24 answers

Help, I Yell Too Much

So here is my question, I have a 5 year old little girl who never listens to me. It seems the only way to get her to respond is to yell. I can tell her over and over again to do something but she wont respond until I yell. Last night she came to me in the middle fo the night crying because she thinks she's a bad kid, and doesn't want to be! Help! We talked about how she isn't a bad kid, she just needs to listen more, which she agrees to when she is calm, but she is very stubborn and if I tell her to do something she doesn't want to, then its like the whole discussion about listening goes out the window.

We are extreamly busy, and sometimes that just can't be helped, and I understand that can be a part of the problem, but cirumstances are not going to change anytime soon. I want to be able to tell her to do something and it not turn into a yelling match. She refuses to sit in time out, she will arch her back and run off the seat or stairs or wherever we have tried to put her. So what have you other moms found helpful? any tricks to getting kids to listen?

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Consequences. Take her favorite things away when she does not listen until she does. As for not staying in timeout... I have had to resort to a "baby crib" with my children and the kids I watch when they do not want to do as I have asked. The baby crib is simply a pack-n-play. They don't like the idea of being a baby so when told that if they don't behave, they will be put in the crib like a baby, they usually respond. It's better than them throwing a fit and running around the house teaching the younger ones how to get out of it. Good Luck hun!

I loved Love & Logic, but it doesn't seem to have a fix for my sons' problem. They tune us out completely! They don't hear me if I don't yell. I ask them nicely to do something, and even if they're looking at me, it just doesn't register. AFter 4 tries, I get upset and yell it, and then their eyes seem to open, and suddenly they can hear me, and they act like, "well, why didn't you just say so in the first place?"

But I hate it.

I use Love & Logic for other things, though.

I'm glad you asked. I've been meaning to do it myself!

I just wanted to say that I'm glad you posted this. I really needed to hear all of the suggestions you got also. Thanks everyone! I really like the chore chart idea with stars and X's.

More Answers

It can sure be tough, can't it! I have a tendancy to be a yeller too, and have made a concerted effort to try and keep cool. One thing that has helped the most is 'natural consequences' or Love and Logic.

If she won't pick up her things by XX time, she loses them. They go in the trash. If she can't take care of her things, then she doesn't deserve them.

She doesn't clear her dishes from the table, she doesn't get anything more to eat. She doesn't get dressed in the morning, then she goes in PJs, undies or whatever she has on.

She fights over something, she loses it. She doesn't finish a chore, a friend will and SHE'LL have to pay with a toy or her own money.

Be calm, explain that you don't want to yell, and now you won't. But it will be hard for her to learn the new world order, so to speak. You'll work together.

If she can't play nicely somewhere or starts to sass, you leave.

As an aside, my DD has lost nearly everything in her room several times and DS lost his door (yes, the door to his room) when he wouldn't stop playing with it. GL!

3 moms found this helpful

Hi A.,

I recommend the book Kids Are Worth It by Barbara Coloroso ... it's excellent. I was never a huge fan of time out. I used it some, but it was usually so I did lose my mind in the process of figuring out how to deal with something. My best suggestion is to make the punishment fit the crime. If she won't get dressed for school, church, whatever, take her "as is". I've done it and it works. If she won't pick up her toys, you do it, but now they belong to you until she demonstrates she's responsible enough to pick up after herself. If she won't wash her hands before dinner ... no dinner until she does. Her room is messy, no guests, no playmates. You only wash the clothes that make it into the hamper. You can do this! It takes a little practice and a little patience, but it works. Nothing is 100%, but this very effective and you are teaching responsibility.

Best wishes,
L.

1 mom found this helpful

Ooooooh.
I grew up with yelling parents and it did a LOT of damage to me. Do whatever it takes to stop yelling. Kids absorb everything as their fault. She's only 5. A lot of this is age-typical behavior. I second the "Parenting With Love and Logic" book. Yelling doesn't get you anywhere. It makes your kids scared of you and damages their self-esteem. I refuse to resort to yelling because I know how bad it made me feel as a kid. Believe me I get pretty frustrated at times but I regain my self control and remember that yelling just makes the situation worse. Sometimes I even whisper when I feel like yelling. One thing to bear in mind is that your kids won't listen unless you ALWAYS do what you say you'll do to follow up. I wish you good luck. Parenting is so hard!

1 mom found this helpful

I'd stick with the timeouts... they really do work. Ever seen SuperNanny? For the kid who won't stay in time out (they do it to test you and see how far they can push you) you just keep putting them back there. With our daughter we tell her why she's getting a time out and then tell her she has to sit on her timeout mat until we come get her (she stays for 1 minute for every year of her age). If she gets up we SILENTLY get her and put her back in time out and her time starts over. You keep repeating the process until she stays for her entire time out without getting up. Silent is key... any attention (eye contact, yelling, re-explaining, any talking at all) is desirable to a kid, so silently replacing then is far more effective. You have to be consistent and actually go get her and return her to time out or she's think they don't mean anything and that you don't really mean it when you give her one. It could take an hour to get her to sit through her first time out, but it will be worth it once she does. Use time outs to replace the need to yell. Also, when you're asking her to do something get on eye level with her, say her name and then make you request. If she refuses warn her that she'll get a time out for not listening and request again. If she still refuses follow through with the time out and when time out is over she needs to correct the behavior that earned her the time out, which means doing what you asked her to... even it takes an hour to get through time out.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A., I've found great success with the book 123 Magic....WHEN IVE USED IT. The basic premise is that you don't get worked up, which of course is easier said than done with the little ones. Anyways, in your situation, you'd tell her once, then count her calmly, "That's 1, that's 2, That's 3 you need to have a time out" You mentioned that the time out seat or spot doesn't work for you and I agree, my four year old turns it into a game, so instead of her having a time out, she loses a valued posession for 1 day. Now, she listens on 1 or 2. I highly recommend you read the book because of the psychology explained in it, but that is a brief synopsis.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with putting back in time out. I have to do that a lot because I don't have a good listener either. The other things I do are putting toys in time out and not just because he didn't pick them up. I do it with the favorite toys that will be missed and he has to earn them back.

I also do a reward chart and one of the things is being a good listener. He gets dots and can spend them on toys. If he earns a dot for something and immediately changes his behavior to negative eg one for listening but then totally ignores me, the dot gets crossed out. To him that is the worst thing that could happen and he usually corrects his behavior so I will reconsider crossing out the dot.

We also do time outs in his room if he is throwing a fit. It may not seem like punishment since he has toys there but he gets lonely and wants to come out and is also mad that we sent him there rather than it being his choice. We ignore him yelling until he is calmed down and then tell him he can play elsewhere in the house again. We then talk about why he had to go to his room and didn't get the attention he wanted.

I was a single mom for 4 years and I know it's hard. Alot of the problem has been transitions since we were so busy. A five minute then two minute warning has helped immensely.

1 mom found this helpful

First of all, realize that there is not going to be a "magic fix." You've spent years getting into this pattern, it's not going to changed over night, so pick your method and committ to stick with it for at least 3 months to give it a chance to work.

Pick your battles. If it's something that isn't a big deal, let it go. Time outs (and other discipline) loose effectiveness when over-used.

Here's what I do with my kids. I ask them to do something. If they don't listen or they decide to not obey, I give them a warning and start counting down. Like "If I get to 0 before you do ____ you'll loose ____" (a priviledge they enjoy). Sometimes I'll start at 5, more often now at 3 since they are used to it.
Here's the big thing, though. You MUST follow through. There's no halves or quarters when counting - just 3,2,1,0. And then enforce the consequence. I've taken away toys, games, t.v. priviledges, etc. The kids now know that I mean business and they generally will cooperate.

Use timeouts for behavior that you need to stop right away, like hitting, yelling, etc. Give her the warning. "You need to stop right now. If I get to 0 there will be a time out." Count fairly quickly. When she gets a time out, you're going to have to sit with her and make sure she stays. For most kids, putting them back in the timeout spot and starting over the timer is the best strategy. (I have one very difficult child who I've had to physically hold in timeout till he stopped screaming/fighting me, but that's an extreme case). Be prepared to spend an hour on a 5 minute time out at first. Just take her back to the spot and tell her that the time is starting over and she can't get up until the timer goes off (use a kitchen timer for timeouts!).

Stick with it. At first, things might feel worse. She's testing her limits. But once she realizes you mean business, she will begin to cooperate better. Be calm yourself. We tend to yell when we get frustrated or impatient, and then she knows she's pushed your buttons! (Payoff for her!). If you need to take a deep breath or two to keep from yelling, do it. Even in front of her, if you're right there. She will see that she can't push your buttons any more. And, once you have it implemented and going, it won't be so difficult to use the same strategy with your younger girl when she starts testing her limits.

1 mom found this helpful

What works well for me is a countdown with a clear consequence, similar to what another poster mentioned. I say something like "if you don't sit down and eat, I'm going to take your dish away and clean up. 5...4...3...2.." If she doesn't do it by the time I reach zero, I follow the consequence. It works really well. In the parking lot, I say "hold my hand please or I have to carry you. 5, 4..." The less patient I am the faster I count. My DD knows when she hears counting that I'm serious and the consequence is coming. I think otherwise, it is hard for her to tell the difference between a request (could you please pick up your blocks) and a rule like pick up blocks before bed. Good luck and I hope you find something that works for you.

1 mom found this helpful

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