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?”
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 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.
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.
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.
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 help 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).
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!)