Once again, I felt it happening. The uncontrollable hot feeling of frustration welling up inside me when my 4 year old spilled his milk all over what seemed like the entire dining room for the second time in one meal.

Not pausing for one moment to consider what I was doing, I hollered, “Seriously, what is wrong with you? Again?” He looked crestfallen.

That short little story is just one example of the many times that I have lost patience with my children and yelled at them for no reason. Perhaps you can resonate with the story I just shared.

Maybe you ask yourself the question like I do, “why do I yell at my kids so much?”

yell

Do you promise yourself you won’t yell at your kids anymore but then just do it again the next day? I’ve been there!

This is most certainly something that I am still learning to work through and him still being sanctified and in my Christian life as a mom.

Along the way, though, I’ve learned to identify three triggers that tend to provoke us to anger and the biblical reminders that can be effective in keeping us grounded and helping us overcome.

1. One of the reasons we yell is because we are stressed out over our own lives.

I have high expectations of my children. Likely this stems from the fact that I have high expectations of myself. My stress level increases little by little when things are not going as smoothly as I’d like them to until it gets to a point where it’s hard for me to handle. Because I don’t always have an effective way of dealing with the stress, it manifests itself in yelling, as if somehow that that is the way I am going to get control of the situation and reduce my stress level.

Of course the sensible part of me knows that yelling is not going to bring down my stress level permanently.

It is simply a coping mechanism that I use as a mom that results in discouraged kids and is actually counterproductive in teaching my children how to handle their own stresses.

Exhausted mother enjoying a rest

There is no doubt about it, we will feel stressed out sometimes. We can’t escape our human emotions, but it is how we choose to react to these emotions and in these stressed out situations that can either slowly transform us into a more patient person or keep us spiraling out of control.

How to Step Away When You Feel Like You’re Going to Blow

When you’re in a situation where you come home from a busy day at work or reach the end of a crazy day at home and you feel like you want to just let loose, remember that the Holy Spirit is within you.

Ask Him immediately for His help. Confess that you’re struggling not to blow it and just step away.

“But I can’t step away!” one mom told me when I suggested this. I encouraged her, “Yes, you can.”

  • If you have a baby or toddler, put them in their crib or pack and play and walk away for a few minutes to cool down.
  • If you have older children, walk over to them, give them a hug and tell them that “mom needs a moment to just calm down”. Then have them do an activity separate from you. Are they still being loud? Close the door to be alone and give yourself a few minutes to recoup your thoughts (unless of course someone’s safety is at stake!)
  • If you have multiple children who like to fight and it’s getting to them, separate them to their rooms. Using this sparingly can be a powerful tool to keep everyone calm and stop responding out of stress all the time.

The ability to make a habit of taking action on this is only possible with God (and thank goodness it’s not dependent on me!).

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Perhaps you could replace the word fear with stress, frustration, or exhaustion.

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the word sound as entire, not shaky, healthy, founded in truth, and undisturbed.

What an assurance it is that God can replace our fear and frustration with something so beautiful. That is the power of being transformed through Christ.

2. The second reason we yell is because we can’t find a better way to deal with the situation.

Scripture tells us that a man (or woman!) of quick temper acts foolishly (Proverbs 14:17). we are called to refrain from anger and put away slander.

When I yell, such as in the example above, in reality I am slandering my child, or “tarnishing” them. Why do I do this to the people I love most?

Thankfully, God provides a way out. Through His Spirit’s work in our lives, he can give us the ability to retrain our minds so that we can choose a better solution, rather than yelling.

1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that “no temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

On a practical note, one of the best ways to retrain ourselves not to yell if it is a problem that began in motherhood (because I honestly didn’t yell before I had kids!) is to recognize and deal with our specific triggers, because they’re going to be different depending on our personality!

Maybe it is a messy house. Perhaps it is a busy toddler or an eight year old with a bad attitude (I might know a little something about those things!).

Would pursuing some Biblical resources on character training be in order? Implementing a few cleaning or organizing tips that help get our houses more under control? Making a habit of stepping back so we don’t react out of stress (like I mentioned under #1 above)?

Don’t worry about perfection or fixing everything at once. But when we start to intentionally think and pray about ways to manage our triggers, it can truly be helpful.

DSCF7236

Maybe we cannot change the situation? I mean, a two-year-old is a two-year-old! :)

But for the ones that can, consider what steps you can take to find better responses and ways to manage your environment.

3. The third reason we yell is because we have trained our children to listen only when we yell.

If the only time your kids listen and do what you say is when you raise your voice enough to break the sound barrier, the problem lies with you and not with them.

While it is true that children will disobey and that we will have to teach and reteach certain things over and over again, we as moms can choose to give our children grace.

One of the best ways to remember to give our children grace is to remember how gracefully God has dealt with us.

We are imperfect and make mistakes (dare I say sin!), and yet God is always loving and forgiving. We can’t “be Jesus” to our kids, because we aren’t Jesus! But we can point our children to Him, just like we are pointed to the cross each time we recognize our wrongdoings.

Mother and toddler

When we begin to live by grace, our approach to parenting changes. We must realize that we are not given our children to parent simply so that we can raise perfect beings who step in time to her every order but so that we can embrace the privilege of leading the next generation of Christ followers who will learn to seek Him in their everyday lives and lean on His mercy.

Let’s strive to learn the principle of “a soft answer” in the way we instruct our children so that they will listen to us not out of fear, but because they know we want to lovingly instruct them, whether it be in a practical or spiritual area of their lives.

We must realize that we are not given our children to parent simply so that we can raise perfect beings who step in time to her every order but so that we can embrace the privilege of leading the next generation of Christ followers who will learn to seek Him in their everyday lives and lean on His mercy.

Still feel stuck?

Maybe you want to dig deeper into this issue of anger, yelling, and how we as parents can cultivate a better response. Perhaps you’d like to learn how to parent effectively and patiently. Without resorting to yelling or angry outbursts.

This is an area of motherhood in which we are continually growing. As we come to a new stage of parenting, a new challenge also presents itself. We need tools and helps to encourage along the way. 

Three of my favorite books to help with yelling and mom anger:

No More Angry Mom by Tauna Meyer (Homeschooling mom of 6, who also happens to be a friend! A great read with the proper focus on WHY we want to conquer our anger and how to do it).

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham
Best for parents of preschoolers and toddlers, this book is written from a secular perspective, but is incredibly helpful for moms who want to emotionally connect with their kids but aren’t sure how!
She’s Gonna Blow: Real Help for Moms Dealing with Anger by Julie Ann Barnhill
This book is far and away the best I’ve read on dealing with anger from a Christian perspective. I re-read it every year! Fantastic advice for moms who have a Type-A personality that tends to default to yelling instead of dealing with their triggers for a better response. Very detailed!

A Free Resource for Yelling Less and Speaking with More Grace

I’ve created a FREE cheat sheet for Christian moms called A Graceful Response. In it, I break down five common situations that cause frustration in motherhood and teach you steps to respond in a better way to each one! 

Get your copy right away when you subscribe via email! (Just put in your best email address in the box below!)

WANT TO SPEAK WITH GRACE TO YOUR KIDS INSTEAD OF YELLING?

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35 Comments on Why Do I Keep Yelling at my Kids?

  1. I love everythin bout this post and thank you! I am so glad i wasn’t guided here today. Many thank so and prayers are always appreciated.

  2. Thanks so much for this post! I really needed it! And I need prayers in this area as well..I’m ashamed to admit it ????

  3. Please keep me in prayer…. I’m an old yeller…. mother of 4 .. 11, 10, 4, 1 year old…. oh not u can only imagine… But please And thank you… blessings

  4. I had pinned this post and just got a chance to read it. Of course it interrupted by my children up early and being loud as their dad tries to sleep, he works nights. I use feel like my children just don’t care to do as they’re told. I always feel I waste my breath on telling them what to do. Feels like I’m worthless to them so why bother to do what I say to do. I’ve had my very dark, low moments and thankfully my faith in God and the love for my family could never take my life like the devil has tried to get me to do several times. It is a blessing to read this post and think, “how does she know what happens in my life?”. I don’t recall ever being so angry or stressed in my life. Constantly feel like a failure and just can’t get a control of my anxiety to get my kids to church to be exposed to God like I know they should. Thank you for your post and the eye opening that I’m not the only mom like this and the guidance of scripture to help me get through this struggle. Please have me in your prayers as I will have you and all the other moms in mine.

  5. I’m angry all the time. I’m tired all te time I’m stressed all the time. Newly single mom and I Am at my breakin point. I know I née prayers but I also am thinking I need a parenting class but nothing free or affordable in my area!!! I don’t want to hurt my baby girl!! I yell and I get unreasonable I hate myself so much! She doesneserve this I feel like sometimes I should give her up for adoption and kill myself. Please I need help!!! Also no job living back with my parents

    • Hi Hailey, I can see that you are really having a difficult time and that you are struggling emotionally. Hugs and prayers to you! Don’t ever feel like taking your own life is an option. You are a worthwhile person and your daughter needs you and you CAN do this! As far as parenting classes, there are many community organizations that offer this. You can either call your local social services agency or local women’s pregnancy center and many of them provide free classes or can at least direct you to a place that provides them for free. The first place you can call is your local hospital or even 911 if you feel you are losing control. They will help you find the help you need. They also can guide you to a resource for parenting and emotional care for moms that are struggling. Please accept my sincerest prayers. I strongly encourage you to ask for help–there are people who understand and are eager to help you heal.

  6. I really needed to read this today. As my children are my #1 concern, I feel I do not cope with the stress of parenting to the best of my ability.

    • I’m so glad this was an encouragement to you, Beth. I understand the stress of parenting and know that God is with you and cares for you as you press on in this journey. Hugs!

  7. As today was a day full of just yelling at my 3 year old for really no reason at all but my heart was in the wrong place today, this was humbling. I needed it so much. Thank you. If you could pray for me I would appreciate it!

    • Hi Tori, {hugs} I totally understand! God can do such a mighty work through us, when we are weak, He is strong. I will definitely pray for you today!

  8. I’m new to the blogging scene and I just found yours :) Thank you for being so honest and transparent. Sometimes it’s hard to write your truth and show it to the world-or is that just me lol.
    Keep up the great work!

    • Welcome to the blogging world! :) It is really hard for me to be transparent on my blog…every once in a while I get a really terrible comment when I am but I need to be reminded that God can use our struggles to help others and if we are helping the majority of people, that’s what matters! I’ve been thankful for the supportive response to this blog post and I think as you continue to blog, you’ll find that there are times to speak up and times to maybe wait. It’s a balancing act for sure but always good to connect with others in our same situation!

  9. I repinned this a while ago to read later and finally got to it. So good! Thank you. Without going into detail, I’d LOVE prayer in this area! Thank you!

  10. Count it all joy when we fall into diverse temptations, ummm…. I’m not there yet either sister. Walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh, is the only remedy. But yet again I have not reached the pinnacle of that either. I find myself in your shoes. And like you I am praying about this too. I enjoyed this article and can relate. All we can do as moms is prayerfully handle all of our many situations in life. I often apologize for my reactions and in our family prayer time I confess this before them to God. I will be praying for you, your children are blessed to have a mom concerned enough to teach them the word, and be concerned enough to pray about their upbringing and the way you present Christ to them. Ultimately we are epistles read of all men, beggining in our homes. God bless you
    Your sister in Christ,
    Brittanie

  11. Hi Jenn, I don’t know how old this post is, but this is where I am now…struggling to not yell as I parent my very determined, spirited 3 year old;) I would love to be added to thAT prayer list! Sometimes I just explode. It even happened in front of my best friend in thecar last week! I am a ashamed. ThInk you for this post and for offering your prayers!

    • Hi Sheri,

      Yes, I will certainly add you to my prayers! I completely understand the struggle. It’s good to recognize where we have gone wrong and then also accept the forgiveness the Lord offers so graciously!

  12. I definitely needed to read this. I have been praying for guidance on how to better handle my stress and not yell at my children. Many times I feel like I’m failing my children. Thank you for this post!

  13. I found this on Pinterest and desperately needed it. I have recently started trying to fallow Christ more diligently as I have just gradually strayed away with life. And now with a second baby on the way and a 2 year old; both girls, I want to be a positive example. But one way I have strayed is letting anger take over situations quickly. I am praying daily for inspiration and verses that I write down and keep near to remind me to give grace to my daughter when I feel anger rising up. And lately with pregnancy hormones I have let yelling slip out 2 or 3 times fallowed by tears and mom guilt. I do not want to teach her that this is appropriate. So I say mommy shouldn’t have yelled. Talking is better. And I am very sorry for behaving like that. Even though she doesn’t understand. I just needed this and I’m glad the Lord led me to this!

    • Thank you, Katie, for sharing your story with me! I understand completely how it is, feeling guilty for losing your temper. I’m glad to see how God has been working in your heart and thankful for His grace to each of us! He is a very merciful and forgiving God and “abundantly pardons”. I wanted to recommend another post I wrote with some actionable ideas for dealing with anger. In it, I also reference a book that has been helpful for me as I work through this aspect of my life. I hope it encourages you. I’ll be praying for you! https://thepurposefulmom.com/2014/10/hope-angry-mom.html

  14. Oh I definitely need prayer in this area! It seems to come in waves for me. I am ok for a while and then I go through a period of being frustrated, yelling and ultimately having to ask forgiveness from my children.

  15. I used to yell but finally was able to overcome it when my daughter, at 5 years old, suddenly told me: Mother, please don’t get mad, but do you really need to shout when I’ve already said I’m sorry? That really got me! I was so ashamed at myself and reflected on it. My daughter is now 13 years old and since then we’ve worked hand in hand in compromising things out.
    This article will surely awaken mothers like us. ^_^

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