What Happens When Parents Yell at Children

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An interview with Dr. Laura Markham

After I conducted this insightful interview about what happens when parents yell at their children, I promptly ignored all of Dr. Laura Markham’s practical advice. In fact, it took a couple of “opportunities” for me to pause, and put her guidance into practice. Once I did, something magical happened. My kids responded so positively, creating a more peaceful and respectful environment. Her wisdom, put into action, works. — Laurel Moglen, TMC, Managing Web Editor

Sometimes we feel like kids don’t pay attention until we yell — is that an effective way to get their attention?

Parents should consider that when they yell, they’re training their children they aren’t serious until they raise their voices.

For example:

Imagine your child is playing with his legos. You’re in another room, and call out, “Your bath is ready; please get in!” He ignores you. You remind him, and your voice gets sharper. He doesn’t respond. Now, aggravated, you yell and storm about, “How many times do I have to ask you to do something before you listen?!” By the third time your child realizes you’re serious.

This scenario can be avoided. Instead of parents working themselves into a frenzy, they need to take the time to handle the situation differently. This can be tough, especially after a long or rough day. But, the time parents take to ease their children into doing something they don’t want to do is well worth the effort. The alternative, struggling to get your child to do something, is a longer, more arduous process, and causes more stress for both parent and child.

So, instead, parents need to walk over, touch their child gently on the arm, (hand or leg, etc.) and say, “Wow – look what you’re doing.” Now the parent is taking an interest. Meanwhile, your child is basking in your love and feeling that you’re really noticing them. The connection he/she’s feeling to you initiates the biological system that is normal and natural between parent and child, creating that tight bond. In fact, this is what keeps the human race going. If kids feel parents have their best interest at heart (and paying attention sure makes them feel like you do), the child is willing to follow their parent.

Next, after a couple of minutes of really noticing your child’s project, you can say calmly, “Hey, I really need your attention right now. It’s time to take a bath.”

Your child might groan.

You say, “I know. It’s hard to stop what you’re doing.” (You’re showing empathy.)

If you’ve carved out enough time for the child to have some wiggle room you can say, “Do you want to take a bath right now or in five minutes?” Your child says, “In five minutes.” That’s an agreement to take a bath, even if he’s delaying it for a few minutes. You say, “Okay, five minutes. But I want to make sure we have a deal. Five minutes and no fuss?” Your child agrees. You say “It might still be hard for you in five minutes…How can we make this work for you?”

Your child might say “Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll be ready to take my bath then.” Or your child may not have any ideas, in which case the parent can say “How about this? In five minutes, we’ll work together to put the lego vehicles you’ve finished up on the shelf and the rest back in the bin. Will you want to fly one of them up to the bathroom?” You’re helping him see the transition ahead, and making clear that this is really going to happen. Then you smile and say, “Okay, shake on it.”

In five minutes, you go back and notice the progress the child has made. You say, “I know it’s hard, but we said five minutes and no fuss. You can do this tomorrow. Now, it’s bath time. Come on, let’s fly this one up to the bathroom!” You start walking with him.

Again, taking this route of communication/discipline takes more effort than blowing your top. But once you use this practice consistently with your kids, after about two months, they’ll just sigh and comply.

Another bonus is the child develops self-discipline. Every time he forgoes what he wants to do in favor of what you want him to do, your child is exercising his prefrontal cortex. That’s the part of his/her brain that gives him the ability to give up what he/she wants for something that’s more important to him/her. That’s the beginning of self-discipline so that he/she can choose to do homework instead of surfing the web when he gets a bit older. She/He’s also learning to want to cooperate.

Can you take us inside a kid’s head — what is s/he experiencing when their parent or primary caregiver yells at them?

When you get yelled at, how does it feel? It’s likely hard to breathe, you might feel flush, a tingling. Humans, when yelled or screamed at, tend to go into a fight, flight, or freeze mode.

When kids go into a fight, flight, or freeze mode, their learning and ability to absorb information shuts down.

Now, picture being a kid and looking up at someone who is four times your size. This person that’s glaring down at you is someone, who without them, you would die. You know, on some level, that your survival depends on this person. You will apologize or do whatever you need to do to make this person stop yelling.

Some children will give up if they’ve been yelled at too much. They learn to harden their heart to you because their trusted bond to their parent is broken. Once that happens the child will no longer try to please you. This is the child that will likely grow into a troubled teenager and possibly adult as well.

What happens inside a parent, when they lose control and yell?

When parents experience something unbearable again, like your child has peed on the floor, or hit the baby, or didn’t clean up her room when you asked her to — parents bump up against their threshold. Then, many parents go into this cascade of worry and anger. Every little dark spot in our lives gets blown up and exacerbated in our minds, and we go into survival mode. The mental gymnastics begin: I have a terrible child; I must be a terrible mother. Our sense of self is in peril, and we go into a fight, flight, or freeze mode.

If we go into fight mode, we become enraged and we do what every other mammal does, we lash out — yelling, hitting, or dragging a child to the time-out. (Dogs growl and bark.)

After we’ve exploded, we feel as if, okay, at least we’ve done something.

But what would happen if we didn’t freak-out?

What if we stopped, took a deep breath, and recognized our feelings. Maybe you say something to shift your thinking: She’s three. She won’t do this when she’s six. She’s acting like a three-year-old because she is a three year old. Take a moment to ask yourself, is this an emergency? Most likely the answer will be “no.”

So instead, you might say, “Wow, you peed on the floor. What happened? Let’s go into the bathroom. That’s where pee goes. Soon you’ll be able to do this. Let’s go clean up the pee.”

At the end of this, what does he/she want to do? He/she wants to use the toilet. He/she also feels close to you.

Yelling makes us feel temporarily better. It can also be addictive because it actually helps us squash our painful feelings down (like eating when nervous). But if you actually take a moment to experience your emotions, the feelings will dissipate.

Parents need to go under their anger to find out what the true source feeling is, and this takes practice. You can let the feelings flood you. You’ll likely feel a wave of disappointment and/or sadness. Lots of different emotions and images come up. Typically, the source feelings under anger are fear, disappointment, or sadness. Breathe your way through them. This will help them dissolve, and you won’t dump them on your child.

What kind of effect does yelling have on the parent-child relationship?

Your kids lose respect for you. They decide you aren’t on their side so they’re less likely to follow your guidance.

Also, when you yell, you model that yelling is how adults handle frustration and resolve conflict. When they want to feel more in control and grown-up, they will do it by yelling. Yelling trains children to yell back.

Additionally, when you yell, you’re foisting your yucky feelings on your child. That’s an irresponsible thing to do, it’s not in the child’s best interest, and it doesn’t help the child change their behavior anyway.

Is there any benefit for parents to yell into a pillow or something? Is there something about yelling that can be helpful?

No, not really. When you hit a pillow or yell into it, you are convincing yourself and your body that there’s an emergency.

A note: It’s never useful to work something out with someone when you’re angry. If you do get to your boiling point with your child, tell her you need to take a time-out, because you feel too angry to communicate respectfully.

If it’s a bedtime issue – work-in some roughhousing before the bath, not right before bedtime so it doesn’t keep your child awake.

If you find you’re screaming too much and exhausting yourself, then you have to start asking questions about how to solve the problem.

Is it okay for parents to warn their kids, “I feel like I’m gonna yell if X,Y, Z doesn’t happen?”

Yes. It’s good. You’re noticing your feelings and describing them. Any time we bring consciousness to our emotional state, it gives us the choice of how to react. Will we take the high road or low road? Recognition of feelings gives us the time to allow us to shift gears.

Also, you’re modeling responsible for anger management. The wisdom is how to deal with it.

For example:

You say, “I’m starting to get really angry. We’re in the car, and you’re noisy. I can’t concentrate, and that’s unsafe while I’m driving.” Then, many parents think with that warning, they get to yell if the behavior doesn’t change. But no. You warned your kids, and you warned yourself. So, let’s say the kids’ behavior doesn’t change.

Especially if you’re driving, you need to pull over. You take some breaths. You turn around and you say, “I stopped the car because I was so upset and it wasn’t safe for me to drive.” Ask your kids, “What can you do so that I can drive safely? My job is to stay calm.” By listening to their suggestions, you teach them about being responsible, and that they have a job to do to make sure everything in the family works.

Note: Your child is never responsible for your actions and feelings. But your child can be empowered knowing they have a huge impact on the people around them. Just like parents, your child can make any dynamic better or worse.

The good news is, the problems we have are usually recurring, so parents get another chance if they didn’t handle the situation as well as they would have liked. Your child will push your buttons again!

A nice ritual for parents is to review the day and ask themselves how they can do it differently next time. It creates emotional muscle memory. Think about the interaction with your child, and imagine yourself handling it more calmly next time. The next opportunity, you’ll build on what you did today.


Laura Markham, Ph.D., is the author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University and has worked as a parenting coach with countless parents across the English-speaking world, both in person and via phone. You can find Dr. Laura online at, the website of Aha! Moments for parents of kids from birth through the teen years, where she offers a free daily inspiration email to parents.

The Mother Company is on a mission to Help Parents Raise Good People. We do this with our children’s Emmy-winning television series, Ruby’s Studio, a series of preschool and early educational picture books, free teacher guides, music and more, all about social and emotional learning, and with TellStella, a digital service that connects parents to parenting experts via text and talk for one-on-one support and guidance around all parenting topics for kids 0-18+

For immediate help with a parenting expert that specializes in positive discipline please click HERE and check out our new online parenting support service, TellStella.


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Comments (116)

  1. anonymous

    I feel like my parents may have yelled at me too much when I was a child (once my mom left me in the grocery store parking lot!). It made me feel much as the article says. I am not and was not as a teenager motivated by yelling. At all. When you feel you can’t stop the yelling no matter what you do, you stop trying because it’s easier. You stop trusting your parents. Worst of all, as you get older you find yourself inheriting their problems and then some.

    I sincerely wish that I could solve these issues but 5 years of expensive therapy and psychiatry later I still have severe issues with anger and depression.

    • anon

      my mom often calls me a lazy fuck, good for nothing or a big ungrateful piece of shit, then starts ranting to me about how im the most fortunate person on earth. im well aware that im lazy and im not good in academics. but whenever i really try my best, shes not seeing it. she just tells me im too lazy to try hard enough. she expects me to study ten hours a day just like me brother did. but the thing is, im not my brother. im not him. and most of all, i dont need to know about her goddamn sadness or agony. all i did was stuff like not wearing my retainers or forgetting to wash my shoes, and this all leads to her saying stuff like “dont ever call me your mother ever again. i dont even want such an ungrateful brat for a child.” and im not even allowed to cry when she calls me hurtful stuff like pig or useless. because im already aware of that, and since shes gonna just ywll at me over every little thing, i just start giving up. why try when no matter what you do, youre just gonna get yelled at, right? i may look like a normal child on the outside, but really, because of my mom, ive even lost what it felt like to have empathy for others. because i simply dont care and i feel like her troubles are irrelevant. and she thinks im irrelevant to, so be it. and she always favours my brother. like yeah i fucking get it, he can cook and shit and i only have talent for drawing. shes never encouraged me to carru on drawing, and she said soending moneu on art materials is a waste of money. she sees me potential and thats it. im sick and tired of this too. and quoted from mom:”do you think i owe you just coz i gave birth to you? YOU should be making me happy, not tje other way round! i dont HAVE to buy things for you, so from now on, dont ask anything from me.”(of course she said that in chinese) seriously ive been hearing the same crap since i was like 9, and im 14 now. im sick and tired. i dont even feel motivated about myself anymore. since im just useless -.-

      • WokeMel

        you’re not useless, honey. Sounds like your mom has some major issues and problems controlling and dealing with anger. I would speak with a school counselor or another family member. This is something that won’t be easily resolved, counseling will be needed. But you just tell yourself “this is my Mom’s issue. I am a worthy, decent person despite her issues.” And you are. Always remember that.

        • khyati sahu

          how can i aviod talking to my parents?
          or interact with tem less? i think thats d best ways to be happy! isnt it?

      • Anonymous

        Tell me about it, I do a small thing, my mom yells like crazy, she might not swear at me but she always says that I am ungrateful if I just reject one little thing or something like that. And I am good in school but she yells at me when I get less that 80% (an A-) In her opinion, I am never good enough and you aren’t the only one who’s parents can be mean to you

        • Anonymous

          I forgot to say that she favours my brother, occaisonally blames me for his actions “you taught him that” FOR THE RECORD, I DIDN’T. She makes me put away his plates but cmon I AM 13 AND I REALLY HATE HER BECAUSE SHE IS MEAN TO ME AND GOES EASY ON MY BROTHER WHO IS ALSO HIGHLY INTELLIGENT

      • Amna

        my parent always scream at me and sometimes hurt me for my flawess and problems and when ever i try to tell them this will lead to be in a depression or have anger porblems they always give stupids reasons that dont make any sense now i feel you and i am 11 now almost evryday this happens to me or to my brother or both of us he is 9 years older than me.

        • Lee

          Yep had same problem as you. Even when i was in primary school, say i prioritised playing vs washing plates like any normal 9 or 10 year old will do,my mom would say things like you are so lazy and useless like donkey poo which we cant even use as manure. The other one is you are so lazy and useless that the only thing you will be good at is what you will do lying down (translation – prostitution). I was repeatedly told such ever since i can remember i think since i was 8 and throughout my teenage years. Just to add i am also quite “slow” in doing things because i am a perfectionist. My aunt, my mum’s young sister, would always praise me for the way i cleaned the house or washed dishes. She was always happy that i am so thorough and that whatever i did an adult would not need to repeat coz i would have done so well. Problem is while it took me say 4 hours to clean a 2 bedroom cottage other people like my cousin sister that is my aunt’s daughter, would take probably half the time. So my mum always used to compare us with words like you should be more like your cousin i prefer working with her she is fast. But then my aunt would be on my defense and say she likes working with me because when i am done no repeat cleaning is required. I thank God i do not bear any grudges with my cousin. And i thank God my aunt was part of my life because i ended up doing my best to please her. I stopped caring about what my mother wanted coz i thought she is never happy with anything and in her eyes am useless so why bother.
          One day when i was 18 i had changed/redesigned my short into a skirt and my mom went crazy. I did not think it was wrong because i had so many shorts and i liked sewing and it was mine. She then saw me wearing it and the insults starts, “how could you do that. This is what happens when your head is full of prostitution. Thats what you will become. You cannot do anything well in the household so how are u going to keep a husband. You are an average student so obviously you will not get a job with your grades” She said lots i was furious and made a vow that i was going to prove her wrong. After high school i did secretarial and i did very well and landed a job in one of the big companies in my country then i got married to a very loving man who puts me on a pedestal every chance he gets. One time my mum had visited and she complained about how slow i was being at that moment and my husband said to her, my wife is very slow at times i have to help but once she cleans the house you dont need to clean for some days. And when my hubby had gone out she started laughing sarcastically about it saying “shame poor man he has gotten used to this he cant see anything wrong.” Now that i am older i do not care what she thinks. Coz now i just tell her calmly with a smile that yes i may be slow but my family gets to work school church sporting events etc on time so we are doing well. I love my mom very much so i am doing my best not to yell at my kids now. I do not call them stupid. The worst i have dished was when i said to my 9 yr old “when you do this you will be acting like a stupid person and you are not stupid. Start behaving like the intelligent boy you are”. I may be wrong but i think it beats calling someone stupid.

      • Yuki

        Omg yes. i know how that feels like. (china mom. or chinese mom. but not all are like that) well, most are. She is saying that as she dont know how to appreciate art, so its ok! Dont give up and continue drawing! Even though you might not like her as much or not like her as well, give her suprises on her birthdays and dont yell at her back. (so you dont be like her ) Talk calmly like a boss and tell her the times that you actually did your best. Smile at her Almost all the time. (cause if its all the time, itll be creeeepy) and say thank you when she cooks and if her food is nice, tell her that its deliciousssss. Im here on this website now because my mom just hit me (eventhough im 14,) and (ok i usually sleep with my parents because im a coward, and afraid of ghosts, but want to be their friend oh god whats going on with me? ) She hit me because im till awake even if its almost 2am, and when i go back to the room, she just yells occasionally, i HATE sudden noises. grrrrrrr… and so i told my mom, “you told me to sleep and you said you want to sleep, but youre still complaining and yelling” She said “its none of your business” and i was like “whaaaaaat???”(in my head.) so i told myself if she complains again, im going to go back to my room. Yeah, i did and here i am. BUUT before i came here, she said next time dont enter my room again!!! In chineeessseee. So im like mmkay but oh wait nooo….. alone. in. my. goddamn. room. at. night. Im so scared noowww.. and more scared if its nearing 3am skfndksjnfkgdnf. im tearing up in my heart….

      • Tyrah

        Please don’t think you are usless. There are many people out there that will see the potential in you. And tell you that you’re fine just the way you are. Your mom is just one in a billion peolpe. Don’t let her opinion hurt you. Forget everything that she has said, and think about how you feel. Do you feel like you’re good enough? Now when thinking about this don’t think about te peolpe who have told you that you aren’t good enough. What do YOU think? It sounds like you’re a really great person and that you ARE good enough. Some peolpe (your mom) are just blinded by anger and stupidity to realize the good in you. This happens alot to me. My mom always decides to focus on the bad instead of the good in me. And I know how much it hurts. But if you learn to accept yourself for who you are and base yourself and your body off of your opinion instead of others, you’ll find yourself alot happier than you were before. So just keep hanging onto what you belive. And remember to Keep Moving Foward!!!

      • Lydia

        We all have talents in different areas. I wish I knew you because I would help to fund your artistic talent. I hope you can see yourself beyond your mother’s eyes, which are clouded over and full of her own issues.
        You are God’s creation and beautiful and talented in your own way.

      • Anonymous

        I agree with you, but it’s sometimes for the smallest things that my mom gets mad at, mostly like a sentence I said that she misunderstood, and that sentence brings her to madness and it reminds her of all the bad memories in her brain, all the time she would bring up how terrible a kid I was when I was a baby, I would get sick all the time and often not eat or sleep. Then she mentions how much trouble she had when she had me, but I understand her troubles during her motherhood, but dude I was a baby I don’t have memories, I certainly don’t have control over my immune system. Anyways, without my mom’s influence, I learned overtime from my good friends that problems can be solved calmly with reasonable conclusions. With my crazy mother yelling and throwing everything near her on the floor, I sometimes really want her to calm down and stop the misunderstanding. After all we want the best of our relationships. Just remember, try not to follow your mother’s bad influence and move on a better anger management, maybe this is why teenagers often hang out with their friends.

      • Anoynomous.

        At this age, People legitimately study 10 hours a day. Don’t be surprised.

    • Jen

      I agree with you, personally I suggest that if your mom is really a bad influence on you, seek help to others who care about you, such as best friends, other family relatives, or even counselor. Learn to control your anger if possible and try not to provoke your mother, other wise don’t fall under your parents’ shadow.

  2. adriana

    Thanks to the article. Im a working mom doing more than 40 hours a week. I come home and my four year old doesnt listen unless he is yelled at. I know i have yelled at him when we go grocery shopping bc he runs everywhere. I need to learn to control my anger which i usually give warnings multiple ones. Ive been told that i dont know my children and its hurtful i dont know their routines and i feel as if only o. My days off i get to learn with them. I want my kids to be happy and i worry especially the four year old when he starts school. I will try all the tips i have read thank you.

  3. Daniel

    Great Article – sadly my mom does not understand English very well.

    Anyways, helped me to understand the Situation better, even though I am still unsure what to do about it. Maybe see a professional.



  4. Flutteryay

    My mom can’t even go a DAY without yelling at me. My dad tries to tell her that I’m more sensitive than my brother, but that doesn’t work because he’s her favorite. It’s pretty obvious.I’m even considering running away.

    • Abbie

      Aw Flutterjay, there is a real emotional disconnect in your family that needs attention asap! If you are at the point of running away (which we hope you don’t – it’s not safe!), you need to get help to mend the communication between you and your mom and you need to find ways to take care of yourself. We don’t know your exact age or circumstance so we’re guessing – can a school counselor help? There are also hotlines like Teen Line (where we worked as teens) that can provide resources. And perhaps you can talk to your dad, since from your description, he seems to understand more, and tell him you need some emotional support. See how together you can help your mom move from yelling to listening and connecting.

  5. frenzina

    I hate parents who yell

  6. anonymous

    my mom and dad yell at me all the time, and most nights when I go to bed I wannna cry. I wish they wouldn’t yell at me so much

    • Abbie

      Your comment makes us so sad! Can you share this article with your parents? Can you find ways to take care of yourself so their yelling doesn’t become your inner voice? Sometimes we have to accept that we can’t change other people – but you can communicate what happens to you when they yell? We hope you can tell them how you feel – and we hope they can truly listen. If not, or perhaps either way, please find a counselor to speak to.

    • Jen

      I’m sorry I know this comment is 2 years old, but just to inform some people, if your parents upset you very much. Seek help, try to calmly start a conversation with them informing about their issues, show them your maturity so that they trust every word you say. If that doesn’t work then go see a counselor for better solutions. If you need any further help, or your parents are getting more and more aggressive, making you feel so desperate that you can’t stand living with them, report to the cops.

  7. Steven

    Sometimes i have a hard time with my mom too, i will say something and she will say something really sacastic back and sarcasm really annoys me sometimes, instead of comprimising with me or something she will just yell right away and then 20 minutes after she yells at me she expects everything to be ok, but it isnt. After she will yell at me im normally upset or sad for a good hour, i just hope stuff really gets better and she understands that its not a good feeling. She says that she yells because i dont listen which makes me want to say, if youre yelling at me and nothing seems to be getting better, why do you keep yelling at me for??

  8. Atheist

    god doesn’t exist, why?
    He never helps anyone. You make god up so you have someone to talk to.
    In reality god isn’t real, omnipotent beings aren’t real. He would’ve revealed himself to the modern world if he was real.
    If he was real, why would he listen to yours out of all the millions of other people praying for him to do something?
    Your being quite selfish.

  9. Arinda ingrid

    i really find hard time wijth my mother for being toooo…….. tough on me even if i make a deciison but rejects yet am 30 years. i have really do having preace at home . i really donot have a dad . am only wishing God would would give me a caring husband for marriage. please help me out

  10. kate

    Hi Dan,
    I just hope you find peace with your kids and yourself. I know how it feels to be abused and have your kids abused and be at the mercy of someone else. I cant make you leave her but you can reply to me or send me a message if you need so eone to talk to. This story sounds all too familiar and I feel for you and the kids. Has she ever been diagnosed with something?

  11. DAN GOOD

    LAST NIGHT was one of the worst nights of my wife with my young wife helping my sensitive 6 year old son with his homework for a test tomorrow in school for about 2 hours.It was so terrible I cried.
    For 2 hours my wife screamed yelled and shouted at my poor son for 2 hours at least yelling sometimes at the top of her voice at least a 100 times.
    My 6 year old son cried almost the entire time.
    It was pure hell for me but imagine what it was like for my son.A horrible nightmare for him.2 hours of torture for him and me.When they finally finished I saw his lip it was badly swollen where his mom had slapped him and reddened nose where she had hit him
    Then when he cried for almost the entire time sometimes hysterically she would ask him why are you crying .I am going to give you a reason to cry and then she either hits him or threatens to give him a cold shower or put him in the street and lock the door as she has done on a few occasions.
    I t was all too much for me and I begged her to be gentle with him not to be so hard on him he is suffering in hell with the way u are treating him and cant póssibly learn in that type of nightmarish environment.
    Then as always she tells me to shut the f— up and then things get worse and she shouts more angrier then ever.I know from past experience if I in any way interfer with her she will come after me with knives.
    We my wife and I have gone to familly counseñing with 3 experienced counselors which she was very reluctant to do unless i bribed her with moneyand finally got her to go.The counselers said that shouting was emotional violence that did no good to the children.We also have 4 year old daughter too that gets shouted at but less.
    We went several months ago to young woman medical pychiatrist about the fact of my wife abusing the children with shouting and hitting the children with wooden spoon and attacking me with knives but my wife denied all saying I was lying and the pychiatrist decided I was the problem telling me that i needed to take medicine to calm we never went back.
    My wife experienced terrible abuse by both her real mother and stepfather who beat her almsot daily and as her mother said recently laughing at my wife I used to beat you as a child until I was too tired to lift my arms and my wife at 23 and 4 years old was a bloody mess.Her steptaher would put her in a rice bag leave her all day in the bag in a closet and then sometimes beat her with an iron bar.
    Sometimes my wife would tell me they beat me cause I deserved it cause I was a bad girl in defense of her parents.
    HER childhood was truly a nightmare up until she was in her late teens and I took her to be my wife at 19 so now her childhood mess comes around for my children to suffer.
    i have told her many times in the past if u dont stop abusing the children by constantly shoutin at them and hitting them we will fight to the finish and we have with almost all the furniture beds tables etcand plates and everything ending up broken in the house.
    She has pepper sprayed me twice calle dthe police and blamed me falsely for the bruises on the children.
    i am angry enough to leave her not talking sometimes for a week till she comes and begs me for forgiveness telling me she loves me with all her heart-which I readily give in for the sake of peace and harmony for kids and me.I am 70 and she is 38 42year age difference.
    i just tonite sent her copy of your article what happens when parents yell aT CHILDREN and pray it wiill do some good.
    I have done this in the past but she usually deletes such similoiar articles.

    • Anthony

      Dan there is no peace with her around. If your kids are being yelled at in that manner they are going to be scared all day. Your kids are going to be messed up beyond repair, councilors will take no action to help other than tell you what you can do yourself. She’s teaching your daughter this is how women are supposed to be just screaming at the rest of the family. It is up to you Dan only you can save these children. Get a lawyer and do not keep her informed. Take all of this in your own hands over a month or twos time your attorney can help you save these children. She needs time by herself in a mental hospital. As drastic as it sounds, the fact that you can’t even have a conversation for fear of being attacked with knives is exactly the reason why mental hospitals are there. She never worked out her past, she doesn’t see the effect it’s taken on her life cause she’s convinced she’s ok.

      Please do something though man I’m 22 with a 4 and 2 year old. I have no means and no money and had the exact same situation. I was afraid of the knives afraid to stand up for fear of making things worse but I realized no matter what right now it’s not ok and im the only one left to pretext these babies. She went and got help and now I lose my cool before she does but luckily I just get really quiet so there’s no yelling anymore. My kids are really happy and have loved her so much since. So please do something no one here can help you. Only you can help and your kids need you to. I hope you revisit this website and see this comment because I read your story and you sound like you’re financially stable and have the means to find help. I hoped to motivate you to make the change by hearing a very broke 22 year old was able to come out of this hell. She just needs time away and for a hospital therapist to help her find true closure with her past.

    • Lauren

      I realize this comment is a year old…but I wanted to reply anyway, in case anyone else is in a similar situation.
      I really hope that these kids are not being subjected to their mothers abuse!!
      In this kind of situation, where one parent is mentally ill, it is the responsibility of the parent/spouse to immediately remove the children from that environment. Although, that might not be as apparent when the spouse is a victim of the abuse, as well. Emotional and psychological abuse can leave you questioning reality, so it’s important to have at least one family member/friend who can give you some perspective (this relationship usually needs to be secretive since the abuser wants to keep you isolated). However, when there is physical violence (slapping children, chasing you with knives, etc) this is a red flag warning to remove yourself and children away from the abuser. Set up a way to record the violence (a phones camera works well) so that there is undeniable proof of the abuse; without hard evidence, the abuser will deny and could even place blame on you. With evidence of the abuse, the police can make an arrest and then help you and your children by issuing a restraining order…giving you time to make alternate living arrangements/file for divorce. Involving the police is also the best chance to have her, lawfully, committed to a mental institution. Every day that those children are in that environment, their lives are at risk…as is yours, but the adult is the only one who can advocate for defenseless children.

      • Anonymous

        If the problem is still persisting now, sue her, get a divorce and full custody of your children. They don’t deserve this abuse. Also you can call the cops, abuse IS a criminal offence.

  12. kathryn

    hi can someone please give me some advice been to doctors still waiting for a reply from july last year tried all sorts my nie year old is a nighmare going to bed shouts all the time good night check on me about 20 times we had a fire in kitchen nothing major not sure if if to do with this doesn’t do it when she sleeps out

  13. Jennesa

    By the way this article is fantastic! The conversation examples have helped me in communicating not only with my son, but also with others! I am planning on ordering your book as soon as possible 🙂

  14. Nick

    I understand because parents get mad but on the flip side it causes kids a mental issue a it makes them to yell a their kids as well so parents plz take this as a lesson
    Place do not yell a kids

  15. CP

    This is a great article all parents should read as our lives now a days are so full of stress, and businesss sometimes we don’t realize how we say things or what we say.

  16. Jasmine

    thx I will show my mum this as right now I am locked in the bathroom (I did it on purpose

  17. Ujjwala

    lovely article

  18. Ujjwala

    Thanks. of course we r parents n not dogs who bark and growl around. yes, yelling is bad. I promise to myself I will no more yell on my son.

  19. Kristen

    Thank you. I also have a few questions for anyone who wants to give me posotive feed back… i have a 3 year old son, when we are in restaurants or stores half the time hes great, walks w me, helps me even pays atrention to me n picks stuff out with me for his lunches and snacks, other times, he is just ridiculous! 🙁 its so extremely frustrating… he will grab my shirt n pull on it, pull my shirt with his teeth, he will blow raspberries at me while ‘accidentally’ spitting in my face, he will just act like a monkey so to say and no matter how calm i am and say his name, u need to focus, take a deep breath and calm yourself down, he will laugh at me even if i flick his mouth or hand whichever situation it may be he laughs at me, now i dont believe in spanking or hitting my child. It wont do anything but make them rebel (unless it comes to school/lying about homework or something) but were not there yet, again my son is 3. When were in a restaurant he will sometimes get up n dance or something, or push me, depends …i need helo n have nobody to help, i need a serious advice to make my child listen so him n i can be close again, thank you :/

  20. That one guy with a thousand cats

    :B Ye my parents shouted at me all the time and now they wonder about the things I do, like avoiding them some days.

    But, to be truthful, yelling is not that bad at all, just if you over-use it. No parent is perfect, so when you have to yell at a child and you dont, you’d be surprised to find your kids thinking that you’re “the weak link”.

    My own brother never shouted at his children and they are the most biggest brats. To him, and to everyone around him. They once broke my old nintendo 64 and instead of saying ‘sorry’, they just as quickly destroyed the controllers for it as well. I made my brother buy me a new one, of course, but I kind of feel bad for him, the wuss.

    So uhm, not yelling all the time is helpful in it’s way, but you still have to establish authority over them or they’re gonna like, turn into satan on you in a few more years and use you instead of the goat for their demonic sacrifices.

    I mean, my parents were always shouting at me all the time, but that doesnt mean that I absolutely hate them for it; they were trying their best, unlike my brother did. – And I think I came up alright.

    Of course, this post is probably old, it’s two in the morning, and I’m up to my eighth coffee with this stupid job, but otherwise, I guess I needed to say my opinion about this. Because otherwise I’ll just have to drink another cup of no-sleepy-liquid.

    EhhhhhHHHhhHHHH bye

  21. Steven

    Sounds like a copout Shawn. I am 26 and I had ADD and ADHD at some point. You know it must be because my father had your attitude and didn’t have the gall to teach his son love. This world is so treacherous and you sound like you don’t love your child. You couldn’t coerce him so you use force. Typical barbarian as my father was in my younger years. Strep throat? Yell at your son and tell him he’s a lying sh** and to swallow that burger even if he’s choking. That’s horrible…it has lead to my dysfunctions into adulthood.

    Such rage in me. Troubled? Yes. Did my father abuse me? Maybe to a degree. He has done many good things, but he raised a troubled man who struggles with the many bad choices that his split parents made.

    I had a rough childhood but I won’t say I had some horrifying abuse story. Just the sad truth that some men were abused by their fathers and it carries on for generations.

    My father’s father probably beat him good. I don’t know though…even as a grown man my father won’t talk about anything to do with love or emotions. I can remember vividly the day he harped on me to walk on to the D1 football team. Through his selfish vision he wanted me to live a life that was not mine. I was bullied and I was turned into a shadow of who I was. All that pressure and abuse. I remember that I had to act psychotic and threaten to bring a gun and shoot a man and those in the locker room if they didn’t stop.

    Fast forward to when I start smoking marijuana. Criminals and drug dealers befriended me. Made me feel like I was the big guy there and that I was a part of their team….my father drove me to waste his money and my own and my time because he insisted I play football. Make no mistake he was not just a caring father making a suggestion, he guilt tripped me constantly that I would regret it if I didn’t try…I wanted so bad to make him proud, and I bottled up the abuse by the other older players. My father wouldn’t love or hold me in my time of need…alone and disconnected. One day I quit the team…I can’t tell you his disappointed reaction..I gravitated to the friendly dealers that offered me an escape. My girlfriend of 3 years left me as I slowly flunked out of college.

    I came home to my father’s place where to this day, at 62, you can be sure him and his wife still consume a pack a day and have a beer in their hand every other day. Be aware my stepmother was jealous and would do things like burn my favorite blanket and then threaten to cut it up when I was a small boy. Let’s just fast forward again past them slurring and cussing about me living with them at 23.

    Finally after a year goes by I snag a decent job!!! I move out and finally they give me peace. I didn’t have to be abused any more. One day I am visiting and I am so distraught me and him get in an argument…screaming, screaming so loud that me, at 6’4 300lbs I am most certainly crying and I’ve lost my voice. I tell him that his choices and actions caused so much of my trouble and dysfunction, and that his leadership was dim and had no love behind his harsh and selfish guidance. (Finally I can describe what my yelling meant..). I placed the blame on him finally after they sneer at me and tell me how much money I wasted…a toxic toxic home with very little joy or hope.

    I did it though..he finally lashed out and showed me that he understood, and that he recognized my cry for help and sympathy: He reached out and started to choke me. I pushed him down into the chair after breaking free, and I rushed out of their home.

    Finally, I am of course 26, and I live 3 hours away working for a decent company with a career in IT in a major operations center. We don’t yell or scream now. I am smarter and no longer a child. I do believe they realize they cause explosions out of me that surely shows what a fine job they did…they got it. Took them 26 years to realize they are almost dead and their one son resents them for their lack of love and family. Or not..they’ll die and I’ll be left in tears because they were all I had, even with all of the bad decisions and actions they took. I know they tried..they don’t know any better. I won’t even start on my major home life and my loving but depressed and upset mother…I mean..should I talk about when, at 16, I had to fight my stepfather to prevent him from beating my mother while drunk..twice? Three times? What about the times I don’t remember as a child?

    I’ll leave this here on a final note: My story is not for sympathy, but my closure, and maybe motivation for those who read this. Love your him or her until it runneth over. I would sooner cut off my pinky than ever choke my son, no matter what he says. I can’t wait though, I don’t have a child yet, but I know that I will do all that I can to love and teach him. Hug him when he lets me…follow this woman’s wise words and be an intelligent father, and not just a hand that feeds. You get one life, and one family. It’s so short lived and violent. Give him or her a warm and loving home to come back to, whether they are 23, or 33. You won’t be disappointed with the results.

    • Kristen

      Thank you for sharing steven

    • Nancy

      I feel your pain Steven… I may not have gone through the same thing but I definitely feel your pain. I too will learn to love my future kids and to never yell or hurt them. Let’s just say our parents left a great example of how not to be.

  22. marieta

    This was really helpful. I need the advice badly and I will surely try my best to succeed in this. I love my children and want the best for them. I don’t want them to hate me but I am starting to hate myself and want to run away. I am trying my best to be the best parent but we all start somewhere on our own and always know better but our better is only experience from our parents and we as parents is still fun and stupid. I admit it but still wants the best and wants to love myself my husband and my children and want them to love me in return. Parents must seek help even if you think you are a great parent or not. Thanks for this I really appreciated it.

  23. Annette Wiensz

    I think parents should be a little more aware of how they act when their child doesn’t do what they say. I think the parents should take a few deep breaths and say ok then calmly tell to clean their room rather than coming in there with trash bags and start loading things up in the trash bags because it’s going to create problems and behaviors will start.

  24. Annette Wiensz

    I think it’s sometimes ok for a parent to get a little stern but not to the extreme like yelling and making their child cry because they think we’ll mom or dad are being mean. I know it’s a fact of life and parents need to take a few minutes of deep deep breaths before using yelling as means to get a child to do stuff even if their child is disabled

  25. Shawn

    I hate to tell you that with a ADHD child your so called advice will not work. My child only wakes up to a spanking. Talking nicely to him is a sign of weakness, and he surely runs with it. Working with him, or even talking usually just allows him to take over the situation and ignore me. Being nice and talking only leads to more shit

    • Anonymous

      I had ADHD and still seem to somewhat have it. To help with issues I had, I would go see a special doctor to help my mom and I deal with my ADHD. It worked great, and over time I improved in my skills to be able to listen to things I was told and not get distracted (That being the main reason typically with ADHD why kids don’t listen; they get distracted and altogether have a hard time listening.). But for your case, I would to seek help, but in my opinion, spanking should not be an option. I think spanking is wrong, first of all because you are causing pain to the child, and also I think spanking isn’t teaching kids to behave and listen to instructions, but making them scared instead. Basically, what I mean by this is that I think spanking isn’t making kid listen to instructions because they think it’s a good idea to, and to listen because they think it’s right to do what you tell them they need to do, but instead making them do it because they are scared of being spanked if they do not listen, not teaching them that it is the right thing they should be doing and that it is important to do for both of your sakes or at least to help do something important. Altogether, I think you might be able to help situation and I think it would be better if you resort from spanking

  26. mike

    im Mexican .. Mexican parents always yell! lol

  27. Mrs fajana

    Enjoy dis alot

  28. Jonathon

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this brilliant blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  29. Beck Abdula

    hi,after reading your article i was somehow being enlighten on how to manage my kids behavior,because honestly me and my husband are really having problem in raising our kids esp. with their behaviors..i feel relax more when im at my work than in home..your article helps alot.thanks so much.more power…

  30. ethelinda palpal-latoc

    Your article is very inspiring.

    • melissa

      I understand that yelling isn’t always the right way to go but I just don’t understand why my children act up when I am around but when I am not there they are the best children ever. It makes me sad and that I am doing something wrong. I want my children to be happy and I am trying to do the best I can to provide from them, I just don’t know what to do anymore. My son doesn’t like yelling and when I yell he gets upset and start yelling and that makes me even more upset and then he tries to choke himself and I don’t know what to do? What should I do about this issue?

      • Alex

        I have read that kids save their worst behavior for their parents, because they are pushing to see what your limits are, and mainly because they trust you the most so they are able to have their breakdowns and tantrums with you where that’s safe. It doesn’t mean your a bad mom, your doing a great job, it is really hard to deal with though.

      • Alex

        Also to break the yelling cycle it helps me to send my kids to their room or lock myself in the bathroom and calm down. Then go talk to them. This usually still starts with some yelling but sometimes i can catch it before that even. I have to step away and take breaths and think about exactly what I’m trying to communicate. I used to be yelling all the time and now it’s only a small part of the time

      • Jennesa

        All of the parenting books and classes i have read and been to addressed this very thing! Your child feels safe and comfortable with you, so they know that they can unload their emotions when you are there because they feel safe doing so. It’s a weird thought, but they are acting this way because they love and trust you. Kind of crazy huh?