I Yell At My Kids

I yell. A lot. I feel like it’s an autonomic response now that I’m a mother of three. I feel so horrible for my youngest who is 18 months old. She sometimes looks at me like, “what the hell is your problem!” And my son gives me looks like, “mommy, you’re going to yell now?” And then there’s my oldest, who’s 7, “mom, your yelling, again.” Now, I know I should be all Zen and practice mindfulness and really, really I am aware that yelling may not be an effective solution. However, it appears to have nestled into my neuro-net as a habit!

Why? Hmmmm, let me flashback a bit. I am the youngest of five (two older step-brothers and two older sisters), so now that I think about it, I may have always yelled. To be heard, understood, to have my opinion count, and let’s face it for status and positioning. I am also Sicilian, about ¼, Irish and a little bit Norwegian. So to yell, sometimes feels like second nature. I also interrupt, according to my husband, a lot. Again, fighting for status here, and possibly to win an argument. I digress.

There are those awkward times in the school parking lot or the grocery store where I get all the stares and walk-the-other ways, when I’m in loud noises mode. Some of these stares are the unofficial “I’ve been there” looks, or “I’m soooo glad that’s not me today” or maybe they are the “wow, get it together lady!” or “clearly this chick has zero control over her kids”. When all is said and done, yelling at my kids however, feels different. I sometimes feel guilty after, and have this dissonance about it. And I try really hard not to yell. Here’s what happens in my brain: “OK, don’t yell, don’t raise your voice, it’s not effective, it’s not going to work, it’s pointless….it’s….STOP JUMPING OFF THE COUCH, PICK UP YOUR SHOES, PUT YOUR CLOTHES IN THE HAMPER, NOT ON THE FLOOR…omg, it’s happening again. I’m Bruce Banner.”

Wooooo-sah. Someone once told me that when I yell I should “put some base in my voice”. That somehow, said base would make my kids magically listen. All I hear in my head is Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock when someone says that to me. Not working for me, except for a minor dance break. At any rate, is yelling just part of parenting? Part of the job description? My guess is, yes, it probably is. I mean there are instances where yelling is necessary. Like when my son is distracted and darts out into a parking lot, or perhaps if the baby reaches for something hot. But I don’t think it should be “the way” of it. Parenting that is.

It is oddly magical how calm you can be when the kids are not listening and it actually works. Perhaps they find it not in the norm? ‘Whoa, mommy is not yelling, she must be really really upset!’

One thing I know for sure is that having support is key -whoever or whatever that is to you, such as a supportive partner, friend or family members. I can’t stress enough the importance of having individuals in your life to “vent” to, uncensored, without judgment. The emptying process makes room for clarity and clarity in parenting is a good thing. A very good thing.

At any rate, as I said in a previous post, I’m what I like to call a “mom in progress.” There are days that I yell, a lot. And there are some days, where I don’t yell much at all. And that has to be ok. I just do what I believe to be my best in each circumstance. Most importantly, if I feel upset about it, I apologize to my kids. Sincerely, authentically, and with feeling. Tomorrow’s a new day.

5 thoughts on “I Yell At My Kids

  1. Just had this conversation with two friends last night! And census: WE ALL YELL. You are not alone, lady! Am I proud? No. Do I use my “tools” most of time and handle it properly? Sure. But I also tweak out and feel like my head is going to pop off. Very funny post. Thanks for the honesty!


  2. For me, yelling means that I have totally lost my cool – which is in itself not a great thing for me. I think if we can try to reserve the yelling for dangerous situations, they will take it more seriously then? But, it’s all easier said than done – right?! My 3-year old has started to yell back, and that really reminds me of the need for me to model for her. Tough for me to tell her not to do it to me (or one of her friends) when I’m doing it to her. Ah, parenting – why is it so darn hard?!


  3. Love it, Kenna. I think all parents yell! People love to say “yelling doesn’t help” but when your 1 year old is across the room and about to eat something or stick their hands into something dangerous, “sweetie, don’t do that” in a soft motherly voice isn’t going to stop them or probably even get their attention, however, the sudden, obnoxious, oh-god-dont-do-that, NO! probably will. And when that 1 year old is 3 and strangling the dog in an attempt to hug or pull the dog where they want it to go, a soft “sweetie, you’re killing the dog” isn’t going to get their attention either. Loud noise is an attention-getter! For us though, the only thing more serious than a yell is the quiet and low, I’m about to lose my shit, “stop” or “sit…..down.” All with love, of course!


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