Every mother has been there.  That place, before you had children, that you said you would never be.  That place, where you looked on at those other mothers, with grimaces on their faces and said, “I will never do that to my children”.  That place that at times feels as if it is the point of no return.

The yelling place.

No one wants to yell at their children, but if we are honest, we have all had moments we would love to suck back into ourselves.  We’ve lost it.  We’ve yelled at our kids.  And, now, with summer upon us and our sweethearts are out of school, the potential for more tension is upon us – Can anyone relate to hearing, “I’m bored” for the 23rd time before lunch?

So, what do you do when you are faced with a challenging situation with your child and you feel that vocal release coming?  Here is a list of 20 things to do INSTEAD of yelling:

  • Time out.  Not for the children, but for you.  Take a breather, step away.
  • Clean.  Scrub the bathtub, vacuum the floor or do the dishes.
  • Wash your car.  Grab the kids, some suds and a water hose.  Let the laughter begin.
  • Go to a park.
  • Draw your feelings.  Gather the art supplies and use it as a teaching time for your children about feelings and identifying them.
  • Take a shower.
  • Count to 100 using as many different “voices” as you can think of.
  • Sing.
  • Play with play dough.  There is something extremely calming while massaging the dough in your hands.
  • Call a friend.
  • Take a walk.
  • Turn on the radio and dance with your child.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror.  Become aware of what your child is seeing in you at that moment.
  • Escape!  As soon as reinforcements can come to your rescue, leave for a while for some much needed you time.
  • Yell a made up word instead of what you might have wanted to say.  Incite laughter.
  • Change the subject.
  • Make a list of reasons why you love your child.  Sit on the couch together and read it to them.
  • Bake.
  • Go on a nature walk around the house or neighborhood.  See how many different leaves, flowers, bugs, etc. you can find together.
  • Challenge your child to an activity – make faces and dare them not to laugh; make a rule that everyone must walk backward through the house for the rest of the day.

No one is perfect.  We all have those times where we know we could have behaved better.  The important thing to realize is we’re human.  We’re going to mess up.  It’s an opportunity to teach our children the art of apologizing and explaining that even parents have to say they are sorry.  There is something beautifully humbling in the process of seeking our children’s forgiveness when we have wronged them and receiving their forgiveness.  Accept the hugs and kisses, and remember tomorrow is another day!

Robyn Thurman, MA, LPC