Help Me Stop the Yelling

Updated on March 01, 2012
K.S. asks from Huntington Beach, CA
19 answers

Help! My 2 year old knows EXACTLY what button to push to make me start yelling. I once again lost it in the car on the way to the oldest kids' drop off. This of course was proceeded by her waking me up (again) around 4:45, 5:00, 5:20, 5:35 (dog needed to go out at 5:49) and then she finally got up asking for breakfast at 6:00 followed by the fight to get clothes off and on and into the car. She's in that "me do it" phase that I know will pass and it's good that she learns to do all of these things cause I do not plan on dressing her forever. She’s also developing her language which most times I can understand and I know she’s frustrated because she knows what she wants BUT...OMG!

Yes, I know how much harm/damage/going to need therapy this is causing. Believe me, I cry about an hour later (or if I’m already at work sometimes I have to wait until after they've gone to bed) because I'm a horrible, non perfect, human parent that should have more patience, blah blah blah.

So what do you do when you’re little one pushes your buttons? Count to 10 in 10 different languages? Refuse to let them do anything until they’re 8 so you can reason with them? My husband helps out big time, in fact he’s a LOT calmer with her, but sometimes even he loses his cool with her.

Thanks for letting me rant and rave.

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for the book recommendations, I'll have to check them out!

I really tried to start implementing it this morning...of course of all mornings my husband decided to play with the kids then get himself ready and then leave to work on his day off! The baby went through 3 different outfits, 3 breakfasts and then spilled her milk all over the coffee table, all while my oldest repeated “mom, mom, mom” about 1300 times. You guessed it, I lost it but only for about 5 seconds and then apologized and said the reasons I was mad.

When we got to the first stop, and I was calm, I told the kids that mommy does not like to yell and that it makes me sad. The baby said "me too" and my oldest said that it scares her. Trying not to cry, we all made a promise to listen better to mommy and mommy not to yell. It was all very Oprah/Dr. Phil.

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answers from San Francisco on

We all yell. Well most of us anyway. I know this may sound extreme to some, but to keep things in perspective when my little guy is pushing my buttons? I think of my friend who lost her little girl to cancer at age 3. It makes me realize this is but a small moment in time, breathe.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Collins on

We just started a "scream jar" when someone yells they have to put a coin in the jar. The kids hate to give up their allowance to the jar and I feel bad when the kids remind me to put a coin in the jar, so it works really well.

We even got daddy to get on board and the first week the jar filled fast, but it has slowed way down and the house is much more peaceful.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

I use to work with a woman who yelled at her kids all the time. One day she said something about yelling all the time and I said "And they stop the minute you yell?" "No" "Well then I guess talking louder isn't working huh." It was like a light bulb went on over her head.

Yelling doesn't work. The cause isn't anything that your daughter is or isn't doing; it's the stress being caused by a situation you feel you need to control. Your daughter is 2. She's not waking up every morning and thinking "What can I do today to piss my mom off?"

You need to take a step back and regroup yourself before lashing out at your daughter. While she has words and a me do attitude right now please remember that she's really just a baby. You need to guide her along not bully her. I explained it to my daughter as little ones are like strangers in a strange land. You have to teach them the rules, customs, and expectations.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

This is my "Lenten Promise" this year... curb the yelling and "tone" in my voice. My soon-to-be 4 yr old is quite bright and articulate, so he talks constantly... about everything... asking a million questions, but not listening to a single answer. As a psychologist, I know that it's developmentally appropriate... as his mother, there are days that I want to tie him up by his toenails!

I put myself in "Time Out". Seriously. When I find myself about to "snap", I tell my son that I need a minute to "pull it together" and then I can talk to him. This is the same language we use with him when we see him getting frustrated. We ask him to have a seat in another room (not a punishment) and "pull it together" so we can talk without yelling. It works pretty well for us.

Walk away from her and tell her that you are getting frustrated. When you're calm (and she's calm), talk about it. It's so hard, but at the same time, it's a great skill to teach your child now!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

The first step in stopping reacting to button pushing is to acknowledge that is what is happening. You've taken the first step.

The second step is to change the way you think. You're upset because she wakes you up, refuses to let you dress her, dawdles, etc. When those things happen, instead of getting upset, remind yourself as you did in this message, that this is a developmental stage and will pass.

Along with the second step is reminding yourself that she's not pushing your buttons on purpose. She doesn't like for you to yell. If she were able to reason she would not be pushing your buttons.

It helps me to actually say outloud inside my head that we're doing OK. I can hold my temper. She's not doing this on purpose and then go on to asking myself what does she need at this moment.

I then plan to allow enough time for her to dress herself in the ways that she's able. I plan for her to have as many choices as are possible. For example let her choose between two outfits which one she'll wear. Let her choose which arm she wants put into the top first. Keep up a running patter that gives her choices and also distracts her.

Then when your first instinct is to yell, stop yourself. Do whatever you need to do to not respond. For me, it's sometimes to walk away and come back to it later. Other times it's to nearly literally bite my tongue while I tell myself to stop.

What is most important in these situations is to accept yourself as a human being who will lose it from time to time. It doesn't make you a bad mother. You recognize the problem and you want to change it. That makes you an exceptionally good mother.

My daughter and I pushed each others buttons well into adulthood. That is when I had to really work on getting rid of my buttons. Above is how I did it once she was an adult. It did take time and focus. It took my consciously accepting myself and her as we were. And most of all believing that there was a way out; that she wanted this to stop as much as I did.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Medford on

We used to have our daughter pull her "good tude (attitude)" out of her pocket when she was just being terrible 2. she would wipe it on her cheek. That always kind of relieved the tention and got her refocused.

Well, then came the day that I realized I was "just like my mom" and I was yelling, a lot! I turned the little "good tude" game on myself. I gave my daughter "mommy's calm voice" to keep in her pocket and give it to mommy when I was yelling. As embarrassing as it was to have her reach in her pocket and hand me my "calm voice" it really worked. it helped me recognize when I was getting to a point where my words were not usefull and I needed to calm down. It was silly and stupid and made me feel terrible, but it helped keep me in check. Eventually, I learned to calm myself before she reached into her pocket. :)

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answers from Chicago on

First off, breathe.

Second, I am/have been a yeller too. I realize this is a CHOICE. You can't blame anyone, especially a young child because you are yelling. Yes, they know how to push our buttons. But we are the adults here.

Third, instead of yelling SHUT UP. Don't talk to her. Don't look at her. Ignore her if she's being rude, simply tell her, "Be nice. No yelling/hitting Mommy."

Finally, you need to do things to plan for her tantrums and time-consuming toddler behavior. Yes, she's independent. Instead of fighting it, help her to be successful! Lay out clothes the night before and DO NOT let her change it the next day. That will help her to get dressed and done.

It sounds to me like she's tired and tantrumming. I understand kids wake up early, but if she's been up since 4:45am then something's going on.

What time does she go to bed? Is she eating well? Sleeping well otherwise? Getting enough sleep? Taking a nap?

As I started telling you, I am/have been a yeller. I am taking control of that. I give my grade school aged kids warnings of consequences for their behavior instead of yelling. And with my little toddler, I have been rarely yelling. Even when I'm being hit, kicked at during a diaper change, etc. I WILL walk away, I will hold hitting hands and feet until they are still or I will put him in his room to calm down and ask him to apologize before coming out.

Yelling is a CHOICE. Be the adult and stay calm. Do not put energy into bad behavior. Keep your voice low, to an almost whisper, and let her know she's being "not nice". You can do this!!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I once had a similar problem.

Here's what you need to do:

Get all of her things ready the night before.
Wake up 30 minutes earlier.
Get yourself completely ready (as in shoes on, purse and coat right by the door).
And THEN focus on helping her learn to get ready.

You simply cannot maintain your patience if you aren't ready, are trying to finish, AND are trying to get her ready.

So give yourself extra time to be patient. Even if you have to go to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier.

Trust works. Getting up earlier + not running behind = much more patience and no yelling. Give it a try.

ETA: Also, she really has no business getting up so early. I suggest that you lock her door at night. She needs to stay in her bed.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Just want you to know most of us struggle with this. This is what I'm doing. I'm realizing that yelling is what I do to release frustration. It makes ME feel better (initially). Therefore, it is selfish. Add to that, if you yell, your kids will yell at you too. So its a selfish need for release that leads to bad behavior from my own kid. Now when I want to yell I imagine what I will feel like when my kids yell at me. And suddenly it doesn't feel as good to yell. Also make a promise to apologize every time you do it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It's not easy being a parent! I have a friend that would fall into the "yeller" category. In my observations I think that she doesn't realize how a four year-old thinks and she tries to bring him up to her level instead of going down to his. One day she called me pretty worked up. I asked what happened. She told her son to take the toys out of the tub. So when she went into the bathroom to find the toys right beside the tub, she freaked out. She went onto say that he never listens then it turned into her being upset and him crying. I explained to her that she didn't complete the instructions, which should have been take the toys out of the tub and put them in your room. My husband has a hard time to, and they are very much a like, my friend and him. They like order and predictability...two things that young children do not have. My kids rarely push my buttons because I expect them to. That's what they do. That's simply how it is.

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answers from New York on

Oh moma:). I so feel your pain!!!! My two yo does the same thing - she does not listen, climbs on everything, has started yelling,hitting& stomping her feet. Plus like you ( I think) she is the 3rd soooooo... My attention is divided w dealing with my 3.5 yo twins, getting ready for school, errands etc. I just read this book" stop reacting & start responding " by Sharon silver. It's amazing. It give concrete reasons why fights escalate & how to get out of power struggles. It's really short & direct little 2 page chapters that u can read & apply immediately- I think it was a $12 download. Try it - it really helped me;). Good luck & hang in there!!!!

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answers from New York on

The Secret. You can find free lessons on the web. Just type in "the secret free lessons." You really don't need to buy any of the stuff they try to sell, but just listen to the ideas they have. Knowing the principals are just enough. It's just a different way of looking at life and learning how to open up your mind rather than reacting.

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answers from St. Louis on

I don't think you are damaging her. I have lost my temper with my kids for no reason other than buttons. I always apologize to them. I am human, they are human, I expect them to apologize when they lose their temper I do so as well.

The biggest thing is walk away. If she wants to dress herself let her. When she figures out she needs help she will come to you. Then you are not arguing.

With the language, pause before you answer. We are preconditioned to always respond quickly but when you are dealing with a toddler, stop and think what she is saying, if you can't figure it out ask her to point or show you. The idea is to slow the process down so you are not butting heads.

The other thing I learned with my oldest daughter is I am the grown up. We are too much alike and when we butt heads neither of us will naturally back down. I am the grown up, I walk away. She is almost 22, this summer should be interesting when she graduates. :s

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answers from New York on

First, don't beat yourself up about it.... As mommas we try to be perfect but we are only human. Second, remember that your dd is so so incredibly young. We feel sometimes "they are trying to push my buttons" or they are "acting out" and while they may be testing, they don't know any better but to act a certain way, and as Mommies we are teaching them how to behave. Remind yourself that when she sees you lose your cool, she will emulate that behavior herself. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that she will be out of this phase before you know it, and simply remain calm and don't allow yourself to crack under the pressure. It is sososo much easier said than done, but when we are calm and unshakeable, it impacts their behavior in a positive way. I come from this place of zen because I have a 14yo and a 3yo, and I know how precious and fleeting these years can be. It seems like just yesterday my 14yo was the one on my hip, and now she is my size! Good luck Momma!

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answers from New York on

You've gotten a lot of good responses re: yelling, time outs, patience, inside voice etc. As for the early rising, you can try to retool her hours. The Dr. Ferber book will point you in the right direction. Make sure you don't inadvertently reinforce a too early wake up by making it too attractive.

good luck to you and yours.

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answers from New York on

First of all ALWAYS expect her to act like a two yr old.
Never expect her to respond to logic.
Read the book Happiest Toddler on the Block. This will help you understand each stage she goes through and how best to deal with it.
Then remember yelling is not really a punishment or discipline method, yelling will not phase her, Yelling is just a way of life to her, she may actually like the interaction.
Read 1,2,3 Magic. and remember when disciplining or dealing with
problems the less you talk/respond/yell/give attention the better. All attention comes from good behavior and good times. Not listening to Mommy results in Time out and NO interaction with Mom

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answers from Washington DC on

LMAO we all lose it sometimes because, frankly, we don't slow down enough to see it from their perspective. Until recently mine WOULDNOT go to sleep until WAY late at night then be up between 4-5 causing me to be crankier then need be. Now I roll out of bed complain to myself about how much I hate mornings and by the time I get the kids up I am happier, the secret-ROUTINE. I've created a routine that is manageable to me and encompasses all I need to get accomplished without driving myself crazy. If she is an early bird you might wanna pick out clothes the night before, get small Tupperware containers that you can fill with cereal and set them out before going to bed. Get her in the habit of getting herself dressed when she gets up and let her eat her “breakfast snack” in her room.

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answers from San Francisco on

The one thing I've learned is that if you yell at your kids, they only listen when you yell. I do a lot of deep breathing and yes counting to 10. Then I try to remind myself that she's still learning - I can't expect her to know certain things and I can't expect her to do them perfectly. All I can expect is that she will try.

Your kids are probably already into the "we don't need to respond until she yells, because she doesn't really mean it until she yells" frame of mind. Try changing that up - talking softly so they have to strain to hear you. Just like when you yell, if they don't respond, implement a consequence. Soon they will realize that you really do mean it even if you're not yelling and they will start to respond to you without you having to yell.

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answers from Phoenix on

Get this book "She's gonna blow!" by Barnhill. Good luck!

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