Why Do I Yell At My Children So Much?

I think whenever there is a lot of yelling going on in a household, it signifies the possibility of several things:

1.  The household, or you, are under complete stress.  What  can you do to simplify your schedule, your rhythm, your life?

2.  Lack of nourishment for you at a physical level, an emotional level, or a soul level.  What can you do to fill your own bucket so you can be steady?  Do you need a break? If you are feeling stressed, how can you change the mood?  Being in nature is a huge help.

3.  I find sometimes the most gentle people are gentle up to a point, and then they explode.  I think this goes back to boundaries.  Sometimes gentle people can be too lax in boundaries, and all the small irritations build up until it all explodes.  I think what one finds with folks who have older children, who have multiple children, is that they are much quicker to set a boundary in a kind but firm way before it all escalates.  Always think about boundaries.

4.  Being too enmeshed with the child’s feelings..just because the child is cranky, whiny and irritable doesn’t mean you have to be too!  Set the model, keep your cool, be steady.  Have tasks and rhythms at hand so you are not just sucked into older child upset and there is so little going on for distraction there is nothing to take the edge off of it.  Children need our attention and love, but honestly, I see some children who are being smothered by adult attention and therefore every whimsical, fleeting and passing feeling is verbalized and internalized by the parent.  You don’t have to fix it, and the emotion the child is having may turn on a dime.  It is up to you to know with your own children what really needs attention, what really needs empathy, what really needs a boundary and what really just needs a healthy dose of benign neglect. Only you know!  So, observe your child, meditate on your child, love your child.  And keep your steady ho-hum on.

5.  Having no consequences at all.  Natural consequences don’t totally fix a behavior, but they help guide children toward what behavior is most loving and kind .  In many ways,  I think this comes back to the issue of boundaries in many respects, because consequences require a firmness in a loving way to help your child follow through.  Sometimes it can even be hard to watch a child follow through on a consequence, like returning candy they took back to the store, but it has to happen so children can learn.

I have a favorite story about a friend of mine whose boys are long grown and gone so I can tell this…And she talks about the day she had the three boys in the backseat as they were driving home from somewhere and they were going through a line for drive-through food.  Suddenly, one of the little boys spit on the floor of her car.   The boys kept on talking and laughing and doing their thing. She silently, without a word, slipped out of the line and steered the car home and when they realized they were at home without that special treat, one asked, “Why are we home?” and she answered, “I don’t get food for little boys who spit in my car.”  Parents inevitably would ask my friend, “Well, if he apologized and made up for it, would you go and get it for them?”  To which my friend replied, “Not if want boys spitting in your car again.”

Children under the age of of five don’t have much of a sense of right or wrong, but there are still cases of really hurting other, hurting property that need consequences, even if that consequence is just cleaning up or using their hands to be helpful instead of hurtful.  As children get older, freedoms become greater, but so do responsibilities and so do consequences.  If we don’t give our children a chance to mess up on the small things, they will not be able to handle the big things in life when they are out on their own.

Keep your calm, be steady, and help your children grow up to be great adults.

Many blessings,


11 thoughts on “Why Do I Yell At My Children So Much?

  1. If we don’t give our children a chance to mess up on the small things, they will not be able to handle the big things in life when they are out on their own.

    Keep your calm, be steady, and help your children grow up to be great adults.

    Best advice and something I wasn’t allowed to as a child – and I’m still coping today at age 44! Working on this for my 4 and 6 year old girls. Thank you Carrie! Love your insights, always!

    Best, Katja

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. A lot of the yelling in our house is related to sibling interaction, or body boundaries (a lot of the time it’s the same thing) I know that yelling “BE NICE TO YOUR SISTER!” doesn’t work, but lacking other tools (or patience after the 500th time in the day) that’s what it comes down to. Hm. Thank you for this article, it’s given me a focus area to work on in our home. 🙂

  3. Agreed, you’re timing on this is wonderful! We had a rough week and I know it’s because I got swept up by stress and by allowing the kids moods to change mine. Thank you for this reminder!

  4. Carrie, as always perfect timing. Had a rough weekend with a lot of yelling and little bit of spanking too I’m sorry but yes, I did it and though my girl seems to have forgotten about it, I AM unable to and feel so very guilty. So the feeling lingers even after 24 hrs have passed.
    Lack of nourishment is a very, very valid point. Actually that’s how I discovered my anaemia! Another big reason could be the big bad H-things..the hormones especially the ones that lead to PMS. Every month, I yell and scream and then look at the calendar and say “Aha! so that’s what it is.”

  5. I’ve found your site very helpful.I have been taking out my stress on my 4yr old daughter and I only realised this after reading about trigger points. I realised its when I am frustrated with a difficult situation that I’m thinkimg about and some how if she happens to be too needy or do something I consider wrong I yell or hit. So ashamed of my self but I want to stop this .I don’t want her growing up with a void into adulthood. Because these things turn in other things like being abusive to others.so please send me tips. Thanks

  6. Dear Carrie, I thank you so much for your blog. I have been trying to find answers to why I yell at the people I love most. What you have written here has really given me tools and helped me not feel so alone in my parenting. Many Thanks and Many Blessings. Nancy

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