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April 13, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Stop Yelling for Better Kid Behavior

Homes with regular shouting incidents have kids with lower self-esteem. There IS a better way.

Being a parent is hardest when you have to discipline your kids — and sometimes moms and dads just start yelling. But yelling is a losing response to a child’s misbehavior and doesn’t cause the child to change why he misbehaved in the first place. According to The Journal of Child Development, households with regular shouting incidents have kids with lower self-esteem and higher rates of depression.


So you need to try and stop yelling. There are better ways to help your children behave better for you:



Without a true connection to your child, you will not be able to influence him positively. You need to have a solid relationship in tact first. Aim to have a deep connection with your child. This includes realizing that when he misbehaves and you scold him, he feels ashamed. Parents who get angry when a kid spills a glass of milk, need to realizes the child didn’t WANT to do it. In the book, The Whole Brain Child, author Dan Siegle says to help your child “name it to tame it.” In other words, regarding your child’s misbehavior, ask your child to tell you what happened. This will help him to think about what he did. Even if he’s very young can has a hard time talking or “naming” what happened, encourage him through it and listen, resisting the urge to take over the conversation.



Many parents use Time Out to redirect their child’s behavior, only Time Out can reinforce feeling of shame and rejection — especially if it begins with an angry parent. The better alternative is to take the time to sit with your child, cooling down and talking about what happened together, Siegle says.



There’s a very wide gap between how the world “thinks” kids should behave and how they actually behave. Growing up, your children will do things that astonish you and anger you. Meanwhile, kids are wired to have fun, test limits and learn as they go. Some are big risk-takers. Take a different view of your children — different from the expectations of the world — and you just may end up enjoying them more. You WANT your kids to be safe, yes, but you want unique individuals, too — embrace that.



When parents “lose it” over a child’s misbehavior, everyone is made miserable. Think. When YOU do something wrong do you want to be yelled and screamed at? No. Does it help you? No. So why is it OK to yell at kids? It’s actually not. It’s ugly, creates resentment and eliminates respect.



All of us have bad days. All of us make mistakes — especially children. Mistakes are a part of growing up. Realize that discipline is actually about helping a child solve a problem. Punishment (yelling, physical violence) makes a child suffer for their problem.

To raise problem-solvers and kids who think twice before they may misbehave, focus on solutions, not punishment. Your relationship with your child will be so much better for it!

About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this award-winning publication and all-things Nashville Parent digital creative. She's also an Equity actress, screenwriter and a mom of four amazing kids.