We’ve all been in those situations where everything that your children do makes you cringe with anxiety and anger. Too many times, we’ve reacted in that anger and yelled at our precious children. Almost as soon as the overly-loud words are out of our mouths, we’re overcome with guilt and regret over our reaction. Yellers beget yellers. That’s just the way it works. If we show our children that yelling is the way to deal with anger and big emotions, they will continue into their adult lives reacting in anger and are very likely to parent your grandchildren the same way.
Yelling accomplishes nothing. The problem’s not solved. The unacceptable or inappropriate behavior is not corrected. But your relationship with your child is strained.
There are times when we want to yell because there’s a major discipline problem, but there are other times when we’re simply frustrated and tired and want to explode over absolutely nothing.
So what can you do instead of yelling at your children? I just happen to have compiled a list of 101 things you can do instead of losing it.
- Take a deep breath and think about your end goal. You’re raising a thinker, not a follower.
- Count to 10. Or 20. Or 100. Whatever it takes to tame your temper.
- Sing what you’d like to yell. Make it as silly as possible. You’ll find your kids suddenly paying attention to what you’re asking them to do and joining in the fun.
- Step into another room and drink a glass of water or tea.
- Take a mommy time out and allow yourself time to feel angry or hurt and work through those feelings.
- Institute a 10-minute independent play time in each kid’s bedroom.
- Let your kids loose outside with sidewalk chalk. While they’re drawing, sit back and relax in the sun and soak up some vitamin D.
- If someone else is home to be responsible for the kids, go for a jog or walk around the neighborhood. It’s a great stress reliever.
- Get out of the house and enjoy coffee and free Wi-Fi at Starbucks or another local coffee shop.
- Call a friend and meet for milkshakes or ice cream. Chat it up and laugh.
- Give the kids crayons and paper and ask them to draw what they’re feeling. Draw what you’re feeling along with them.
- Let the tears flow and feel the cathartic healing.
- Fill the tub and enjoy a quiet candlelit bath.
- Close your eyes and slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Be intentional about your breathing. Feel the rhythm and notice yourself calming down.
- Pop in a yoga video and stretch it out.
- Calmly tell your kids, in words they’ll understand, what you’re feeling and that you’re working through those feelings. You might even ask them if they can think of a way to help you.
- Take a minute to remember how old your children are and ask yourself if your expectations are appropriate for them or if they’re too high based on their capability.
- Get down on your child’s level and use simple words to repeat your request.
- Just stop. You are an adult, and you need to model how to be in control of your actions. If you can’t be in control of your actions, how can you expect your child to learn to be in control of their actions.
- Rehearse how you will handle those explosion situations before it happens.
- Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy foods, exercise regularly and spend time with God or in meditation.
- Get plenty of time alone, without your kids. Go on a date with your significant other, get together with friends or just lock yourself in your bedroom.
- Assess whether your child is hungry, tired, anxious or lonely. Make sure that their basic needs have been met.
- Assess whether you are hungry, tired, anxious or lonely. Make sure that your basic needs are met.
- Realize that you can only control your behavior or actions, not your child’s. You can only guide them.
- Journal about your thoughts and feelings. Put your sadness or anger on paper. Then leave it there and deal with the situation effectively.
- Read your Bible or another favorite book.
- Tell your spouse how you’re feeling and lean on them for support.
- Call a good friend and ask for support and encouragement in changing how you react to frustrating situations.
- Do your taxes. I know, totally not fun but it requires focus.
- Go to your happy place, wherever that may be for you.
- Take a step back for a minute and evaluate the situation. Is this something that will matter tomorrow? Or next week? Or next year?
- Tell your child something that you love about them.
- Just laugh. It’s a great tension breaker.
- Remember, there’s a big difference between being firm and yelling. Make a choice to be firm but respectful.
- Remember how it feels when you’re yelled at, and resolve not to make your children feel that way.
- Hand wash dishes. For me, it’s very therapeutic. Just allow yourself to get lost in the bubbles.
- Pray. Ask God for healing and calmness.
- Write your own list of 10 things that help you calm down. Hang it on your bathroom mirror or in another noticeable place so you’ll see if often.
- Recite the serenity prayer – the whole thing.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time,
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.
aking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it,
So I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with you forever in the next.
- Remember that Mary Poppins song “I Love to Laugh”? Laugh loud and long. See if you can get your child to join in.
- Begin planning and preparing the next meal for your family rather than engaging.
- Remember that you can end a yelling match at any time. Just stop.
- Pull out those memory-filled pictures of when your child was first born and remember the unconditional love that immediately engulfed you when you first met your precious little one.
- Are you still breastfeeding a little one? Take a nursing break and allow those wonderful hormones to do what they do best.
- Go outside and tend to your garden.
- Go shovel snow from the sidewalks and driveway. Your dog will thank you profusely.
- Clean out the fridge.
- Take the dog for a nice, long, kid-free walk.
- Did I mention you could pray?
- Clean your gutters. Just do it carefully. No falling.
- Wash all of the windows. If you’re like me, the last time you did so was…well, too long ago to know.
- “Catch up on your correspondence”, a la Rachel from Friends in the episode when Ross drinks the fat.
- Start a Gilmore Girls marathon.
- Spritz my Room and Linen Spray in the room and enjoy the sweet aroma of Butt Naked.
- Fix your hair, pretty up your makeup, put on an outfit that makes you feel like a million bucks and feel good just being you.
- Give the dog a bath. You’ll be so flustered and worn out after that, you won’t have the energy to yell.
- Raid the fridge and find something, anything, that can be chopped. Finely. And a lot.
- Use that hammer-looking thingy to tenderize meat for tonight’s dinner.
- Need garlic? Do the Rachel Ray and put a chef’s knife over the garlic and then give it a good whack or two. Not sure what I mean? Please Google for a video before trying this one. My liability insurance doesn’t cover vengeful knives.
- Throw in a load of laundry with my eco-friendly, deliciously yummy laundry detergent.
- Get outside and kick the soccer ball around.
- Use a walking lawnmower to mow the lawn.
- Weed eat the lawn. Feel the heat on your arms and back and sweat it out.
- Re-oranize your closet. Group things by type, i.e. shirts, pants, dresses, or by color.
- Tackle that dreaded basket of socks that you need to fold. Yes, I know about your sock basket. The Housewife knows all.
- Take time out to make the fabric softener recipe on my website.
- Play a little Angry Birds on your smart phone or iPad.
- Catch up on your coupon clipping and filing, or go through your coupon binder to make sure there aren’t any expired coupons.
- Clean out the pantry and get together a box of non-perishables to donate to a local charity or food pantry.
- Did I mention you should pray?
- Give yourself a mini-facial with my fabulously creamy Oatmeal and Shea Butter Sugar Scrub.
- Clean out your kid’s toys and put together a box to donate to a local charity.
- Watch an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Let your kid watch with you and you’ll both be laughing.
- Read 1984. Just a few pages will give you a whole new appreciate and love for your life.
- Fold that never-ending pile of laundry sitting in the floor, on the couch or on the bed.
- Make no-bake cookies for your mom. Okay, maybe my mom paid me to put that on the list.
- Waste some time playing whatever-the-newest-Facebook-fad-game-is.
- Scrub the kitchen floor with the offending child’s toothbrush. No, you can’t put it back in the bathroom after. Yes, you have to throw it in the trash and give them a brand spankin’ new toothbrush.
- Catch up on some scrap booking.
- Count your Dalmatian’s spots. Or maybe it’s only me that has a Dalmatian in the house. If you don’t have one, watch 101 Dalmatians and count spots. You’ll quickly forget that you’re angry. You’ll also quickly forget how many spots you’ve counted so far and throw in the towel.
- Watch your wedding video or look at your wedding pictures and relive that antsy, in-love feeling.
- Count the stars in the sky and marvel at Christ’s amazing creation. Then realize that your child is one of His amazing creations and is just as awe-inspiring as the universe is.
- Paint your fingernails and toenails. If you have a daughter, paint hers too and enjoy the girl time.
- If it’s close to bed time, ask your hubby to handle getting the kids to bed and let you go to bed early.
- Go for a swim.
- Go to the gym and work all that aggression off. Bonus points if your gym has a kickboxing class you can join.
- Take a minute to leave feedback on my reviews tab on Facebook. Hey, a Housewife can dream, can’t she?
- Start writing and addressing your Christmas cards.
- Call a sitter and whisk your husband away for a quiet date night.
- Indulge in your favorite sweet (or savory) treat.
- Did I mention you could pray?
- Turn on the Wii Fit and bust out a new high score on Rhythm Boxing.
- Spend some time kneading homemade bread.
- Ask your husband for a little shoulder massage to help you relieve tension.
- Browse the yummy recipes on my blog and choose one to try.
- Snuggle up next to your little one and take a nap. Enjoy the closeness and peaceful serenity.
- Pot (or re-pot) a plant. Unless you’re like me and have a black thumb.
- Play a rousing game of Candyland with your little ones.
- Sing 99 Bottles of Root Beer On the Wall for as long as it takes.
- Re-read this list. That should take long enough to make you forget why you were so angry in the first place.