“I struggle with anger and yelling all the time. It makes me feel like crap but I just can’t stop yelling at her. I cry every time I yell because I hate it. But I don’t know how to stop. I also can’t stand the sound of whining or screaming. it triggers me. I’m struggling and I just need some advice”
Yelling Mom Blog Post Series
When I read quotes like this from struggling moms I just want to reach out through the screen and give them a big hug. Motherhood is hard. Parenting is hard. It is a long journey of very beautiful moments and moments of pain and frustration.
I don’t think I have ever been physically hurt as much as I have by my kids. I can’t even count the number of times I have been bonked on the nose, poked in the eye, or had something dropped on my toe. Always at the worst time! And this is just physical pain… I haven’t even begun to talk about the emotional pain or amount of patience that comes with mothering.
Unfortunately for many mothers when we get triggered or our buttons pushed, we yell. It feels like it just happens. Like we aren’t in control.
So the big question today is, how do I stop from yelling at my child? Can I even stop myself from yelling at my child?
When I struggled with postpartum anxiety, rage was one of the symptoms that greatly affected my motherhood. I learned pretty quickly that it wasn’t working for me and that it was actually triggering negative behaviours in my kids. I am still working on undoing the damage that was done during those years. But, I also know there is hope. I have learned tools and strategies that help me to stop yelling at my child.
Mama, I know that we can make changes and that any damage done can be healed.
I don’t want you to have to go through what I went through for years so I have decided to write a mini blog post series so I can inform you and offer you tools and strategies to help you be the best mom you can be.
The Series will cover
There is no shame in yelling. When we know better and have the right tools we can do better. We have the privilege of raising the next generation and with that comes the responsibility and opportunity to raise a generation who is skilled at emotion regulation and responds with kindness and compassion.
3 Strategies - How Do I Stop Yelling At My Child?
The first question we need to address is, can I stop myself from yelling at my child? The answer is a hard yes! Will it be easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes!
You can help your anger. Don’t believe me? I want you to ask yourself this.. if you were in the middle of screaming at your child and someone you really respected walked by, such as your boss, neighbour, or Michelle Obama, would you stop yelling? (webMD)
Although anger is very connected to our reptilian brain or survival brain – thanks amygdala, it is possible to find ways to manage our emotions and gain control over our responses. If you want to learn more about your stress response system and how the brain works check out this blog post.
There are 3 things I want you to consider when working to no longer yell at your child. (oh and by the way I really commend you for reading this post and actually taking some steps towards making your relationship with your child better!)
3 Mom Focused Reflections
1. Check your tank?
When we have nothing left in our tank – we are completely drained, we are less likely to respond well. Managing emotions takes a lot of energy and if we don’t take care of ourselves on a daily basis it is going to be a lot harder to respond with love, kindness, and respect towards our children. What is one thing you can do today to fill your tank and decrease stress? Need a deep dive on stress? Check out this blog post all about stress and strategies for stress relief.
2. Learn your triggers
Many moms have one or two areas that are more likely to trigger them to yell. The four main reasons moms yell are:
- They are just overwhelmed by life stressors and don’t have the energy or patience to respond well.
- She is triggered by one of their child’s personality traits such as strong willed, spirited, or perfectionism.
- Mom is triggered by her physiological needs such as being tired, hungry, hot, cold, etc.
- She is just really overwhelmed by all the demands and expectations of motherhood.
If you want to learn what your main yelling mom trigger is, checkout my free quiz!
3. Reflect on your anger - dig deep
Anger is a secondary emotion. It is a strong emotion that is usually accompanied by another more deep emotion. When you are starting to feel frustration, mad, or anger try to reflect on what’s really going on below the surface.
Are you feeling vulnerable? Maybe you feel unheard or underappreciated? Or perhaps you are embarrassed by your child’s public display of negative behaviour.
4 strategies to help you stop yelling at your child in the moment
- Breathe – literally stop and take a deep breath. Breathing is one of the most simple yet powerful ways we can regain control of our brain and body. There is so much science to prove why but I won’t get into that now. Just breathe!
- Walk away – give yourself a timeout. It’s ok to say to your child “Mom is feeling pretty angry right now I need a 2 min timeout. I’ll be right back”.
- Count – it sounds silly but counting engages the prefrontal cortex which has gone offline (confused? Read this about the brain) and controls the problem solving and logical part of the brain. Daniel Tiger sings “If you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four!”
- Yell at something else. Sometimes we are just so angry we need to get it out. And that’s ok. But we can’t yell at our kids. So, go and yell in a pillow or a closet or do a low growl and stomp your foot.
Now that we talked about ways to stop yourself from yelling at your child in the moment, let’s talk about alternatives to yelling.
3 Alternatives to Yelling
- Talk about emotions – Anger is a normal human emotion. And it actually serves a purpose. Anger tells us that something is bothering us or not in alignment with our values and expectations. By talking about our emotions it helps kids to know that all emotions are ok and that there is a healthy way to respond to them.
- Take a break – it’s ok to say to your child, “I think we are both experiencing big emotions right now. Let’s take a break and talk about this again in 5 mins”. Moments like these help us to role model good behaviour to our children.
- Address behaviour calmly but firmly and not in the moment. This also means that we treat our children with respect and leave out the name calling and bad words. That’s just mean. “Children misbehave occasionally. That’s part of growing up. Talk to them in a firm way that leaves their dignity intact but makes it clear that certain behaviors are not tolerated. Get down to their eye level rather than speaking to them from high up or from far away. At the same time, remember to acknowledge respectful behavior and problem solving among themselves”. (Healthline)
Lastly, I want you to know that you are going to still yell once in a while. And that’s ok. No mother is perfect and anger is a normal human emotion. Since you are sometimes going to yell, here’s one important thing I need you to know.
Repairing the relationship after yelling is one of the best things you can do for your child. It rebuilds attachment, teaches them how to apologize, and shows them it’s ok to make mistakes AND you love them dearly. It is never too late to show our kids respect and rekindle their sense of self worth.
How do you repair a relationship with a child after yelling?
- When you are calm…. I repeat, when you are calm, have a kind, gentle conversation with your child. Reconnect with your child. Rebuilding attachment is the main goal.
- Apologize – say to your child “I am sorry for yelling or raising my voice” Mommy was feeling ____ and shouldn’t have yelled.
- Ask your children to help problem solve – “what could mommy do next time she is feeling really angry instead of yelling?
- What could you do next time to help mommy not get so angry in those situations?
Mamas, you got this! You are doing a fantastic job even when you feel like you’re sucking at it! Just remember Stop, Breathe, Respond, Repair. We are all in this together!
Always here for you,
Sarah Reckman (@thewholehearted.mom)
Take the Quiz! What is your 'yelling mom' trigger?
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