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How I stopped yelling at my kids… & how it’s changed our home

How I Stopped Yelling at My Kids

I thought I was a patient person… then I had kids.

I said I’d never yell at my kids… and then I had kids.

I pictured myself as a sweet, loving, always-cheerful mom… then I had kids.

Motherhood has stretched me and humbled me. It’s brought out the best in me and the worst in me. And, recently, with all the processing of our big move, there has been a lot more of the worst and very little of the best.

I found myself snapping at my kids more and more frequently, which only served to frustrate me. The more I snapped at my kids, the more frustrated I was at myself. And the more frustrated I was at myself, the more I’d snap at my kids.

It was a vicious cycle and I felt trapped.

One night, I was up late thinking of the kind of mom I’d been and feeling so ashamed of my behavior and the example I was setting before my kids. I started praying and asking God to help me to love my children, to help me have patience with them, and to stop getting so angry with them.

My 4-Week Commitment

As I was praying, an idea birthed in my head. I decided to make a commitment to my husband for the next 4 weeks.

I woke Jesse up to tell him my commitment (I have such a gracious husband — poor guy!). It was this: every time I was tempted to lash out at a child I would, instead, find a very practical way to love that child.

It was a BIG commitment, but he agreed that he thought I could do it and said he was willing to hold me accountable. I went to bed resolving that, by God’s grace, I was going to change the tone in our home.

It Was SO Hard

The first day was very, very hard. One child in particular has been getting on my every last nerve recently. This child knows how to push buttons and seems to make a game of trying to see how much they can annoy me.

Well, the first few hours on that first day of my 4-week commitment, this child tried all their usual tactics. I didn’t get frustrated. I didn’t yell. I didn’t even raise my voice.

Oh, it was very hard. But I’m a stubborn person and I was determined to stick with my commitment to my husband.

Instead, of lashing out, I asked this child to come snuggle next to me. I poured love, love, and more love.

The Change Has Been Amazing!

Within a few hours, this child’s attitude had drastically changed. They were calm, happy, and asking what they could do to help me. I could not believe it!

And this only continued for the next few days. Until finally, I felt like I almost had a completely different child living in my home. It was amazing!

We’re now headed into week #4 of my commitment and I can safely say that this one change in me has changed the tone in our whole home. My children are more helpful and respectful. I am so much happier. Jesse is happier because we’re happier. And our home is much, much calmer.

All because I’m choosing to love instead of lash out.

I decided my 4-week experiment was a smashing success. And I’m going to extend it for another 40 years. Or something like that. 🙂

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To help me remember to choose love instead of lashing out, I’ve been wearing this bracelet. It came shortly after I made this commitment. It’s a Mother’s Bracelet from Spark of Amber and it has amber beads — which are supposed to be calming — plus, a bead birthstone for each child.

I received mine as a review product for an upcoming giveaway I’m doing and I’ve decided it’s my physical reminder to stay calm with my children. It’s been surprising to me how having this physical reminder has worked so well. It might sound silly, but every time I see the bracelet on my wrist — which is often! — it reminds me, “Stay calm. Love. Love. Love. Don’t lash out.”

P.S. Another change we made around the same time was to have our children be completely electronics-free (no TV, movies, iPads, etc.) except for family movie night. This has also made a HUGE difference in our home… I’ll have to do a post on that sometime, too!


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196 Comments

  • Tanya says:

    Way to go Crystal! I had a Mommy meltdown myself the other morning because of a button pushing 8 yo. I too am going to work on loving instead of yelling. Have you checked out the “Orange Rhino” challenge? She has a website, FB page and as of a few days ago a new book about yelling less and loving more! She has lots of great tips now I just need to implement them!

    • Toniko says:

      I was thinking of the orange rhino site too 🙂 Mine are 2.5 and 4.5 and I am 6mos pregnant. I just go crazy when they do not listen to me, many times very intentionally doing the exact opposite of what I said. The book “If I have to tell you one more time” has some AWESOME advice on what kids act out and how to curb it. I find it hard with kids as young as mine though because many of the techniques seem to be for older kids (like 7 and up)

      I try to keep it together but lately have been so exhausted and the house is not getting as tidy which stresses me out. I find that often when I am ready to loose it it is because I am being selfish/self centered. Really I am getting mad because I cannot ‘make’ my child do something often times through a tone that lacks love, and consideration that they are their own person with their own thoughts, reasons, and ideas too. I jump right into the offended mode(which always screams me me me I I I)

      I think a visual reminder is a nice idea 🙂 I plan to pray for all moms struggling with this temptation.

      • Caroline says:

        Toniko, I totally could have written your response. I have a 4 yo, 2 yo, and am 4 months pregnant. YES to your statement that when I lash out, it is because of my own selfishness…>II< want less noise, etc. Add the tiredness from being pregnant and my fuse has been way too short lately. :-/ I am going to check out the book you recommended. Praying for you, mama!

        Thanks for this post, Crystal. I love the idea of a visual reminder like a bracelet, too. We also went electronics-free with our 4 year old about 3 months ago (my younger child has never had an interest so nothing changed for him) and what a game changer in her attitude! (Well, most days. She IS a strong-willed 4 year old, after all. ;))
        I would love to read a post on how it has changed things in your home!! Thanks for being an encouragement.

        • Toniko says:

          Aw it is kind of cool though to know I am not alone in this stage 🙂 Some days I think my kids are the only ones that act the way they do, constant mind changing (I want apple juice -I pour the juice set it on the table- I wanted orange waaaaa) mine also have a bit of sibling rivalry everyday too getting physical with each other. It is hard :/

          It is great some people are able to go tech free but I just can’t….yesterday my legs hurt so bad I let them watch 3 disney jr shows in a row while I rested in the living room. My daughter uses readingeggs.com as part of her homeschooling. Most days I limit tv to one show in the am and one in the pm, but many times it is just one a day -maybe 1-2 times a week where it is none a day. Since we watch on disneyjr’s website (for free!) there are no commercials and are about 22min long (the perfect amount of time to unload clean and reload dirty dishes from the dishwasher I have found!).

    • I haven’t heard of the Orange Rhino site and just checked it out… WOW! I love it! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Megan C says:

    What a great post. Way to go! This is something I have been challenged with and praying about lately. I like the practical side of finding a way to love your child when you feel like lashing out at them. I will start applying that in my home. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important and very real struggle. God’s help is also key!

  • Suzanne says:

    Thank you so much for this…
    I used to be so very patient…I remember my husband commenting to me with our newborns how patient I was and that he was so proud of me. Our kiddos are now 10, 8 & 6. When they were newborns, waking me at all hours of the night, it was sooooo easy to be patient. Now? Oh, boy!
    Tomorrow will be day one of my 4 week commitment. I don’t have a bracelet, but my husband got me a ring with our kiddos birthstones in it. I will look at that when doing fractions with them does all but send me over the edge 🙂 and I will squeeze them, and love them and then make them run laps around the yard! 🙂
    Thank you for your ministry. I’ve been following for several years and it has been a blessing to our family.

  • Margie Lundy says:

    Kudos! I’ve been doing the Orange Rhino Challenge and I’m on day 345 of not yelling (which is completely impossible for me, I thought anyway)! The public commitment (to my family and I posted online) plus wearing an orange bracelet to remind me helped a ton. Love your bracelet more though!!

  • Shauna says:

    I NEEDED THIS TONIGHT! I have four children 9, 7, 5 and 3. Life has seemed a little bit frantic lately and I feel like I have just been hanging on. But it also seems that I have been having a hard being patient. This is a wonderful motivation for me to hear your success story. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us to be more. I am newly motivated!

  • Thank you for sharing part of your story and congratulations on the 4 weeks! I’ve been working on being more patient too and something that helps me is after I speak sharply to a child, I make myself say three nice things about that child’s character.

    It really helps, particularly when I’m REALLY annoyed and don’t want to have to think of nice stuff at that moment!

    And that’s a beautiful bracelet – I’m looking forward to reading your review!

  • Shelly says:

    I too have a little one that likes to push my buttons and test the limits all the time. There was a time I would often snap at the kids. I didn’t like it one bit.

    Like you I decided to make a change. Giving love and attention when needed and calm, quiet discipline when needed. Things have improved in our household too.

    There are times when things don’t go well and I will raise my voice, but I’m happy that those times are getting fewer and fewer.

    I hope your calm, days are many and the snappy days are few as you go through the next 40 years or so. 🙂

  • Megan says:

    I needed this post tonight…our two year old has once again been fighting me tooth and nail alllll day, especially tonight for bed. I try so hard to be calm, but with the addition of our son (2 months) things have been stressful. I’ve been lashing out more than I should be, as well as my husband. I need to get back to just loving! I’ve been praying hard about this, I believe this was Gods answer. Thank you again!

  • Thank you so much for opening up such a sensitive topic on here and sharing both your struggles, and how you are finding success in changing the tone of your home. Such a helpful post! While often snapping/frustration with children is easier to have happen in our home when we are under stress, it’s such an important reminder that choosing LOVE is the answer (not simply figuring out how to remove all stress). Loved this post!

  • Jan says:

    What other things do you do when you are tempted to yell besides cuddle? I have one kiddo who is a button pusher but also hates to cuddle.

  • Sara says:

    Thank you Crystal. I needed this tonight. My 6 year old has been helpful lately, but my deaf 2 year old with sensory processing disorder–well, let’s just say there’s no easy way to parent him and it really exhausts me to the core. I wake up tired and go to bed tired just trying to cope with his needs. He doesn’t seem to accept love in typical ways because of his issues (won’t cuddle, doesn’t want me close) so I’ll need to work on finding his love language. Thank you for reminding me that kids absorb my attitude, and a negative one from me will spur on a negative one from them (even if they’ve caused my bad attitude!) and vice versa.

    I’m going to commit to this too. Thank you!

  • Michelle Calvo says:

    I wish I would have had the no electronics started at a young age. We have a 10 year old, a 15 and 16 year old and one on the way. We’ve implemented new rules that we felt God was leading us to do, such as only Christian music in our home….well it’s been a struggle. They have mp3 player that already have music on them and tablets that they play Pandora on, etc. When I catch them listening to non-Christian music I would remind them that our house rules have changed, but then had to resort to taking away the mp3 player, radio, tablets, etc for a little while. It’s mostly the teens that complain, say it’s a stupid rule, why are we changing it now, their friends don’t have that rule, etc, etc, etc. Ugh! Wish I started then young….not sure how to handle it now. 🙁

    • heidi says:

      Michelle, we’ve also had some of those changed rules with our teens, too. Stay strong and remind yourself of eternal goals. Maybe let them explore different types of Christian music. I usually let them play Pandora on the desktop in our family room, and it’s not always my favorite stuff, but it’s Christian and they’re becoming more acquainted with the words and artists. Also, we sometimes let them listen to country music in the car, but I reserve the right to change the station if I find anything to be offensive.

    • Rachel says:

      It’s never too late! Don’t give up! Teens can understand the fact that God is still working in your life and showing you new things that need to be changed. Even if they don’t like it. The time to make changes are when you become aware of them, it’s not the time to just wring your hands and wish you would have thought of it sooner!

      Keep on, you won’t regret it!

    • Susan says:

      Michelle, you’ve got me wondering what led you to institute such a rigid rule with your teenagers. I mean this in the kindest of ways, so please don’t take offense to the advice I’m about to dish out ….

      To ban everything except “Christian” music is such a drastic change that they are bound to rebel. With teens, you need to pick your battles. I’m assuming they are listening to particular songs that you feel are inappropriate for them. If so, work on eliminating that influence from their lives. Also, bear in mind that there are many songs that aren’t officially in the “Christian” genre but still send a positive message.

      I don’t care for all of the music my 14-yo listens to. If i catch lyrics that I find truly objectionable, I’ll call it out and we discuss it. She almost always complies if I give her appropriate explanation, or she’ll come to realize on her own that a song’s lyrics are inappropriate. I remember a year or so ago the song “Dark Horse” came on the radio when we were in the car. It was the first time I’d ever really paid attention to the lyrics. When I heard the reference to Jeffrey Dahmer I was mortified! Of course my then 12-yo had no idea who he was or what those words really meant. After I explained it to her, she readily agreed that the song was inappropriate, and that was the end of that.

      Maybe there is music that your teens could listen to that you don’t want your younger one to listen to. I get that! Perhaps discuss it with your teens and come up with a compromise that allows the teens fewer limits but protects the younger one.

  • Alisa says:

    Oh, my Goodness! This post could not have come at a better time! I have a 3 year-old who is super sweet one minute, and then tests the outer limits of my patience the next. I love him to bits, but sometimes it is sooo frustrating. I will definitely have to give this a try. Praying for the will power…

  • Katie A says:

    Thank you for posting this-it’s definitely what’s been on my heart lately (and what’s been in my prayers). My challenge is that I work nights and then I am the primary caregiver to my children during the day, so I am a little short on sleep…which unfortunately, makes me short on patience. I have come to see it as God stripping me of all of my resources so I learn to rely more completely on Him. Thank you for the inspiration. 🙂

  • Linda says:

    I loved reading your story. I’ve been up nights contemplating my negative interactions with my boys. I never thought I’d let the stress get to me either but it has and I’m not happy about it. A few weeks ago I saw Depak Chopra and his son, Gotham, on Dr. Oz. I could tell they had this loving bond but more than that; there was a peace between them. Depak stated he was consciously present around his children and never relayed his stress to them. I found his statement refreshing. This, along with your story, really has influenced my presence around my children. Thank you!

  • Anne Marie says:

    This one resonates with me today. Had a horrible day with my 3-year-old. I don’t *think* I typically yell, but today I was screaming at the poor child. He has molars coming in, and he’s getting over a cold. I don’t think he was feeling very well today, and his behavior was atrocious. My moment of realizing I needed to seriously calm down was when we were driving home from my doctor’s appointment an hour away, and I nearly wrecked. He’d been ripping off his glasses and messing with them, and this time I heard crunching from the backseat. He was bending his glasses! No place to pull over, and I was screaming at him to give me his glasses while reaching a hand behind me. I swerved and nearly hit the car in the next lane. That was my wake up that I needed to calm down. Ultimately, they’re just glasses. (Granted, quite expensive to replace if he breaks them, but there’s also a one-year warranty, so again, I need to calm down.) He did bend them a bit out of shape. We’ll visit the eyeglass shop in the morning to have them readjusted. No big deal.

    I wish I could say that was the last of the yelling today, but I found myself freaking out on him when I was trying to prepare dinner, and he entered the kitchen with a LONG stream of toilet paper trailing behind him and a cat pouncing on the other end. *sigh* He was just getting into everything. It did help to redirect him by having him help with the parts of dinner prep that he could safely do. He loves getting to dump ingredients in a bowl and stir.

    Anyway, good reminder. When I put him to bed, I told him we’d both try to have a better day tomorrow. Bless his heart, when his daddy was praying with him before bed, he couldn’t think of anything he was thankful for today. Clearly, I need to make some changes tomorrow.

  • Angela says:

    I love this idea, but I have a question: how do you discipline while using this approach? My children are 8 and 10, so I feel there should be a consequence when they do something wrong, such as bickering in the car after repeated requests to stop. The only way I can get them to stop is to yell a punishment 🙁 They drive me nuts, but I love the so much!

    • Kelli says:

      I have this question too. Usually if I’m yelling, it’s because my kids are not behaving. Obviously you must deal with the misbehavior, or you are essentially giving them a reward (of praise, attention, etc..) for what they are doing wrong which seems counterintuitive! I am all for ending the yelling, but I’d like to know more about the approach and how it works with a discipline component.

      • heather says:

        Me three! My yelling usually happens when the first few requests don’t work and its not always situations where you can discipline right away (ie nursing the baby, in the car). Looking forward to her response

    • Melissa says:

      I was wondering this as well. I agree with trying to stay calm and not yell, but if a child is misbehaving it seems like a hug or other positive attention, at that moment, is rewarding the misbehavior.

    • Alicia says:

      As I’m reading through these comments, I’ve been wondering the same thing. I totally agree, and think I need to minimize my yelling. And sometimes choosing love instead is what the child needs. But I also think sometimes a child needs to obey simply because the parent says so, and for no other reason. So how do I find that balance between giving them enough love and knowing when to truly discipline? I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on this as well!

  • Autumn Beach says:

    I really appreciate your transparency, Crystal. I bet this issue hits home with a lot of moms, as I know it does with me! I hate going to bed with that awful guilt and all of my worst moments of the day on replay in my mind. 🙁 What a great commitment to make. Thanks for your honesty and a helpful, realistic approach. Instead of just trying harder tomorrow!

  • yafa says:

    Sounds awesome! How do you handle this when the kids are fighting or being nasty to each other?

  • Su says:

    I appreciate it when you share real life…so I know I am not the only one who snaps, etc. It is a daily struggle for me. I am very patient when the kids are at school, though. lol

    Can you make this a challenge for us, too? I’d like to do it. Please pray for me. thx

  • Kristin says:

    Thank you for this as we are struggling with the tone of our family as I yell far too much (and always said I wouldn’t yell!) I love this idea! I have tried it before but quickly fell off the wagon. Now I am going to try again with more determination.
    We recently also took away all electronics except for a rainy day movie or sick days and I agree it makes a HUGE difference in their behavior!

  • Amy says:

    Great ideas for littles. Any thoughts for parenting teenagers who want to do nothing but argue with you and couldn’t care less about spending any time with you most of the time?

    • Su says:

      Oh yeah, I have that, too. It’s hard I know!

    • Mrs. W says:

      Here is a great book that might encourage you that you can find on Amazon.com:

      Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers

      Hopefully it will help give you ideas to help your teens to want to spend time with you!

  • JP says:

    Fantastic. About a year ago I let go of TV and any internet TV or movies. The impact has been huge! I read a lot more. I spend time with people I love. I jump into creative projects.

    I can’t wait to read your post on your experience.

  • Regina Sentell says:

    What a GREAT discovery that the button pushing was a “love me” button. How wise of you to find a way to make a change. You are changing your children’s legacy.

  • Megan says:

    This is wonderful.

  • Christy McKinney says:

    I’m looking forward to the post on no TV and screens! That one would be tough for me, so I would love to know how you have done that.

  • Amanda says:

    Great post!! I was looking to purchase one of the bracelets and it says they’re no longer available 🙁

  • malcolm says:

    I saw someone post about “Orange Rhino” and I Laughed. We tried that in our home. The problem is when you are so angry and someone holds up a Rhino it doesn’t calm the anger for me I got hostile toward the rhino. I think orange was a bad choice of color. See: color theory. Orange is a color that incites excitement. The last thing needed when angry. This blog post was great. Prayer is a powerful weapon against your own will. I am continually humbling myself before the Lord and that has helped me a lot.

  • Kate says:

    If you need a way to discipline without yelling , read 1,2 3 Magic . It’s not perfect–no method is. But if you need something that is consistent and clear with no yelling or hitting, try it out. There’s also 123 magic for Christian Parents.

    • Tracy says:

      We use this. My daughter has a complete meltdown when we hit 3. I have to carry her to her room while she is trying to kick, hit, scratch. Then I have to hold her door shut while she beats on it with her fists or whatever other object she has handy. Timeout brings out a rage in her like no other. This isn’t a matter of getting used to it either, like he says in the book. It’s been six months of consistency! I really think we need to abandon time outs. I know that so many others have had success with this method, though.

      • Kate says:

        Holy cow! The method doesn’t work for everyone, that’s for sure. I have many friends who do a time-in rather than a time-out. I personally think that time outs can be damaging rather than healing, depending on the way they are used–some kids really have a problem with the idea of being “abandoned”. My daughter seems to need the time and space in her room to gather herself, but my friend’s kid needs to snuggle when she gets to 3, and another friend removes a toy/privilege instead of using time out. To me, the basic message is that you stay emotionally level while you’re counting, and then you actually DO something when you get to three. Lots of parents fail at that part.

        • Tracy says:

          I will read about time in…thank you. I do think she feels abandoned, but sometimes I *need* to be separated from her to keep from losing my cool! The response from her is the same even when i try to go in the bathroom/bedroom by myself for a couple seconds to just take a few deep breaths before handling the situation… She just does not want to be separated from me when she is upset. It is rare that we get to “three” these days so it’s not like we’re going through this on a daily basis, luckily.

  • Lynn says:

    There is an old saying that children need your love the most when they deserve it the least (I think it was Erma Bombeck who said it?). Most of the time – because nobody is perfect, right? – I remember that saying when my children are testing my limits and I immediately stop what I am doing and just go over and hug that child. When my 8yo says, “What are you doing?” my standard reply is “Loving you like I always will”. It sound a little corny I know, but it usually provides a little reset for the situation and we can then talk about what is happening. Physical contact has been proven to have all sorts of benefits, but in this case I think it calms me down as much as it does the child!

  • Kim says:

    Thank you for this post Crystal! You are always such an inspiration to me! All 4 of my kids know how to push my buttons and they love to push them all at the same time! I’m going to make the same commitment to my husband for the month of November.

  • Anonymous says:

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I was praying last night for help to be a better mom. I am a single mom of 5 and I never get a break. I am so burned out and stressed out that I feel like I’m a horrible mom lately. I really needed to read this today. Thank you.

  • Kim says:

    WOW! I needed this! My husband and I were discussing last night how to help me with just this issue!!! Three adorable kiddos have sent me over the edge and I hate that my “go to” has been screaming. I have been so hard on myself too about it as I kept thinking I can’t stop my own horrible behavior either. To see that I am not the only one, and that others have managed it, makes me feel soooooo hopeful!!! I will be starting this TODAY and cant wait!

  • You rock, Crystal. I like how you recognized that you were in control of your reactions. Very inspirational!!

  • Heather says:

    I SO feel your pain! I’m not very patient. I go through the same cycle of yelling and then feeling horrible. I may have to try this out. Actually having a physical reminder to not yell, but to love. I want to so bad. I just loose my cool. Thank you for sharing this and being honest with us.

  • Stephanie says:

    OMG!!!! I can relate to this. I have 3 boys ages 8 and 7 yr old twind….and my oldest does EVERYTHING plus to work my last nerve. Then when I’m finally at my wits end…I hear “mom” “Mommy” repeatedly from each one…I realize some days more then others i lash out a lot more then i would like. I am going to try this! It will be a challenge no doubt because my three love ti see mommy loose it (at least it seems they do) Thanks for the story!

  • Sarah says:

    Thank you for your honesty. I admire you so much and it is encouraging to hear you struggle with the same things I do. I am implementing this idea today!

  • Cheryl says:

    Wow, very timely! Yesterday I hear Kevin Lehman (sp?) talking about his new book “Have A New Family By Friday” and he was talking about this too. He was explaining as parents to focus on how we respond vs. how we react. Respond first with love, caring, instead of a reaction first which we may regret. I’m on day 2 of this and it is working great. I have a 10 year old boy and 12 year old girl. Also, we follow, no electronics during the school week or on Sunday. They can use them on Fri/Sat. Thanks again Crystal!

  • PamAlabam says:

    Two of my kids are grown, one is away at college, and I have one, a senior, still at home. If there was one thing I could choose to do over in my parenting journey, it would be to not yell. My two older ones didn’t enter our lives until they were bigger kids. They had some emotional baggage with them. Their teenage years were very stressful. It seems that they challenged our parental authority multiple times a day. One could have won a gold medal for button pushing, lol.

    Oh how I wish I hadn’t yelled at them as much as I did. It truly did not change a thing in the end. I did figure out in their later teens that all I was doing was adding turmoil to our home.

    WARNING: Our younger two have different personalities and are much calmer and much, much easier to parent. In my effort to not only refrain from yelling, but not have any conflict at all, I tended to overlook little issues rather than nag (for lack of a better word) them about some habits and such. I’ve had to apologize to them for that and say, “Look, this thing that you are doing (or not doing) is something you should correct because____________. I’m sorry I didn’t address this when you were younger but in the interest of having a peaceful home I just chose to ignore it and I shouldn’t have.”

    This is not to say that they have issues–they are generally happy and moral young men and seem to be on the path to success. Still, there are little things like some manners and the way they deal with challenges and obstacles that I wish were different.

    All of this is to say: yes–yelling is not good. But, please don’t avoid addressing issues that need to be corrected. This may cause conflict but conflict doesn’t have to be yelling.

  • Joy Prevatte says:

    THANK YOU for being so honest. Just the encouragement I needed this morning.

  • Kelly says:

    Thank you for this post! It came at the perfect time for me, as I have been struggling with the exact same problem. I was a first grade teacher and could calmy handle 26 little ones, but my two push me over the edge daily. I grew up with my dad screaming at me, which I obviouly didn’t enjoy. When I snap at my kids, I feel awful and then am more grumpy. I’ve been praying about it daily, but never thought to give myself a challenge such as yours. I will be beginning my own “4 weeks of loving” challenge right now- well, as soon as I dry my hair. : ). Thanks for your honesty and for sharing the idea God gave you. It will surely help many families!

  • JOYce says:

    Tedd Tripp has awesome resources ~ rather than avoidance toward fostering children acting out to manipulate parental behavior(my GSDs even fall for that one…the “Mom is on the phone…or mowing…or whatever so let’s see what we can get into to test if she does indeed have eyes and ears all around her head” … “who is the alpha figure in this orbit?”) and their being trained to external behavior…he gets to the “heart” of the kit and kaboodle(for parents AND children). “Overview of Corrective Discipline” mentions “yelling” at the beginning of the video/audio.

    http://theresurgence.com/authors/ted-tripp

    🙂

    or one could opt for Bill Cosby’s ~ My father established our relationship when I was seven years old. He looked at me and said, “You know, I brought you in this world, and I can take you out. And it don’t make no difference to me, I’ll make another one look just like you.”

    definitely 🙁 on the latter.

  • Lavon Coupons says:

    I needed this post very badly today. I have a loving 8 year old and 10 year old. I also feel bad for yelling at my kids and I ask God to give me patience with them. I am deifinitely going to try this approach believing it will work.

  • Jena says:

    I needed this post this morning! Thank you for being a little answer to prayer in my home. I find that God often uses mothers to inspire other mothers, and you have done that for me today. Thanks!
    Reminded me of this inspiring youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n-DOKBffuU

  • I once asked my husband how he refrains from yelling at student who are unruly, disruptive, insubordinate, or refuse to stay on task, and he said that he takes a breath and tries to think of three reasons why his life is better because that child is in it, and in those few second he stays perfectly calm. I now try to use the same advice in our own family, and its made such a difference.

  • Lana says:

    Forty years could be right! I have a 35 year old who pushes my buttons and it is really hard to love him when he should have stopped it a long time ago. My husband says that he knows where I keep my goat tied up!

  • Mary says:

    Very similar to where I currently am in my parenting journey. 🙂 A great resource that has helped me with this type of parenting is: http://connectedfamilies.org/. They have a free e-book on their site, among other very helpful parenting advice.

  • Bethany says:

    This post spoke right to my heart. Thank you.
    Can’t wait till the no electronics post. I have been thinking about doing this for the past year.

  • Kristie says:

    This post reminds me of a book I’m reading right now, “Free to Parent” (Schuknecht & MacPherson). My favorite quote so far is, “It’s time for us to prioritize connection more than control, faith more than fear, discipleship more than discipline.” I have been encouraged to show more love to my kids., especially at the times they are struggling the most.

  • Carrie O. says:

    Crystal,
    I sometimes feel like i’m in a constant battle with my kids. I think loving instead of lashing out is a great idea.
    My question is how do you decide when to discipline/ give consequences for bad or disrespectful behavior ?

    Thanks for the post!

  • Randi says:

    I LOVE this and I am going to start my 4-week commitment TODAY! You have SO inspired me! I am a full time working mom with a wonderful 2.5 yo little boy…he really is the light in my life, but he’s also 2.5! And I get home tired, and worn out, and get easily frustrated with him. So today I commit to LOVING my son, giving grace, and being a mom I am proud of!!

    Thank you Crystal!

    • 2.5yrs is hard. That’s my daughter’s age. Just old enough to push my buttons and be naughty on purpose. I try not to yell/get aggravated but my goodness is it hard sometimes. 🙂

      I love this idea of loving on them instead of yelling at them. I’ve tried (and failed) in the past. Might be time to try again. 🙂

    • Diana says:

      This has open my eyes, sometimes I wonder why my kids were being so rough to each other and unkind and I would get even more frustrated. We are their models and they mimic what we do,if we lash out they will do the same to each other, what hurts more to a mom then seeing her babies fight? I just had a moment of revelation. I’ll not try, but do my best !!! I need that type of mentallity. My daughters are 10 and 7 they don’t usually like the same stuff but I think if we do craft, even using the Proverbs 15:1 posting it as a display on our wall as a reminder for me lol ! … And maybe have a spa night they would love it

  • awesome! when our newest addition (5 months) fights sleep at night i make it a point to just hold her and whipser…”i love you.” it makes a big difference in my attitude. i think i’ll carry it along to our other three, thanks for the inspiration!

      • Emily says:

        I have 5 boys at home full time ages three, four, five, nine and ten and 3 step children ages eight, ten and twelve. I basically do nothing but scream all day every day and go to bed feeling sick at myself and extreme amounts of guilt every single night. I’m going to try this but what do I do with the extremely defiant ones that refuse to listen to authority and do everything in their powers to get me to scream? How do I handle the bad mouths and behaviors without screaming after calmly trying over and over? I’m begging for help..

    • Crystin morris says:

      I have a major sleep fighter who is also an extremely difficult baby all around. I have literally been bawling for hours because I’m just so exhausted, but you have just inspired me to change my attitude and be more grateful for my children and for exactly who they are! I’m a good mom, and I love on my babies, but I also get frustrated easily, stay stressed out most of the time, and am not very patient sometimes. I’m going to be better, starting today.

  • Amber says:

    I’ve been struggling with this too. Thank you for writing this! Also, please do write about the removal of electronics! We have issues with that too! 🙂

    • Amy says:

      I can’t speak for Crystal, but we have removed electronics in our home during the week and the kids are only allowed to play screens for set times on the weekend. It has totally transformed our week! Removing electronics has removed the arguing, negotiating and frustrations that come along with them. The kids are also playing outside more. Can’t recommend it highly enough!

      • Kelly Smith says:

        We have just started this at our house, too. The girls had bad attitudes when anything took time away from electronics (homework, errands, chores). Removing them has helped with the attitudes. I can’t wait to read more!

  • Leah says:

    Have you read any books by Karen Purvis? She is a fabulous proponate of parenting with love and compassion. I am awful at it! But boy am I working on it. Karen mainly works with foster/adopt children but her methods are important for every child!
    I needed your post this morning as a reminder that this type of parenting, no matter how hard, is what God wants from me!

  • Nancy says:

    What do you mean by your husband is holding you accountable? What was the repercussion if you yelled at the children?

    • Great question! Since he’s my accountability partner in this, he would probably gently remind me if I start to get frustrated: “Love, don’t lash out” etc. By the grace of God, he hasn’t even had to do that… but just knowing I’ve committed to him has been so effective for me, along with wearing the bracelet and telling my children that Mommy is wearing this bracelet as a reminder to show love and speak with calmness.

  • Natasha says:

    I recently made a change also and it had gotten so bad that I was yelling at every little thing so I went to my Bible and looked up the word soft and I found Proverbs 15:1. It says “A SOFT answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” Now when I see myself getting to that point of being upset with the kids at something I just quickly say that verse either in my head or out loud and then I will turn to my child (ages 2 and 1) and correct them with politeness (is this even a word). It has helped with our household too and my husband has noticed a difference.

    • Rose says:

      Thank you for this verse! It is so true with my kids! I’m going to write it out right now and put it where I can see it often!

    • Deborah says:

      Thank you for this verse. I will put it in action immediately. I have a 6.5 year old and when I tell her not to do something she does it. I get so upset I yell at her. I feel so bad afterwards. Seem like every time I just say anything to her she jumps out of her skin. I see that and I know it has to change. It has gotten that bad. I know I am in the wrong, I will follow suit with this article and change things now.

  • happy momma says:

    Stopping the yelling was the best thing I did for our family too. It was not easy. When we got the urge to yell or found ourselves yelling we would stop, take a deep breath, and repeat one of two phrases. “yelling is not how we communicate” was the one I used the most. In the beginning it seemed like a constant effort. I found myself repeating the phrase almost endlessly, seriously it felt like 10,000 times a day I was repeating the phrase. I felt like the old days when they were punished and they would write on the chalkboard over and over again. But I remember several months into the process when I realized I had gone a whole day without having to repeat the phrase. I did a happy dance. It was working, my efforts had paid off. Our family is much better now that we talk to each other rather then yell. We still have moments, but it much easier because we created better habits.

  • Billene says:

    I am interested know the outcome of the making your children completely free of any electronic devices. I agree most young children and teenagers spend entirely too much time watching TV and using social media. But my question is how do you control the use when they leave home to attend school and go to friends houses? If your child leaves home without their cellphone there way be no way for them to contacted you if a need arises.

    • Jen says:

      Crystal home-schools her kids so that’s not an issue. As for playdates, well…I’m not Crystal so I can’t answer that one. 😉

      • Billene says:

        Thanks Jen, yes knew that Crystal did home schooling. Just wondering her ideas for those who don’t. Children can be so sneaky, as soon as they are out of your sight. Often they will go against rules enforced at home, sometimes out their own desire, and also in fear of being made fun of or bullied by another child.

        • Tracy says:

          As for the cellphone part my son has a very basic Tracphone. It is inexpensive and all he can do is call or text with it. He only gets to have it when he is going to things where I will not be right there with him.

    • Jen says:

      Growing up most of is didn’t have cell phones to contact our parents and we survived. If it were a true emergency don’t you think someone would let them borrow a phone to call home?? Sorry I just don’t buy in to the trend that teenagers “have” to have their own phone.

    • Raven Griffin says:

      We all survived without cell phones. And my children will as well. My family is a no cell phone family. We do have a tracphone we take when going out of town. I’ve had it for 10 years and have never once had to use it. No electronics also goes for parents. I have committed to not using electronics unless my children are in bed. We do watch several educational and religious shows like Veggie Tales and Dragon Tales. We do not have conventional television either. I have a 20 month old and one on the way and my small changes now have made a huge difference in my toddler. We spend more time outside, playing together inside, reading books, cuddling, so many positive things. Plus, limiting electronic use and setting an example for my children has also given me more time with my kids and also more time for Mommy stuff like laundry and housework. My animals are even more calm with our structure and daily change of pace. Be blessed.

  • Megan says:

    Love this! We’ve been doing something similar too. One of the phrases I try to remember when dealing with a button-pusher is “The kid who is least lovable needs the most love.” Sometimes they need discipline but sometimes they just need a hug and some lap time with Mama! I am totally accepting this challenge! When my husband deployed recently the Scripture God gave me was “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness” and I have clung to that! I fully admit my weakness so it’s not hard to acknowledge God’s strength shining through when I smile and change tactics instead of snap at a kid! Like Dr. Dobson said, “Someone has to be the adult!” It’s SO hard sometimes but I love the idea of pouring on the love rather than the loud!

  • Tracy says:

    I am so glad you wrote this. Lately I have become a mom and daughter I do not like. I have been lashing out so much. My son I noticed just the other day is repeating what I am saying and it is not helping him or me at all. I had no idea how to stop this awful cycle, my Mother was this way with me growing up.

    Also I would love to hear how you managed to remove electronics as well. I am at my wits end with that.

  • Jen says:

    Have you heard of this website? http://theorangerhino.com/

    She really has a lot of great tips to stop yelling.

    • I hadn’t heard of the site until after I wrote this post… it looks so helpful!

      • Allison V. says:

        I’ve followed the Orange Rhino for a year or two. Can’t say that I’ve effectively applied anything but it is very encouraging to read of someone who has the same struggles, and know I’m not alone. I don’t believe she’s a Christian but her principles are actually pretty Biblical.

        • Jen says:

          I just want to point out, in kindness, that there are plenty of us out here who do not believe in organized religion, are not outwardly religious, but are Believers. I don’t think people should be thought of as not a Christian just because they’re not quoting the bible and professing their belief to the world. It can be very personal to some people. Unless someone has stated outright that they are not a Christian, especially on the internet, there is no way to know that they’re not.

          I really do say this in kindness. It bothers me when I see people trying to figure out if someone is Christian, and mostly assuming they’re not. I feel like I need to starting speaking up and sharing my viewpoint.

  • I needed this today. I’ve found myself yelling more than I like. I love how you chose to replace the yelling with loving. I’d also love to hear about your no electronics decision. We limit our kids’ use of electronics, but since our 6th was born in August they’ve been watching more shows than usual.

  • I love this. It can be so hard And then when we make mothering mistakes we punish ourselves and drown in self pity because we feel we deserve so much punishment. But then by not allowing love and grace and healing for ourselves, it makes us angrier at everyone else too (though not intentional).

    I love this because it shows that love isn’t a feeling. Love is action, and love is commitment. Love is what we do when we don’t necessarily feel it. I’m learning this as well.

    And I love the no electronics. I’m right there with you. My daughter even likes the rule of limited electronic- she knows when she’s starting to feel addicted.

    Crystal you are so committed to personal growth, and that is such a beautiful quality. Please know though that you need to treat yourself as kindly as you do others. Self compassion is very difficult to achieve, and it’s something that I’m really working on. You are lovely.

  • cassandra says:

    I love this. Thanks for sharing your struggles, I would love to hear what other practical (and simple) ways you choose to exercise love. When you said “I asked my child to come snuggle with me.” it like a light bulb came on for me. It was so simple yet effective, but at the same time when I am frustrated those ideas can completely elude me.

    • I’m SO glad you found this helpful!

      Other ideas would be: hanging out with the child, talking with the child, playing with the child, doing something together… anything that would show them love (knowing what their love language is is very helpful!). Many times, it’s just stopping, looking the child in their eyes, smiling at them, listening to them, and asking them what’s wrong. I’ve found that this opens up the door for some really good heart conversations that have helped me understand my children and their needs and struggles better.

  • Tracy says:

    This post has come at the perfect time! Still need to read through all the comments but I wanted to comment and say thank you before I get sucked into reading and forget.

    My 3 1/2 year old is really excelling at pressing my buttons lately. She had always been a high needs baby/toddler, but these past few months have been so much more trying than we’ve experienced before with her. We also have a teething 9-month-old who needs to be held non-stop right now, and my husband is gone from the time the kids wake up until they go to bed most days of the week. My house is a wreck. I am exhausted and totally out of patience, and some days just want to lock myself in the bathroom and cry. It is so so so SO hard to keep it together when my three year old starts up again when I’m already at my breaking point.

    But yelling never solves the problem. Not that I never try it anyway (oh, I certainly do sometimes), but it has never ended well. Yelling just sends her over the edge too, and her behavior ends up even worse than before. Every time.

    TV does seem to make it worse. Right now she watches a show while I get the baby down for his naps, which is taking forever currently, so she’s watching much more than I’d like. We keep the tv off on the days my husband is home, and then she has at least one meltdown a day over not being able to watch something. I really think I need to come up with another way to keep her quietly occupied when I need to get the baby to sleep. “Special” toys or quiet boxes have been a bust… she gets excited and plays for 5 minutes by herself, then comes and interrupts me (she has a really hard time being alone), thus waking the baby up and causing me to yell… sigh.

  • Laura Smith says:

    Great post – so exciting how you’ve been able to change.

    I’m definitely curious about the no electronics. My daughter is only 3 months old, but I am wondering how to deal with the prevalence of electronics when she is older. I’m especially curious how you enforce the rule and set a good example when your work involves so much screen time? Are there things you do to limit your own screen time in front of them? How do you explain it to them?

  • Kathy says:

    Your story rang so true with me. My previous job was terribly stressful with long hours and I found myself yelling at this precious child that God had given me. I got laid off from a large company and ironically ended up working at the company in another area as a contractor in a job that was much less stressful. It was amazing with the reduced stress that I have been able to greatly reduce the amount of yelling I do. I still have my moments but they are fewer now. I also keep in the back of my mind the bible verse above (Proverbs 15:1) about a soft answer turning away wrath and constantly remind myself of this truth. We also reduced my son’s computer time so he can only play on weekends and only if he minds his manners. He knows it is not guaranteed and he has to earn it. The other thing we did a couple of years ago was we were told about the program 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas Phelan by my son’s doctor and started implementing it at home and at school and it really helped. My son was 5 at the time and when we started counting he knew what was coming. It was very effective. Our doctor gave us a CD of Dr. Phelan doing a session on it and it was very funny – especially if have a strong willed child. It was also wonderful hearing his story and how he implemented this with principle with his children. The school loved the idea because it gave them a technique to use with the whole class and other classes at the school. I had to listened to it over and over when I was alone while working and would catch nuggets that I missed before. If anyone is interested in this technique, he has written some books on it and some libraries carry them.

  • Traci says:

    This is great. Exactly what the orange rhino is about she has a page and site devoted just to this and even has bracelets to wear to remind you as well. I need to totally recommit

  • Sarah says:

    Let me just say I love you and that is just what I needed to read right now! Ok the I love you is weird, but I do feel like we seem to go through a lot of the same things. Everything you said could have come out of my mouth. I have thought and felt the same things. Thank you for being so candid.
    I have actually contemplated quitting homeschooling because of these issues. I have wanted to reach out to friends but haven’t because I don’t want to seem whiny. I don’t even feel my husband understands. So I appreciate your willingness to be candid with us and share what you have done to help those out like me who are too chicken to ask for help ourselves.

  • NIKKI M. says:

    We adopted three girls recently that have very deep flaws. They lack appropriate maturity (our 8 yr old looks and acts like 4!), and with constant stealing, lying, etc we really struggle to keep our composure. This article definitely helped me realize we need to change. In regards to the electronics… we have maintained the kids being electronic free since the very beginning. They are not allowed to play video games, on cell phones/computers, and are only allowed to watch about 2 movies a week (no television either). It’s worked wonders except they still crave it and get in trouble when around friends because they disregard our rules.

  • What a wonderful story, Crystal! Thanks for sharing it with us 🙂

    I just thought that I would add that I too notice a difference in my children’s behavior when they do not watch television or play video games. They are so much more kind and loving!

  • Bridget says:

    This is so great! Just what I needed to hear. Is this when your children have done something wrong, or when they are driving you crazy in general? I have a three year old, and we give her time out or take away privileges when she is disobedient, dishonest or disrespectful. I can easily lose my cool with her and am definitely going to take the challenge!

  • Kymberlee says:

    Im a mother of 4 amazing kids ages 9, 6 Stepson, 3 and 18 months and every since their dad past away 2 yrs ago I seem to yell a whole lot! I have tried to tell myself that I’m not going to do it anymore, but still fall back into same habit. My 3 yr old is my handful and yelling doesn’t get thru to them anyways. After I yell I fell horrible. I never wanted to be the” scary” mom I always wanted to be the fun loving mom and here recently I realized I’m not as good as I could be I’m going to try this thanks so much.

  • Jenn says:

    I really needed this today. I’m still recovering from major shoulder surgery (2 years in a row), and many other stresses, but mostly I am overwhelmed with homeschooling an 8 and 12 year old. Seems they think all of a sudden that being home means they can do what they want, and I’ve blown it with yelling at them. But I can and should do better! I need to show love more with His strength. I didn’t pull them out of public school for this. Thanks for being honest and for the encouragement! I am really going to work on this!!

  • Mary says:

    I’ve always been one who wasn’t much for yelling. I do have one child (age 6) who is very stubborn and who loves to push my buttons, mostly through deliberate disobedience, generally when asked to pick up toys, help me accomplish a household task, or with home school work.
    My question is this: When the child pushes the buttons and you return with love, love, love, do you release the child from the request that was made or responsibility and hope that with enough love they’ll come around on their own? Or do you love love love but still encourage them to pick up those toys, do that math page, or whatever is expected, and find gentle ways to discipline if they continue to push you?

  • Suzanne says:

    I SO needed to read this! Thank you for sharing. I yell at my children and feel bad about it every night before falling asleep. I have stopped a lot but now finding myself back at yelling. I thought maybe I was alone on this and a terrible person. But I now see that we all struggle and is wonderful to see other mommies helping one another. I have also prayed every night about my anger issues. I do need to bring back out my bible though and start reading it with my children again (I have also stopped doing this)and I think it has a lot of being the way I am. Thank you for sharing and reminding us that we are not alone and it’s possible to turn it all around and be better.

  • Erin says:

    I loved this post and look forward to trying it out today! I was wondering how you balanced this with discipline? Or…did you not need to discipline and instead responded with grace? Thanks!!

  • Andrea k says:

    This really convicted me. I always said I would never yell at my kids because my Mom yelled at me and I hated it. Lately though I realized that my oldest child has been snapping at her siblings. My sweet husband gently helped me see that she is imitating me. I’m going to commit to this and pray for God to change me and the tone I have set for our family.

  • chelsea says:

    This is such an encouraging post! I have been struggling lately with not raising my voice, and its so humbling to have to go back and apologize to my kids every time it happens.

    We are media-free too, except for weekends. It can be daunting, especially when you homeschool and its winter and everyone is inside much of the time and right on top of each other! But I’ve found an excellent solution is “quiet time” for everyone in the afternoon after lunch. This ensures even mommy gets an hour of solitude! And it does everyone good to have some separate downtime.

  • This post about brought tears to my eyes because it’s right where I’m at. Or at least the “I thought I was a patient person” part.

    I had all these grand visions of the kind of mother I’d be, but the reality is much harder than I expected. Totally worth it, but harder. Thank you so much for this challenge. I’m going to join you!

    (Oh, and I love that you got your answer on your knees. One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced so far didn’t seem to have an answer in *any* of the parenting books I read. Totally overwhelmed, I was about ready to give up on the issue. Then, while praying, the simplest of answers came to mind…and it worked!)

  • sarah says:

    I really needed to read this I have be one a mom that yells all the time I never was before but now that my kids are older I have my husband and I have both decided to make this commitment to love instead of lashing out. Now I would love to take electronics away but my 11,12 and 15 year old have to use the computer a lot for homework. I believe that electronics are bad my oldest once I took her ipad ,iPhone and iPod away her behavior and attitude I have changed so much.

  • Andrea says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this!!! I have three little boys, they are 5,4,and 2. It is hard not to gett frustrated with them and tell. I am going to start my 4 week commitment. I have been praying to God that I gain the patience I need to help me from yelling. This is my answer to that prayer.

  • Rachel says:

    Listening to Steve Green’s “Hide em in your heart” 2 disc cd set (it is probably on itunes too) has made a HUGE difference in my life and my kids too. His songs are verses straight out of the Bible and definately convict me during the day. My kids love the songs and I love listening to scripture verses all day. It greatly improved my attitude.

  • Heather says:

    Can I ask you what you did in the midst of wanting to snap? This sounds like a really nice idea… but what specifically did you do? I have been dealing with this since my youngest came home from the NICU and I have resolved many times to stop yelling at the kids, but I’ll make it a couple of days or maybe only a couple of hours before I fail. I’m in a cycle where I speak so nicely and sweetly but no one obeys or responds until I yell at them. I have a 6, 4, 2, and 9 month old and my baby has some special needs that require a lot of attention so I know the others are probably just feeling forgotten. Most of the time I’m raising my voice at my strong-willed very naughty 4 y.o. with the baby in my arms, while I’m wiping the 2 y.o’s butt. Anyways, can I ask what was your plan? What are some real life examples of how you found “very practical way(s) to love that child” you were tempted to yell at? I would love some ideas…

  • Renee says:

    I feel as though you were sent to me!! I am a Grandma raising my 8 yr old granddaughter. We have been blessed with her for almost 7 years now. But I am getting older and my patience thinner. I am making my commitment today, and God bless you for reminding me of something so important!!

  • MIchelle says:

    I love what you did. And I must say, that’s a very tough thing to do. Especially when you have a headache. I’m a young mom and I’m trying soooo hard not to lash out on my kid (by the way, he’s 4.5) everytime he does things that gets on my nerves. This little confession of yours is very inspiring. I just hope I could do the same with my son. Any tips or advice, perhaps fellow moms? Two thumbs up on mission accomplished!

  • Cassie says:

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time! I have never been a patient person, nor a kid person. And I loved being a mom until my son turned 3, now he just really gets on my nerves. And I know much of it is him testing me to see when I’ll break and I always do. I’m going to start this tomorrow. We are getting ready to downsize our living situation by 3/4 and that means getting rid of a lot and packing and I just know it’ll be stressful in and of itself. But I don’t want my children to remember me as being strawed and angry. I want to be fun and loving.

  • susan says:

    When I was a very young mom with a niece also to care for I soon started babysitting for my Aunts children.I ranted at them getting red in the face with anger.One day I was so frustrated I began to cry.A very old lady I helped alot came up to me and said “Sugar,you are trying too hard!Let up on these babies and yourself.When they act up use a calm voice and hug them often!It worked but after all the years,3 more daughters and 2 grandkids I was back to yelling as a source of getting them to pay attention.One day as my 2 year old grandson was standing in the middle of the room with red fruit drink spilled all over the floor I started to explode until I saw the fear and anguish on his face..I said It’s ok baby you can help me clean it up and the look on his face was worth a million bucks…I was not instantly better but over the next year I stopped all my fury over the small stuff and learned to talk calmly and hug often.I now have 10 grandkids and 4 great grandkids and to say they can be a challenge is an understatement.I pray often,hug lots and keep the mops,vacuum and steam cleaner busy during thier visits!!LOL its nice when they visit and now I’m telling thier moms stay calm and breathe they are little for such a short time and hugs/love is better than yelling/crying.The plus is your face is alot prettier with a smile.

  • This is a good challenge. I don’t want to yell, but sometimes it’s necessary and sometimes…welll…lol! I’m glad it works for you though! I do like the idea of being gadget free. We have to move in that direction.

  • I absolutely love this post, and the challenge that you created. It actually reminded me of a few days ago when God used my children to get under my skin. I guess I will have to write about my personal experience with this. I think it will blow your mind!

  • Rebecca Schultz says:

    I don’t have kids yet, but I want to share the same committment to my husband. I have a really busy schedule, and I am not very patient. My anger and frustration rarely involve things between us, but rather work, college, or home stuff.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much. I need a reminder as well to show more love. My sons are 2.5 and 4.5. The oldest loves to get the youngest in trouble. So I find myself telling at both if them. I try not to but by mid afternoon I find myself exhausted and frustrated. Then my husband gets upset too. Bad cycle. I will try this now! Thank you.

  • Connie says:

    All I can say is thank you. I really needed to read that! That is going to be my new focus in my house

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this. I too thought of myself as a total loving, nurturing mother….until I had kids. I now am a stay at home mom of 6 and we homeschool. I find myself yelling quite frequently and feeling terrible every night, vowing to stop the yelling. I am making this same commitment to God and my husband beginning today. Lord, help me! 🙂

  • Patty says:

    How do you do this with a child who is not yet 2? Some days I’m just at my wits end…

  • Katie says:

    I needed this! I always try to take a deep breath and say a prayer when i am tempted to yell at my children. And oh, do they tempt me.
    I am glad it is going well for you! I like the idea of no television during the week also!
    Katie

  • Kristina says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I have been struggling with this myself lately. My kiddos are 3 years and 19 months, so they are at that early toddler stage and expert button pushers. I also consider myself an extremely patient person, but not always anymore lately. I have been working on my yelling and my temper lately as I notice it has a major impact on the entire household. When I am cranky, I notice that everyone else is cranky as well. But when I make an effort to choose love and joy – the household is much more peaceful! In the last few days since reading this article there has been a huge difference and you helped to motivate and inspire that change – thank you!
    I too have a mommy bracelet that I’ve had for a while from Pearls by Laurel and I have used that as a daily reminder as well…

  • I love this advice! I even have my own amber bracelet that I got for just $5 from Sweetbottoms Baby as one of the bonuses from the last Ultimate Bundles sale I promoted. I haven’t been wearing the bracelet much yet but I love your idea of using that bracelet as a reminder as you are getting more and more frustrated with your kids. My own 4 week challenge starts today! Thank you!!!

  • Awesome post! I really struggled with this when my boys were little… as I had grown up in a “yelling” family. It was definitely a hard habit to break! Now that my boys are older, we don’t usually have this issue… except when they’re doing their math. Then, all bets are off! LOL

  • Anne Ricci says:

    Hi Crystal, congratulations! I often hug my 4-year old instead of getting upset, and it works very well. I love this story, it’s very inspiring and I’ll follow your example.
    Anne

  • Cindy says:

    I love this. I’ve been thinking along these same lines. I will definitely be on the lookout for the electronics post. I’ve been experimenting with removal as well.

    • Tatiana says:

      I didn’t completely remove electronics but I did limit screen time to only 1 hour a day and saw a MAJOR difference

  • bren says:

    Love this idea n I have a bracelet I’m going to use! <3

  • Kimberly says:

    Thanks for this. Your intro described me. Please pray for me as we do this. I actually have spent the whole day prior to reading this in prayer for something to help with my anger management.

  • Susanne says:

    Omg thismade ne cry. Im feeling the exact same way. My 4 yo oh my goodness does she know how to push my buttons! And i hate myself everytime she doesnt listeb to me and i get angry and act like a stubborn rude kid myself . Oh my I need a necklace of those beads to keep me calm

    • Emily says:

      You are not alone. I have a 4 yr old daughter who I love dearly, but she is in her own world most of the time and can’t seem to concentrate on the task at hand. So, after telling her to do something a couple of times, I resort to yelling to get my point across. All this does is cause all of us to be in terrible moods and she may or may not get the task done. I would love to be one of those patient, calm moms, but she drives me crazy sometimes! We all need to pray for all other moms out there! I will definitely attempt to put the points of this article to use in my life!

      • Rebecca says:

        I have one that can’t concentrate too. She’s 11 now, but have caused my husband and I so much grief. I feel like i’m finally able to separate my emotion and response from her behavior. I so hear you. One thing that has been enormously helpful for me is “triple talk.” Have her repeat the instruction three times while clapping. Also, preparing for the previous day and going over expectations for EVERY activity/ portion of the day. It gets old, especially with a middle school child, but, it is worth it.

    • Steph says:

      Me too. I’m so ashamed and feel so much guilt, but God is a God of forgiveness. I don’t deserve it but in His mercy He gives it. Praying for all you other mothers, and lift me up while you’re at it 😉 i need it big time.

  • Sarah Ann says:

    This is a fabulous idea and I vow to commit to this! My parenting situation is quite special, just like the babies I was blessed with through adoption. My daughter has Autism and my son, although not officially diagnosed, probably has ADHD and is quite the wild child. I find myself slipping into yelling without realizing it and it saddens me that I am not the mom I thought I would be. But I am thankful God’s grace is new every morning and with this commitment, I can love them a little more like Him. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you for sharing with us. I have just this year been widowed, with 5 children to care for. I have struggled so much in this area. Love your idea and will use it. Looking forward to a calm home, filled with laughter and love

  • Heidi says:

    Thank you so much for this! I am not a mother, but still live at home with my parents. I have four young siblings (1 1/2, 3, 5, 7) and it’s been on my heart lately try to stop getting angry, especially when I am babysitting. I think you have some amazing insights here! I usually deal with anger and frustration by removing myself from the situation, but that is not always possible if you are the one in charge!

    I also love the bracelet idea! I recently got a ring that says ‘hope’ on it. It’s been a real help for me as I have CFS/ME. Sometimes it is very difficult to keep hope that I will get well, so to see this ring all the time is a special reminder.

  • Sharon says:

    ThAnk you for those words! I need that challenge. I have a child like yours who I allow to push my buttons too. I’m anxious to try your actions. And the electronics post? I’m anxious to see it! We don’t have at an early age seen the negative responses we had with our first son with electronics. So yes we limit our boys too and maybe I need to reevaluate their 15 min a day on my phone.

  • chrystal says:

    Awesome. Isn’t it funny how the Bible is always right! I don’t know why we fight against it sometimes. I’m am going to do this – with the bracelet too!

    You Gotta tell us about the electronics experiment. I’ve been trying to do this – worth no avail.

  • Rachel says:

    I am more than a little guilty in this department thats for sure, but my question is, as parents we still need to discipline our kids, how do you go about that?

    • Dawn says:

      My wild and crazy boys are 6 and 10 now and for years I have been letting them ‘pick their punishment’. When this all started out we reviewed our Family Rules then listed everything from a time out to major grounding. When someone does something wrong I sit alone with the child and discuss heir behavior and ask what they think we should do about it. I was surprised that they are often much harder on themselves than I am so I get to dial back the grounding they suggested to something less severe such as simply returning the toy they stole from their brother. And of course a real apology is mandatory followed by a hug (once I know they won’t kill eachother if they get too close) lol. It’s not perfect but since we have been doing it for so long they know the consequences of their actions and know that they can choose to behave to avoid punishment. It makes them stop and think before they act.

  • Mary says:

    So timely…I am a homeschool mom with 5 kids. I have regularly been losing my patience and am glad to know that it’s not just me and am going to use your advice to help me! Thank you so much for all of your wonderful advice and great example.

  • Jennn says:

    Can you offer up some of the additional practical ways you showed love instead of lashing out? I would love to try this, but need an arsenal of “love tactics” to immediately turn to, as I doubt I’d be able to think of something when my emotions are about to boil over. Thank you!

  • Cheyenne says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve been in the same cycle and praying for help, and your post came as part of an answer to prayer for me. I’ve followed many blogs, but I must say that yours is always #1 for me. If I only have time to look at email briefly, of any blog emails I open, yours is always it. It’s so inspirational, practical, motivating, helpful in a whole-life-and-it’s-many
    -parts-management way. THANK YOU for taking on this work that gifts so many mothers like me!!

  • Lois says:

    Hope this works with ADHD husbands too. I need help!

  • Sally says:

    Yep, the child that is hardest to love is the one that needs it the most! Once at my wits’ end, I took my one horrid child on my knee and held her while she struggled. When she finally stopped, I told her, “Sweetheart, you could not EVER be bad enough to make me stop loving you.” I had to remind her of that once a few years later, but it has made all the difference in the world. ♥

  • Jackie says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I will make the commitment and take the challenge and I know my husband will too . Love the bracelet idea.

  • Jenny says:

    Hi! For some reason I keep finding myself at your blog. First it was organization strategies (I still use your weekly house cleaning printouts) and now this post! I was in the same situation as you several years ago and went to the public library, completely at my wit’s end, to look for a parenting book to help me (none of the other 100 or so I had read was helping me) when I came across “How to Talk so Kids will Listen, How to Listen so Kids will Talk” by Faber and Mazlish- BEST BOOK EVER!!! If you have never read it you should definitely see if your local library has a copy. It has been around A LONG time, but I had never heard of it. It completely changed the way I parent. : )

  • Dana says:

    Your posts are always encouraging. We just moved with our sons (1&4) from michigan to Kansas and I have thought about your journey a lot. Moving is tough and high stress on everyone… I am actually having the hardest time adjusting though it’s getting better. I’ll look for your tips for not yelling to help in my frustration. Conscious discipline has been a recent discovery also of mine. Thank you crystal – you help many of us

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you for this post! It’s the encouragement I need to get out of a rut with this! Also could you please post a link to the post about going electronic free? I would love to know how that went.

  • Christine says:

    Any ideas for older kids (9 and 14) who just ignore me even when I speak normally lol!?

    I end up frustrated and then yelling because me asking/telling them to do anything(phrased in any sort of way, truly) in a normal voice falls on deaf ears. They always end up asking “Why are you yelling!?” or “Why do you keep telling me the same thing!?”

    Because you never listen the first (or second or third….) time or you say you ‘forgot’!

    *sigh*

    • Di H. says:

      Here is a suggestion that I found helpful. When you talk to them, start out by facing them and have them look you in the eye. Sometimes touching them on the shoulder to get their attention is helpful too. Once you have their complete attention, make your request (Will you please take out the trash.) & have them acknowledge you by repeating it back to you. (Yes mom I will take out the trash.) Then insist that they obey right away to keep from “forgetting”.
      Even for myself as a kid (and even now if I am watching TV, reading a book, doing the bills, etc) I can get into a zone and completely tune out the world. I usually hear and see nothing else. It frequently takes physical contact to get me out of that zone. My mom would even ask me to do something but unless I put my book down to hear what she said I couldn’t tell you what she said.

      Instead of constantly telling them to do stuff, create a written version of what needs to be done and put the responsibility back on them.

      1. Instilling a new habit to go along with an old habit
      Perhaps make your bed (new) before coming to breakfast (old). If they have to help with breakfast dishes, then a rule might be that they must be cleared from the table immediately after breakfast (new) before leaving the kitchen.(old)

      2. Maybe make a chore chart that they can check off and giving them a time frame for when things need to be done.
      Here are 5 chores and they must be completed by 3pm or before going to a friend’s house

      3. Another option might be to make a schedule to follow:
      7:00-7:30 Get up, dressed, & make bed
      7:30-8:00 Breakfast
      8:00-8:30 Help clean up breakfast
      8:30- 9:30 household chores
      9:30-11:30 Free time

      You can even mix and match. Have a strict schedule M-F and a list of things on Saturday or vice versa

  • marjanna says:

    So needed this. It has been really bad in this house for several months but it keeps getting worse. I’m sure it’s my attitude. Pregnancy hormones don’t help wither. Going to start this right now. It also gives me an excuse to buy myself a bracelet;) my kids are 5, 3 and 2 and I’m 38+ weeks pregnant. It is a very trying time for me as a mother dealing with the attitudes of these ages. We will also be getting on a routine too so I know that will help. Thank you for this post!!!!

  • yessica says:

    Hi, thanks for writing about it. Am having that same problem and I am going crazy, I even thought it was depression. Is a small change but is worth it.

    thanks!

  • Rebecca says:

    I love this idea and having some visual reminder as well…..

  • Kathleen says:

    Thanks so much for your transparency, Crystal. I’m encouraged to follow your lead as we’ve been facing similar struggles. I’ve been praying and trying to strategize my way out…This is a practical (although hard!) step I can take to change the tone of our home, too.

    And I love the idea of your reminder bracelet! 🙂

  • Melissa says:

    I am glad I read this. My husband and I recently separated because he says he is tired of my yelling. I have been praying about it but nothing seems to help. I am going to try this. I hope it works. I hate the fact that I yell at my loved ones and really hate that u have pushed my husband away because of it! Maybe if I can fix it like you did, he ad my children will be happier and he will come back home where he belongs and my heart will not hurt anymore.

  • Katrina says:

    Thank you for sharing this. We just put our home on the market and I have been a complete nightmare to all around me. I will be starting this challenge today. Blessings to you and yours!!! <3

  • Anne says:

    Unbelievable! This post is an answer to my prayers! Just TODAY I was consumed with the thought of this exact issue! One of my children has really been getting on my last nerve and I HATE that I let that happen! I’m the adult! I should handle it better! After reading your advice/tips and the other comments from folks who are in my shoes, it’s good to know that I am not alone. I feel selfish for letting it get to this point! So, tomorrow is a new day; I just need to decide what bracelet to wear 😉
    THANK YOU!!! God bless you all!

  • Alicia says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I needed this blog so much! I have a now 10 month old who is into everything and although he is too young to understand me telling him no 150 times a day it is starting to wear at me some days and I feel myself getting short with him when he doesn’t deserve it. I always told myself I didn’t want to be the mom that yells at her kids but I felt myself headed in that direction and I didn’t know how to change. This blog gave me new perspectives, new strategies and hope! I can and will be the mother that my kids love by turning to God and finding patience and love. Thanks for reminding me of that!

  • Natalie says:

    How can I implement this idea with teenage boys? I love your 4 week plan!

  • Misa says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this..I myself have been struggling for years now..im having a hard time disciplining my two boys without yelling and freaking out at times..i know im hurting them inside and its hurting me too..i will definitely do the same things that you did..i will ask for guidance and i know i can do this..again thank you and God bless you and your family.. ?

  • Kimberly says:

    I know this may sound silly but what are some of the ways you showed love in the moment you wanted to yell? Besides snuggles or hugs… I’ve been trying this and know tons of ways to love my children but in the moment seems like it needs certain kinds of loving and not others. I don’t know if that sense.

  • Mary says:

    Thanks for the wonderful message. Yelling make it difficult to understand certain things about the child. Blessings to my family.

  • Amanda says:

    This post came right in the nick of time! It breaks my heart when I yell at my children. I feel awful that I do exactly what I try my best to teach them NOT to do. Thanks for the post 🙂

  • Kerry says:

    This is a great article! I’m 33 weeks pregnant with a 2.5 year old daughter at home. She is a great kid, but still very much a toddler, testing her limits and my patience at times. I really like this approach and am excited to try it – being pregnant and working full time has severely limited my patience! Any advice on how to use this approach if they actually need to be disciplined or misbehaving?

  • Melissa says:

    You have no idea how bad I needed this. I have been struggling these last months. I have a 12 yo boy and an 11 yo girl. My little one has special needs and things have been difficult. My son adores his sister and when she gets sick he acts out. This has been such a rough couple of months and schedule changes and I have felt very alone, despite having an amazing husband and family. Reading this made me feel uplifted. I am so happy to hear I am not alone. I will be trying to take your advice. Thank you so much.

  • Tia says:

    As I am reading this article tears are beginning to form. Because this is me. I feel there is no other way to get my point across to my 4year old daughter. As of today I have made a commitment to no longer be a “yelling mom”.

  • Eve says:

    Thank you! Perfect fir my situation! I ordered the bracelet too!

  • Bee says:

    So you’ve been doing this floor several years now. Any tips on logging and showing Grace, but still instilling disrespect and disobedience is not acceptable? I am trying not to yell, but I also don’t want to be viewed as the pushover my husband is seen as.

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