The ONE Essential Thing to Stop Yelling At Kids

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teen mother yelling

Imagine if you knew the ONE essential thing to stop yelling at your kids? You know you don’t want to yell at your kids. But somehow it’s so easy to react with a sharp tone of voice or roar at our kids even when we know we don’t want to. Val Mullally, our residential parenting expert and author, shares why it’s so hard to break the habit and what to do about it.

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I blink to make sure I’m really seeing those stats correctly. One thousand shares and over ten thousand views of my blogpost “Ten Simple Ways For Parenting To Stop Themselves Yelling at Kids”.

One thousand readers have shared that we don’t have to yell at our kids!

Why? Because deep down we know yelling doesn’t work. So what really works to break the yelling habit? Here it is!

The ONE Essential Thing To Stop Yelling At Your Kids

Girl with Fingers in Ears

Maybe you’ve noticed when you yell, that your child:

  • develops selective deafness
  • ignores your demands
  • withdraws from you
  • makes excuses
  • becomes aggressive or sullen.

Is this what we’re trying to achieve? Don’t we all want happy, cooperative kids? And when we yell we’re not being the parent we really want to be – we’re left feeling ‘not okay’ about ourselves. So what can a parent do!

Awesome Insights from Neuroscience

The exciting news is that the latest neuroscience research is backing up why yelling doesn’t work. I’m currently reading “The Yes Brain Child: Help Your Child Be More Resilient, Independent and Creative” by world-renowned neuroscientist Dr Daniel Siegel and Dr Tina Payne Bryson, released January 2018. Oh wow! Siegel’s done the brain research. He knows what he’s talking about. And here’s how it make sense when it comes to the yelling:

Siegel explains reactive behaviour with a simple diagram of a green zone, with a blue zone and a red zone on either side.

We’re either in the green zone (Think traffic light – green for go – safe to proceed) or otherwise, we’re in the blue zone or the red. The blue zone is where we’re trapped in fear and the red zone is where anger has seized control.

red traffic light

Siegel’s book explains how a child’s behaviour will be reactive when they are in the red or blue zone. So the parent’s first job is to support the child to re-enter the ‘green zone’ where they can think clearly and behave cooperatively. When we think about it, it’s obvious that when we yell we’re just going to push them into the red anger zone of ‘fight back’ or the blue fear zone of ‘disappear inside yourself’.

Either way, when we yell they don’t listen because our behaviour will push them deeper into the red or blue zone. But the reason we raised our voice is that we wanted them to listen! Catch 22!

So What Can a Parent Do To Stop Yelling?

mother yelling at child

What makes the difference? Stay in the Green Zone! Because Siegel’s theory makes equal sense about where we are as parents. Are you with me on this?

Unless your blue zone reaction is to keep someone safe at a time of potential danger, can you think of any time you yelled when you weren’t angry?

If we’re yelling we’ve gone into the red zone. Anger has grabbed the driving seat.

If we want different behaviour from our kids it starts with ourselves, and that means we need to get back into Green Zone anytime we start losing our cool.

How to stop yelling? Return to the Green Zone!

Green Zone Parenting to Stop the Yelling

traffic light green

In the earlier blog I shared “10 Simple Ways to Stop Yelling”. To change our behaviour and take steps to stop ourselves yelling we need to think clearly. And to think clearly we need to be in the Green Zone.

  • We can’t recognise the yelling trap unless we’re in the Green Zone.
  • We can’t acknowledge yelling doesn’t work unless we’re in the Green Zone.
  • We can’t imagine how our child experiences our yelling unless we’re in the Green Zone.

Read through “10 Simple Ways to Stop Yelling”.  Yes, each of these steps can help you to stop the yelling habit, but unless you’re in the Green Zone, you won’t be able to think clearly enough to do the work. You can also watch my video chat about this.

When you are tempted to yell, notice which zone you are in.

Green (Calm and thinking clearly)?

Red (angry and frustrated)?

Blue (feeling fearful or anxious)?

What we need are tools to ‘Get Back to Green Zone’. We need to get back into Green Zone to think through what we need do differently – how to stop yelling.

Yelling is a trap that’s easy to fall into without even realising it. Now you know the ONE Essential Thing to Stop Yelling. The good news is, the moment we recognise when we are edging out of Green Zone we can develop strategies to avoid the trap.

Over to you now. What zone are you in when you start yelling? What helps you get back to Green Zone? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

yelling at kids