop yelling many times and I have for the most part.  I do find myself yelling at my son when I have to tell him to do something for the third time, but I am much better that I was.  Sometimes instead of yelling I’ll start to sing, which makes me feel better and confuses my kids, so it’s a win WIN!
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  13. says

    I started the Orange Rhino challenge before Christmas. I was doing so well, and then I wasn’t. I have recently recommitted and have stopped myself once already today. And you put it exactly right. It’s not the kids, it’s me and it’s time I knocked it off. Hopefully I haven’t ruined the oldest four for life. They will probably always remember me yelling and I hate that. Hate. It. 
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    • Shell says

      I’m hoping to get mine to the point where I don’t have to yell. Maybe just a super scary whisper.

  14. says

    You are so so so right.  I love this post because it is so true…usually it is a million other things going on and the reason we yell just happens to be the icing on the cake.  I’m going to try stop yelling too…and take a few breaths!
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    • Shell says

      It usually is just the final straw, not really anything that’s all that bad that makes me yell. I’m working on it.

    • Shell says

      It really usually is me. Even though the kids (or Hubs or traffic or whatever) might be doing something I don’t like, it’s not usually worth me yelling on its own.

  15. says

    I’m so glad you shared this link, because you know it’s something we’ve talked about before. That feeling after the yelling is the worst in the world. I am definitely looking into this, and you could not be more right in saying that just being aware makes such a difference. It really does. 

    I’m loud by nature and I don’t expect to be perfect, but I’m sure going to try my best. Thanks my friend. xo. 
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    • Shell says

      I really do think just being aware helps. I’m working on it. I realize I’ll never completely stop, but I know I can do much better than I have in the past.

  16. says

    Exactly. Every time I’ve yelled at my kids it is because of something going on with me. It is not their fault that I get frustrated so easily (even if their behavior can be frustrating). I’ve realized lately that they ask me a lot, “momma are you mad?” I don’t want them to feel like they need to ask me that anymore.
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    • Shell says

      Their behavior definitely can be frustrating. But yes, it really usually is me, things going on with me that have me already worked up. And they shouldn’t bear the brunt of that. I’m working on it.

  17. says

    I’m going to say this and you may or may not agree. I find that I yelled at lot less when my step kids were with us because they were older. Have a 2 year old into EVERYTHING and a 5 year old egging her on makes me feel like yelling more than I ever did with the older kids. My son is 7 and I rarely yell at him. 

    I am working on this. I am. But I do think it was easier with older kids. 
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    • Shell says

      I think parenting is easier with older kids, for sure(or at least, easier with my elementary kids rather than when my kids were all babies/toddlers). I think I probably yelled more as mine got older though- b/c I’d think well, they should know better, as opposed to they are babies and they don’t. That part of it is just personal feelings, though.

  18. Kristen says

    So, I am trying this too. I am holding myself accountable by sharing my “not so orange rhino” moments with a close friend. She is reminding me that I’m not going to be perfect and that even though I’ve slipped up that I’m doing better than what I was. 
    Also, you are totally right. It is usually the things that I can’t control outside of the kids that make me snap. I need to tattoo that on the back of my hand as a reminder. I think it would totally help!
    Keep up the good work!
    By the way, four years ago was soooo darn cute!!

    • Shell says

      That’s awesome to have a friend to share those moments with. And yes, please don’t beat yourself up if you slip. I’m trying not to when I do. I know I’m doing much better than I was and that makes me happy.

      Can you believe what little peanuts they were? I got lost looking at the pics from back then.

  19. says

    I know that I yell the most when I am nervous. It’s so displaced that there have been times when I have stopped and said, “I’m angry at the bumps, not you.” It makes me a little sad that I am a different mom to Gia than I was to the other three. At three, we had just found out Nico had CF and I think I probably yelled a lot because I was nervous and scared a lot (plus pregnant). Trying not to yell at the older ones is really hard. It seems they only respond to that level of my voice. :(
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    • Shell says

      I need to say things like that- to let my kids know why I’m upset and have them know it’s not them.

    • Shell says

      I totally understand that! My three can make so much noise that at times I think they can’t possibly even hear me unless I yell.

    • Shell says

      There are so many tips out there for how not to yell. The deep breath is working for me- b/c I open my mouth to yell anyway, so I try to stop and just take that breath first.

    • Shell says

      I figure if my mouth is open to yell, I can stop and take a deep breath first. It’s helping.

  20. says

    Yes, the frustrations of the world can tempt us to take out our frustrations and anger on those we love the most! I absolutely love that you are catching yourself and holding yourself accountable. I’ve yelled – and asked for forgiveness. It’s amazing what happens when we start looking at our behavior and really holding ourselves accountable! GREAT JOB!
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    • Shell says

      It definitely helps to put it out there to hold myself accountable. I want to change and I am changing- and I’m so happy about it.

  21. says

    Oh absolutely. I just noticed this again tonight. Yes, the boys were acting a little crazy and weren’t settling down as I was trying to get them ready for bed but they are just 4 and 6 and I forget that sometimes. It really is stuff that’s going on with ME that pushes me over the edge and I end up yelling at my kids or snapping at my husband. I’m better than I have been in the past but it’s still very much a work in progress. This is a great goal and you are doing great.
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    • Shell says

      Bedtimes are a rough time here. I have to remind myself that it’s usually because I’m tired, not that they are really doing much wrong.

  22. says

    Less yelling.  I want this.  Thank you for being honest enough for talking about your own experiences. My NY resolution isn’t less yelling per se – but it’s to be more poised in all areas of my life – which would definitely encompass less yelling.  impressive that you were able to stop yourself in the middle.  Next time I hope to catch myself as well. 
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    • Shell says

      I thought a bit before sharing this resolution and my progress, afraid someone would say “you yell at your kids? What a terrible mom!” but I know I do better with things when I put them out there. If I have my mouth open to yell, I might as well use that moment to take a deep breath. That’s what’s helping.
      I love your goal to be more poised. xo

  23. says

    I am not a yeller by nature so that helps me.  I am also one of those people who HATE being yelled at.  I have also in the past year had conversations with my oldest about what that yelling feels like and I know it’s not good.  So like you I try really hard to not let my frustrations level escalate to yelling.  Sometimes I just have to walk away.

    • Shell says

      Catching yourself 95% of the time is amazing! I’d be happy with that. Of course I’d love to completely stop, but I also realize we’re all human and are going to mess up sometimes.

  24. Kristin Filut says

    Shell, I love you and I love that you force me to be honest with myself. I know that most often when I lose it with my kids it is due to my own stress level. Thank you for holding the mirror to my face.

    • Shell says

      I hate thinking about how I act sometimes, but I feel like putting it out there is making me more accountable. And causing me to change.

  25. says

    I want to yell less too, Shell.
    And yes, I have only myself to blame.
    I feel overwhelmed with all three kids some days, particularly when Izzy’s ADD is dragging me/us down with homework that shouldn’t take hours (they’re only in 2nd grade for crying out loud)…and Piper’s speech delays mean her whining and pointing instead of using words… and then I’m at the end of my rope. Izzy throwing a fit, Piper crying b/c she can’t explain what she wants or needs, and then me losing my shit.

    it’s a vicious cycle that repeats itself a few days a week. and even if it’s not homework, it’s something else that starts the ball rolling.

    but it’s my fault. I need to remember to breathe instead of raising my voice.
    i appreciate your sharing this and being so candid & honest about it…. and I’ve checked out that orange rhino blog before, but this is a good time to do it again.

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    • Shell says

      How are you doing with your challenge? I had to stop myself a few times in the rush of the weekend, but I’m hanging in there!

  26. Autumn says

    It is so wonderful that you are able to really accept responsibility for your outbursts. You are doing a great job so far! Keep up the good work, mama!

  27. Ashley M says

    My daughter is 3.5 and when she was born I made the commitment not to yell. I think I have done a pretty good job of keeping that commitment so far but it hasn’t been easy. Kids are not easy. 

  28. says

    I with you Shell! I am increasingly aware of how much anger there is in my parenting. It’s not anger that directed at my children, but it comes out in my yelling or obvious frustration and it seems like I’m mad at them. All.the.time. It’s on my list of goals to take that deep breathe you’ve mentioned, and it’s a choice. A very hard choice to be different. I’m trying and I do feel better at the end of the day. I look back at that one moment when I would have normally “lost it” and can give myself a pat on the back for not freaking out on them. I love the Orange Rhino!
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    • Shell says

      Yes, it really does feel so good to know that I’m making better choices. I have less cringe-worthy moments when I look back on my day.