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How to stop yelling at your kids

Written by Melissa Robertson

Do you want to stop yelling and start connecting with your kids? Take a look at PLN’s guide to becoming a more peaceful parent.

No parent wants to yell at their children, yet many of us do. It’s a familiar scene to many parents. You start out calm and end up yelling out of frustration. Unfortunately, yelling can actually make your children’s behaviour worse.

So how do we get our kids to listen without yelling? According to Parenting Expert and Author, Amy McCready there are simple steps you can take to become a calmer parent.


Why do my kids misbehave?

According to McCreedy, children misbehave because they need attention, emotional connection and to have positive power. If they are not met in positive ways, they may use negative methods to get their needs met.

Kids want our attention

For example, if a child whines, they may get attention or a parent may give in and let the child get their way.

She says that kids will only continue behaviours get them attention, even negative attention, whether it is stalling at bedtime or fighting with each other.

McCreedy suggests spending time with your kids one-on-one on a daily basis.

“Just spending 10 minutes, one or two days with a child filling their attention basket in positive ways makes a world of difference in their behaviour.”

Kids want a sense of power

The need for power is universal-whether it is a toddler throwing a tantrum or a teenager choosing to rebel. Kids want a sense of independence and power over their world.

“We have to intentionally give kids power. From our kid’s perspective, they think we have all the power and we make all the decisions,” McCreedy says. “Think about your routine during the day and find opportunities to give kids choices.”

Classic power struggles for younger children include meal time, bed time and potty training.

McCreedy says most parents discipling tactics work against a child’s need for power.

Time out

The strong willed child sees it as a challenge to escape. It doesn’t teach the compliant child to do anything different in the future


It teaches your child they don’t have to listen the first time. They have three chances before they really have to listen.

McCreedy says these are command and control strategies can work in the short run, but in the long term will escalate the power struggle. It is making your kid submit to your will rather than teaching them to make the right choice in the future.


She suggests a system of using the five R’s of consequences.


When punishing your child, make sure there is no blame, shame, or pain. It is important to deal with the behaviour in a calm and respectful way.

It can be difficult to be calm when dealing with challenging behaviours. McCreedy says if you cannot deal with the situation calmly in the moment, wait until you are calm. You can always stop the behaviour in the moment, but discipline when you have all calmed down.


The consequence must be related to the misbehaviour. In order to teach the child the lesson the consequence needs to be connected. For example, if a child refuses to go to sleep at bedtime, a relatable punishment could be an earlier bedtime the next night.

“Your kids don’t have to like the consequence, but it must feel fair. For the consequence to be effective, it must be related to the behaviour,” she says.

Reasonable in duration

Your goal is to make them learn, not suffer. Keep is reasonable based on the child’s age and development

Revealed in advance

This step allows your child a chance to make a choice between the behaviour and the consequence. Gives them the power to make the choice.

Repeat back their understanding of your rule and the consequence.

If your child refuses to repeat back, they are choosing to forgo the privilege. For example, if your child refuses to repeat back that they will turn off their tablet when asked without complaining, they are not old enough to use a tablet. Put it in storage until they are ready for the responsibility.


Not all misbehaviours require a consequence

If you cannot think of a consequence that meets the 5 R’s, it may be a teachable moment that does not require a consequence.

In the future, my expectation is…(state the expected behaviour).

It is important the you are clear about the expectations, follow through and deliver the consequences with dignity.

“I see you have chosen to lose your tablet. I know you will make a better choice next time.”

McCreedy suggests to only use consequences 10 -15 percent of the time.

“We always want to reveal consequences in advance, keep in mind that consequences are for repeated misbehaviours.”


Try these tips and let us know if you are able to keep calm and yell less in the comments!

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.