Does Not Yelling at my kids = Better Behavior?

114 days down, 251 to go!

Dear Galen,

You asked such a simple question and I want to give you a simple answer. But there isn’t one. I mean there is, but at the same time there isn’t. So I have done my best to say what I want to say but as it is complicated and I am sleep deprived, I am not sure I have done a good job. I’ll let you decide.


The Orange Rhino


So, now that I have gone 114 days without yelling at my kids, can I say that their behavior is better? Drumroll Please.

The answer? Yes and No.

Why No?

They still kick each other, throw food, refuse to clean their rooms, yell at each other, spit and hit. Awesome. And they still don’t always listen to simple requests to do something or to stop doing something for that matter.  Double awesome. Oh the list goes on and on of all the behavior that I wish would magically disappear. But it ain’t going anywhere soon. My boys are kids. No matter how great I parent, they are still going to have their moments, their days. Heck, I have my moments and my days no matter how great they behave. Let’s face it, none of us, kids or adults, are perfect (darnit)!

Was this not the answer you were hoping for? How about this then.

YES! Both in Perception and in Reality.

The REALITY is that while the not-so-desirable behavior still exists, when it does appear it lasts for a shorter amount of time. Why? Because I am no longer encouraging the behavior. Yes, I was unintentionally encouraging the behavior.

When I used to yell at my boys, it did anything but stop the behavior. It just added fuel to the fire. My yelling often made them so angry and hurt that they wouldn’t (couldn’t?)  listen to me. The “annoying” behavior either continued or was just traded in for another, normally much more annoying behavior. You yelled at me for jumping on your bed? Okay, I’ll stop that and start running around your bedroom screaming instead. You yelled at me for dumping my legos on the floor? Okay, I’ll leave them there and just dump out another bucket of toys. Why did they just change one bad behavior for another? Because when I yelled, I wasn’t actively trying to stop the behavior. I was just HOPING that yelling would stop it.

And it didn’t.  Sure after a while my yelling would get nasty enough stop the “bad” behavior chain reaction but only to then be replaced with a screaming fit about how mean I am and how much I hurt their feelings. So while technically the yelling stopped bad behavior, it just created a new situation to solve. A much WORSE situation.

Simply put, yelling was totally unproductive but oh so easy. It was so easy to sit back and yell; much easier than actually stopping and thinking to myself why are they acting this way? Are they mad at something? Are they hungry? Sad? Moody? What can I do to help them calm down, to engage in better behavior?

Instead of being proactive and trying to understand the behavior so that I could HELP my boys, I just thought to myself, ugh, this behavior sucks and then I yelled at them. No wonder the behavior got worse when I yelled. Not only did I make them feel crappy but I wasn’t always (never?) addressing the real problem!  Remove the yelling and I am forced to be proactive (or keep letting them misbehave and make my life miserable). Hmmmm, tough call.

YES, it is MUCH much harder to stop and figure out the root of their behavior and YES it takes more time up front but the desired result of ending the bad behavior comes much faster because we actually address (and fix if possible) the REAL problem.

Why are you jumping on my bed? Oh, because you are bored? Great, let’s do a puzzle. Why did you dump your legos out? Oh, you couldn’t find the right red one? Great, let me help you find it. Why are you throwing toys? Oh, because you wish daddy was home? Great, let me give you a big hug and snuggle.

And YES sometimes I realize that the answer to why the bad behavior is oh, you are acting that way just because? Just because you too, like me, are human and sometimes have an off day? GREAT, I get it! I have those days too! And yes sometimes there is no answer and I just have to remember that my boys are JUST KIDS. Both these realizations, and understanding the root of the behavior, shorten the tantrum because it makes me more empathetic, more loving, less annoyed. And the minute I show love and compassion and not frustration, the tantrum starts to slow down. 

So YES all in all their behavior is better because the less desirable behavior is shorter lived. And that is a welcomed improvement.

And by the way, even if the behavior in Reality wasn’t better I would still tell you that it is. Not just to make you not give up on the challenge (hahaha) but because I do truly PERCEIVE it to be better.

Why? Because after 114 days of working to understand my boys behavior, I am now more accepting of it. I am simply more tolerant of it, it doesn’t make my blood boil (as much) and I don’t want to scream (as much). To be clear, I don’t like the bad behavior, and I certainly DON’T condone it, but I am no longer as frustrated by it. I attribute this to the fact that not only do I understand them better, that I am more empathetic, but also because I truly am calmer. Because I am not getting myself all extra worked up when they are in a moment of sheer utterly annoying behavior and are acting out, it doesn’t feel as bad because I don’t feel as bad. Because I know that I am capable of working with them to settle down. Because I know that yelling doesn’t work.  Because I know that loving them more does.

I’m not Superwoman?

112 days down, 253 days to go!

Dear Orange Rhinos,

I would love to write something inspiring and useful tonight. Or even just something funny or interesting. Shoot, I would just like to write something, anything period.

But I can’t. I simple don’t have the time. It turns out that I am not Superwoman after all and that I don’t have 24 hours in a day to get stuff done. Darnnit, I really thought I was! So instead please share any questions you have below in the comments section or share any requests for topic matter for my posts.

Shiver me timbers, I’m off to frost Pirate Cupcakes for my son’s 4th Birthday in school and to prepare for the Alphabet Treasure Hunt. So much to do, too few hours to do it all. Why can’t I be superwoman? It would certainly make life easier!

The Orange Rhino

1…2…3…I am…

111 days down, 254 to go…

Dear Birds outside my son’s window,

I get that because you are a bird, you live in a nest, in a tree. I get that because you are a bird, when the sun rises, you rise. I get that because you are a bird, you make bird noises. These are all things birds do. But what I don’t get dear birdies, is why the h*ll you think it is necessary to make a nest in the tree right by #2’s window and then rise with the sun at 5:00 am and chirp chirp CHIRP waking him up. I mean really, WTF. I know you are a bird and not human, but you have babies too right? Don’t you get annoyed when they wake up too early? Don’t you ever want to sleep in until, say 6:00 am? Well I sure as h*ll do. So please. PLEASE stop chirping so darn early. Let #2 sleep in because when he wakes the whole house up and it ain’t pretty and it makes me want to CHIRP really, really loud.  And I can’t. So back off with the early chirping. Please.

The Orange Rhino


We have early risers in our house. Always have, always will. But never before 5:30. Until recently. # 2 has taken to waking with the birds at 5:00 am. We have told him repeatedly that he has to stay in his room and remain quiet until his yellow sun alarm clock goes off at 6:00. Well, that is great in theory but not if he has to go to the bathroom. Which was the case this past Saturday. He woke up at 5, thanks to the birds, and then proceeded to open his door and LOUDLY stomp into the bathroom.

Okay, no biggie I think to myself. He is just peeing. I roll over and try to fall back to sleep.

“Mommy, I pooped. Come wipe me.” He hollered.

Shit. No pun intended. I rolled out of bed, stumbled down the hall, and took care of business followed by a little talk.

“#2, it is still night time. Go back to your room, get back in bed and be quiet.”

“But mom, the birds are up. It is daytime.”

“Not in this house it isn’t. Back to bed.”

10 minutes pass.

I hear a creak and then footsteps all followed by a knock.

“Hey #1, you ‘wake? Let’s play.”

Too tired to parent, I ignored it and thought to myself “whatever, I just want to sleep.” I rolled over to my husband and said “you go deal with it, or I’ll yell.” His response, “I’m sleeping and besides you can’t yell you are The Orange Rhino.” Seriously? Seriously? So neither one of us got up.

Well clearly that was a BAD idea.

5 minutes later I hear massive laughter. I can handle two kids being up early, but not 4. I race into the room to stop the noise only to find it destroyed – they had decided to make a fort out of the bed and pitch it up with piles of books and lego towers. I took one look and closed the door.

I was still too tired to parent, and way too tired to yell.

Well clearly that was ANOTHER BAD idea (the not parenting part.)

10 minutes later, it is now, what 5:25 I hear water. GUSHING.

I run into the bathroom. #2 has CLIMBED onto the vanity counter and is not brushing his teeth, not washing his hands, not doing anything productive. Instead he was intentionally SPLASHING all the water onto the floor. Are you <<<insert the F bomb here>>> kidding me? It is a good thing it was so early and I was so tired because what I thought was neither said nor screamed. Phew!

I turned around, got a towel and took darling #2 off the counter.

“#2, water is for brushing teeth and washing hands. Not for splashing. Here is a towel. You made the mess, you clean it up.”

I left the bathroom and went to start the day. No point sleeping now. As I was rather aggressively making my bed #1 came in:

“Mommy, slow down. You look angry.”

I didn’t say a thing. I was furious but didn’t want to lose it.

#1 left and then came RUNNING back in saying:

“1-2-3 I am taking care of me” while showing me the pages to his book “Calm-Down Time.”

"I can breathe in and out while I count to three. One...two...three. I'm taking care of me." More like "I'm taking care of mommy!"



I just had to smile. He was so proud of himself and well, I was proud of him too. And grateful.  Saved by my five –and-a-half year old!




Then #2 came in.

“Mommy, are you still mad?”

“Yes #2, I am.”

#2 then left and came RUNNING back in with the BIGGEST sh*t eating grin on his face. Why? Well because he had found the Orange Rhino sign we made and was flashing it in front of my face.

 “Orange Rhino mommy. Orange Rhino.”

Now I really had to smile. My kids were helping ME be a better mother. I loved it. The 25 minutes before? Not so much. But this minute, I absolutely loved. I had managed to teach my son a lesson (clean up your mess) without losing it and also had taught him that one doesn’t have to yell. What started as a really crappy day was already turning around.

I got in the shower, still smiling. “Maybe I would survive the day afterall?” I thought to myself.

5 minutes later I knew I would. The boys strategically placed their friendly reminders to me in my bed so that I would see them upon getting out of the bathroom.

No caption necessary...



“Brilliant move boys, brilliant. Thanks for your support. It not only means a lot, but it also helps a tremendous amount. Now let’s go clean up the mess that is #2’s bedroom, kay?”





And they actually complied.

Now if only the damn birds would….

Is Not Yelling Really Worth It?

107 days without yelling, 258 to go!

Dear Kari,

You asked me a while back, is it worth it? Is it really worth all the extra hard work to not yell? Heck yeah it is. Besides the obvious reasons about how not yelling is better for my children, there is one benefit I never expected. My life feels richer now. I know it sounds hokey, trust me, I know. I am the first person to call something hokey. But it is true. Because now that I am not yelling, I have shared some truly remarkable moments with my kids that I know wouldn’t have happened pre-challenge because I would have been too busy yelling at them. Tonight I had one of those moments. And just thinking about it, well, it brings tears to my eyes.

Not yelling is hard. WICKED wicked hard. But yes, it is so worth it.

The Orange Rhino


As I have written before, as much as I love my kids, by the time bedtime rolls around, I am done. I am ready to tuck everyone in, give each boy one last kiss and snuggle, and then shut all the doors and go downstairs to relax. After 7:15pm, if I hear footsteps sneaking out this mama gets pissed. Unfortunately, (or fortunately?) I can’t get pissed anymore all because of The Orange Rhino Challenge. I can’t yell and carry on like I am accustomed to doing in such situations. Tonight I was challenged. And tonight I kept my promise. And it made me cry.

I had just settled down on the couch with a nice glass of wine. I was not 10 seconds into a deep thought of “oh, this is nice. It is so quiet” when I heard footsteps slowly making their way down the hall towards the stairs. I knew immediately who they belonged to. #1. Dear, sweet, #1 who loves to sneak out and try to convince us that he needs one more cracker, a sip of ice cold water or better yet, 5 minutes of playing Angry Birds on my husband’s Ipad in order to fall asleep. AS IF.

I ever so gently placed my wine glass down. I was rather deliberate in the gentleness because what I really wanted to do was the throw the glass in the fireplace. I was that annoyed. Let’s just say it has been a looooong week. This Mama is beyond done. Between baby showers, birthday parties, school parties, doctors appointments and unanticipated speech evaluations for two more boys, I just needed some time to decompress tonight. I had no desire to play the cracker/water/ipad/I need to pee/one more book game. My patience tank was empty. My empathy tank was empty. The only thing full was my wine glass and clearly that wasn’t going to be empty soon. I found whatever self control I could muster and headed towards the stairs.

#1 knew I was coming; pretty sure my stomping feet up the stairs gave it away. The soft footsteps I heard moments before turned into a mad dash for his room. All his attempts to not be busted went out the window when he accidentally SLAMMED his door shut. I was pissed before, but now I was REALLY pissed because I was certain the loud bang would wake his brothers. I grabbed the door knob and somewhat aggressively opened the door to his room. I wanted to scream “Get back in BED! NOW!”

But before I could even open my mouth I took one look at his face. He had the look that said, “Mommy don’t yell at me. Something is wrong and that’s why I can’t fall asleep.”

I walked over to his bed, taking deep, agitated breaths that were so loud they could wake his brothers. I was still fuming. But my son’s voice defused the yelling.

I was just about to start in with my bedtime lecture when this shy, concerned and quavering voice said,

“Mommy, will you love me even when I go to heaven?” (um, holy sh*t, I wasn’t prepared for that.)

Tears in my eyes, then, and now,

“Yes, of course. I will always love you.”

“But mommy, will you love me even when you are in heaven?”

“Yes, of course. I will always always love you. Forever and ever.”

“Because you have a big heart mommy???”

“Yes, and because I love you tons and tons. I will never stop loving you.”

“Okay. I love you mommy.”

“I love you too.”

And that was all he needed to hear to fall asleep. “I love you too.”

The day I became a Mommy…the best. moment. ever.

I tucked him in again, gave him another kiss and a hug. A hug that I didn’t want to end. I wanted to hold onto that moment forever. I wanted to hold onto my son forever, for him to feel just how much I love him. For him to feel at ease, for me to feel at ease. The mere thought of him ever being in heaven before me breaks my heart. The mere thought of him even worrying about that broke my heart.

I cried leaving the room. I cried because of the innocence of the conversation. I cried because of the fear that the conversation could be true some day. I cried because I love him so much. I cried because I was so glad that I had that conversation, that I didn’t yell.

All my son needed was to hear me say I love you one more time. I can’t imagine how tonight would have gone down if I when I opened that door I started screaming like I used to. Oh wait, yes I can. He would have started bawling. It would have taken 30 minutes to calm him down. And then he would have fallen asleep upset and still worrying about whether or not I would love him forever. Instead of that, we shared a truly beautiful moment.

So yes, not yelling is worth it. Because in not yelling, I shared this moment with my son. And I don’t think I will ever forget it. Ever.


I know many of you feel like you are “failing” this challenge because you didn’t go all day without yelling. But I am sure there has been, or will be, at least one if not more moment(s) on your journey on this Challenge where you didn’t yell and in turn had an amazing moment with your child, a moment that you’ll remember forever. What was that moment? Whenever you feel frustrated, remember that moment. And remind yourself all the hard work is worth it. For extra guidance on your journey to add more of those amazing moments to your days, check out my new book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too!” Part personal memoir, part parenting guide, fully supportive, my book hits shelves October 2014 but you can pre-order it now. Check out the details here

How I stop myself from Yelling at my Kids

105 days without yelling, 250 to go! 

Dear Long Days, Short Years,

This one is for you! Yup, more than half the time my yelling has nothing to do with my kids but everything to do with myself. I think that is what makes it so hard – to not yell means to admit that I need to deal with myself too! Ugh, you mean I have to take responsibility for my behavior and not always blame the kids?!

Thanks for reading,
The Orange Rhino


I almost kissed day 105 goodbye today. Just like that. No advance warning really. The kids weren’t on my nerves. The day was going fineish. All of a sudden I almost SCREAMED at them.

Why? Were they yelling? Nope. Were they hurting each other? Nope. Were they picking on each other?  Nope. (Not at this point at least). They were just being kids – running around outside knocking bamboo shoots down in the backyard and slamming the kitchen door as they came in and out with their wet muddy boots excited to tell me they were “saving” the swing set from the overgrown bamboo.

Truly, they really weren’t on my nerves. I actually found their teamwork to “saw” down the bamboo very cute and their dedication to the “very urgent matter” adorable.

And then the phone rang. It was my husband calling to remind me to pay bills.

As soon as I hung up the phone, the kitchen door slammed again as three pair of squeaky boots sloshed across the kitchen to go save the swing set. Door slam, enter anger. My blood started boiling. I put the baby down and started walking rather briskly and loudly to open the aforementioned slammed door to yell at my boys.

My mouth opened and just as my non-orange rhino voice got ready to scream “ENOUGH ALREADY. CLOSE THE FRIGGIN’ DOOR. YOU ARE EITHER IN OR YOU’RE OUT. AND GET READY TO HELP ME CLEAN THE FLOOR!” this “cute little orange rhino” with four birds popped into my head and said to me:

 “Don’t do it. Don’t yell! You are not really mad at the kids. You are just overwhelmed and frustrated because well crap, you don’t feel like paying the bills and checking the budget, it’s just one more thing to do today and double crap you can’t seem to get anything done today and triple crap, you just don’t want to do it in the first place. Oh, and don’t forget you are just extra on edge because #4 has been in your arms crying for 30 minutes. Straight. ”

Well, that “cute little orange rhino” was right. I wasn’t annoyed at the kids. I was just so frustrated at that moment that my patience and tolerance (one in the same?) went from decent to virtually non-existent.  My anger had nothing to do with my boys. Nothing. Was the door slamming loud and obnoxious? Yes. Was the floor going to be a pain to clean, for the third time that day? Yes. But did those two things really matter? Did they really make me so mad that I wanted to yell? Nope. I was just in a twit and easily agitated.

As a matter of fact, I’ve found much more often than not that when I suddenly feel like I want to yell that it has nothing to do with the kids but that it has to do with me. That one of my personal triggers has been set off.

Today’s winning trigger? Having too much to do. It gets me in a twit every time. Without fail. About once a day. On a good day. Every day the “cute little orange rhino” comes and has a talk with me reminding me I am not angry at the kids, that I am just in a twit, that I just have to admit that one of my personal triggers has been set off.  The little orange rhino (ok, me) then mentally goes through my list of triggers that I outlined weeks ago until I realize AHA! That is why I am twitting. That is why I want to yell. It really isn’t my kids making me want to scream! It’s blah, blah blah…

Slowly revealing all my personal triggers that make me want to yell...

It’s hard to admit sometimes that I am the problem and not my kids. But what is EASY is now that I have taken the time to list MY triggers, it is EASY to identify them and EASIER (emphasis on the -ER) to stop them from setting off a full force volcanic eruption.

So there you have it. That is how I stop one of my personal triggers from going off – I talk to myself, in my head and out loud! I simply acknowledge the real trigger and then I actually say it out loud. “I am not mad at the kids, I am just overwhelmed by having too much to do.” Or “I am not mad at #4 I just wish I could understand him better.” Or “I am not mad at my kids I am just tired from going out last night and um, drinking too much wine with my girlfriends.”

There is something “magical” about saying it out loud, about hearing myself admit why I am really  angry/annoyed/twitting, why it isn’t the kid’s fault. I wish I could say why it works, but I can’t. I can just say that it does.I *think* because it stops me in my tracks, forces me to refocus my attention AWAY from my kids and back onto problem solving. Onto finding an alternative to yelling, like stomping my feet, splashing cold water on my face or any other silly distraction that hits me at the moment. And sometimes, no alternative is needed. Just hearing myself say out loud that I am not mad at my kids IS the alternative to yelling!

Now if my kids are legitimately the source of my anger (oh say like tonight, when #2 looked #3 squarely in the eyes and then pinched him for no reason), then I have an entirely different method of handling. I’ll save that for another rainy day….


Happy Mom, Happy Baby

Hello! To all my readers not on Facebook I wanted to share this link with you:

This is my story about my (not) Breastfeeding experience and the incredibly painful emotions I felt as a result of my struggle. While this blog post is directly about breastfeeding, it really is about so much more. Have a read…the take away can actually be applied to not yelling too. If I’m not happy then I am much more apt to yell and my kiddos are not much more apt, but guaranteed to be not happy! Thanks for reading and thanks Mommy Baby Spot for letting me guest blog and tell me story. It’s been weighing on my chest for 5.5 years and just sharing it makes me feel happier!

Happy mom, Happy Baby!

Zonked after trying so hard to breastfeed...


My “Cruella” Tendencies

101 days of not yelling, 264 days of LOVING MORE to go…

Dear Disney,

Congratulations! You created such a smashing move in 101 Dalmations that whenever I hear the number 101, I think of all those cute puppies. And then often times I think of Cruella De Vil. The mean, awful wretch of a woman who didn’t just scare the puppies, but who scared the bejeezers out of me as a child. She was intimidating, angry, scary, rude and so much more. I couldn’t fully watch 101 Dalmations until I outgrew my fear of her. Which took a while. And she wasn’t even real, but oh was she nasty! Now that I am older, she doesn’t scare me, instead she scares my children. And not because they have seen the movie. But because I have acted like her. A lot. A lot more than I like to admit.  While I used to do a phenomenal impersonation of Cruella’s nasty voice, please don’t ever call me for a voice over. I’d rather never use that voice again.

Thanks for understanding,
The Orange Rhino


I haven’t thought about Cruella in ages. But now that I am doing this Challenge, now that I am on 101 days of not yelling, the imagery of Cruella De Vil has come back.

Huh? What is the connection? Isn’t The Orange Rhino Challenge about loving more? Yes it is. Stay with me. This is how my brain works: 101 Days à 101 Dalmations à Cruella à She was so mean and scary à Wow. That is HOW I used to be when I entered the Level 6 and Level 7 Yelling Zones.  Mean and Scary. Mean and Scary sounding. Mean and Scary looking. Just admitting I was that way sounds as ugly as Cruella looks.

Um, pretty certain I've looked just like that. Pointing finger and all.

And it sounds even uglier when my kids used to say it to me after I yelled.

“Mommy, stop yelling at us, you’re so mean.”

“Mommy, stop yelling, you scared me.”

“Mommy, I don’t love you anymore. You hurt my feelings.”

And the best one liner from my wonderfully perceptive 5 year old:

“Mommy, you don’t yell at people you love.”

Ugh. Thankfully I am now on 101 days of Not Yelling, of loving more, and thankfully these sayings from my children have ceased. (But have no fear, I am still sometimes told that they don’t love me anymore. You know, because I didn’t let them have three scoops of ice cream. For breakfast.)

And to be clear, lest you think I was a total Villain, I was not as horrific as Cruella (and neither are any of you!) She just comes to mind because I too was angry, intimidating, rude and scary when I yelled AND because I read on Wikipedia or something like that, that “Cruella is not a schemer. Instead, she acts purely on impulse and is thus prone to reckless behavior” and that was SO me.

I struggled with finding the impulse control to not yell. Yelling is SO easy. When I was tired, frustrated, moody, lonely, overwhelmed, fill in the blank…my impulse control went right out the window and reckless behavior, in terms of yelling/screaming came right in, without missing a beat. It never even knocked as a warning. It just came right in, unannounced. How rude!

Hello!!! I'm here! Mrs. Reckless behavior, ready to yell and be nasty. Hahahahaha!

Learning to control my impulses truly couldn’t come at a better time.

You see learning not to yell is more than just learning not to be scary, not to be mean, not to be rude. It’s more than just learning to be more patient, more calm, more understanding. It’s about teaching too, like teaching my kids about impulse control.

And right now, my kids really need me to be a better teacher, a better example, because they are all at the age where impulse control is hard as can be. Just today #2 pushed another kid at school. 75% accident. 25% not. The note from the teacher read:

“….impulse control has improved although has not been perfected.”

Hmmmm…seems like I am not the only one working at impulse control.

We are ALL works in progress. Even my kiddos.

I often forget that. I used to forget that A LOT and I think it was a big reason for my Cruella tendencies. Because I expected too much. I expected my KIDS to have perfect behavior an awful lot and when they didn’t, hellooooooo Cruella. “Get off that couch! Clean up your room now! Do what I asked you to do 5 times already!!!”

So on this 101st day I remember Cruella. I remember that I don’t want to be like her anymore. Because she is scary and mean and I want to be calm and loving…even when mad. You know, like a Fairy Godmother.

Bippity, Boppity, Boo! The laundry is done, the house is clean, the to-do is complete, the children are singing kumbaya, nothing to make me yell.










I mean an Orange Rhino…obviously!

As loving and calm as a Fairy Godmother, but more determined and strong, in a good way!




100 Days of Loving More

May 17, 2012

100 days down, 265 to go!

Dear Orange Rhinos!

I think I am still in shock from the last 48 hours. My heart is pounding, my face has a frozen  sh*t eating grin, and I feel all jittery inside! I am totally humbled and excited and overwhelmed and scared all at the same time about all the interest The Orange Rhino Challenge received today! Normally we get about 80 reads per day at our site. Right now with 4ish hours remaining in the day WE are at 892. That is 10+x more than normal!

All because of you all sharing about the 1st Orange Rhino Challenge Day. I am so touched that people I know, and don’t know, have decided to support me in my promise to my boys to not yell at them for 365 days. And more so, MUCH MORE SO I am thrilled to see that other people are taking the challenge too.

It’s time to TOOT OUR RHINO HORN, loud and proud!!!

 We spread the word people about something we all are passionate about – loving our kids more. Because that is what really is at the root of this challenge. Yelling less and LOVING MORE. So today I don’t just celebrate 100 days of not yelling. I celebrate 100 days of LOVING MORE.

As promised, in celebration of today, I will be donating $1.00 per person who participated today up to $200. While only about 40 people literally posted I KNOW that we had at least 200 people reading and actively trying not to yell. So I WILL be donating $200.00 to Habitat for Humanity, a “nonprofit… founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live.” (Habitat for Humanity website). Do you hear that? That’s my Tooting my Rhino Horn to you all. You made that donation happen. Thank you.

As I mentioned in another post, I chose Habitat for Humanity because my Orange Rhino Epiphany was the result of a handyman fixing my house. I’m eternally grateful for that moment. That moment I got caught by the handyman SCREAMING at the top of my lungs to my four kiddos that I love so much. That moment changed my life. And it changed my boys’ lives. And I dream that it will impact my future grandkids lives too. Because I *hope* that my not yelling will trickle down through my sons to future generations. That more loving and less yelling will be felt in the Orange Rhino Family for years and years to come. Here’s hoping. Here’s hoping.

Can you feel the love being passed from Mom to Child?







Cheers (or should I snort?!)

The Orange Rhino

Wondering what the heck “Toot your Rhino Horn” is all about?

“Toot your Rhino Horn” is your turn to share your progress and by the way, JUST thinking about taking the challenge counts. That is a step in the right direction. That is progress!  

Here’s how it works. Every night I will post on the the following…

“It’s time to Toot your Rhino Horn!”

Under that, in the comments section please post your name and the days you’ve completed on The Orange Rhino Challenge, ie, “Elaine – Day 5, Take 1” or “Elaine – Day 1, Take 9”

The way I see it, you deserve to Toot your Rhino Horn just by participating. I can NOT say this enough. This is hard, hard, hard! Don’t discount yourself if you had a bad day. Instead, share and find support and advice (if you want it!)

So whether you’ve completed 15 days or are starting Day 1 over again (for the 9th time, like me in the Beginning), you deserve to post your name for everyone to see that you are trying to be an Orange Rhino. That you are trying to be a mom (or dad) who has the energy and determination to forge ahead and parent with more composure and warmth and without yelling!

Remember, each day is a new day…if you have a bad day, like I did on Day 1 Take 7, don’t beat yourself up. Just keep coming back to this page for the support. I’m getting the sense that you’ll, WE’LL, find it!

And always, remember,

“Act as if it were impossible to fail. That is the talisman, the formula, the command of right-about-face which turns us from failure towards success.”
~Dorothea Brande

There is NO FAILURE in the Orange Rhino Challenge. None. Only success. Any parent trying to love more is succeeding. Big time.

So please join me tonight and TOOT YOUR RHINO HORN!

TODAY is “The Orange Rhino Challenge Day!”

It’s here! If all goes well and I surive the next 14 hours of my 4 boys under 5 being awake then I will have successfully gone 100 days without yelling! Join me today and take the Orange Rhino Challenge…just for 1 day! It took me one day to be hooked, to realize not yelling was indeed something I could learn. Give it a try!

Comment below with your name to show your participation. Check in throughout the day here or on Facebook at

Good luck today!

50 Alternatives to Yelling at your Kids

99 days without yelling, 266 to go!!

Dear Orange Rhinos,

Let’s face it. I am no expert here. I don’t have a PhD in parenting. I don’t have a PhD in childhood behavior. I don’t have a PhD in therapy. The only PhD I have is that I am a Parent Holding Determination to find solutions to not yelling. On the eve of the 1st Orange Rhino Challenge Day ever I thought I would share a list of the top 50 fun, silly, serious and other things I have done the last 99 days to keep from yelling. Consider it a cheat sheet for not yelling…or a source of entertainment. Either way I hope you enjoy it!

50 Alternatives to Yelling at your Kids:

Fun Alternatives (Added bonus: I don’t yell and kids start laughing and changing behavior):
1. Run around the house  (adrenaline boost)
2. Start talking jibberish  (makes kids laugh and stop pummeling each other)
3. Start blowing bubbles  (relaxes me, reminds me of childhood and that I should CHILL OUT)
4. Get the camera  (forces me to see behavior wasn’t so bad)

5. Laugh. Even if you don’t want to.  (laughter is good for the soul)
6. Bang arms on chest like a gorilla  (a good release and a great entertainment for kids)
7. Put hand in front of mouth and pretend to “toot” a horn  (great attention getter)
8. Do Jump and Jacks  (releases positive chemicals or something like that!)
9. Do push ups  (see above)
10. Start clapping and keep going until the kids have stopped annoying behavior  (a good release)
11. Start drumming on table/counter until rage is gone  (a REALLY good release)
12. Start the Hokey Pokey  (silliness can snap anyone out of it)
13. Start a Dance Party  (adrenaline + fun, what’s not to love?)
14. Sing. I especially like “La la la, la la, la LAAAAA”  (it’s unexpected which works wonders)
15. Pretend to have Laryngitis  (silence also works wonders)

“I look like a Fool” Alternatives:
16. Yell into a Closet  (clothes don’t have feelings)
17. Yell into a Kitchen Cabinet  (cereal boxes don’t have feelings either)
18. Open up the freezer and put head in  ­(it cools me down and snaps me out of my mood and makes kids laugh)
19. Raise two hands in the air (it gets kids attention, like a warning signal that I’m about to blow)

20. Go to the bathroom and scream into the toilet, then flush it away  ( um symbolic?)

21. Shake body, arms and legs  (like The
Wiggles, Shake shake Shake your silly’s out)

22. Get on back and put legs and arms in the air and howl like a Dog  (yes, I did this, read here)

“I’ll be considered a bad parent” Alternatives:
23. Put the TV on for longer than normally feels okay at moments that are especially dreadful  (Sometimes TV is better than yelling, right?)
24. Have ice cream sundaes together  (Fun family activity makes me want to have fun, not yell)
25. Start the day with Orange Yogurt  (A very small food coloring goes a long way)

I don’t know how to categorize Alternatives:
26. Go to The Orange Rhino Facebook page and yell there…   (that’s what the page is for!)
27. Text a friend announcing you’re going to lose it  (hopefully he/she will say “don’t!!)
28. Set up phone calendar to notify you every 30 min to not yell.  (annoying but helpful)
29. Stare at something in room that you love.  (finding happy moments erases anger)
30. Ask your child WHY are you crying?  (the response will make you give a hug instead)
31. Ask your child WHY are you doing that?  (the response might make you understand behavior and make your desire to yell decrease)
32. Tell yourself “I won’t yell. I won’t yell.”  (Tricks you into believing you won’t!)
33. Say “I love you. I love you. I love you.”  (Hard to yell when you realize you love someone).

More Serious/Expected Alternatives:
34. Count to 10. Or 100. Or 1000 until you calm down.  (forces one to regroup and get perspective)
35. Walk away  (more opportunity to gain perspective)
36. Take a deep breath  (if one is breathing, one can’t yell!)
37. Whisper  (don’t know why this works, it just does!)
38. Turn the Lights off  (the shocking factor stops kids in tracks and adds calmness)
39. Eat  (Food in mouth, mouth can’t yell. major pros, major cons, um hello 5 pounds)
40. Keep a journal and write why you want to scream  (paper is a great listener)
41. Grab your hands together and squeeze (a great release)

How I remind myself not to yell:
42. Buy orange napkins and keep in the kitchen
43. Buy (or receive for Mother’s Day!) orange kitchen towels
44. Wear more orange (necklace, clothes)
45. Put orange post it notes all over the house ESPECIALLY where one is apt to yell

46. Print out Orange Rhino Logo, attach popsicle sticks and have Kids hold it up when crankiness starts

47. Get kids involved! Have them yell “ORANGE RHINO!!!” when they sense the volcanic eruption coming!

48. Wear an orange hair elastic around wrist

49. Place orange flowers in a vase in kitchen

50. Serve Orange Foods  (oranges, peaches, cheese, Cheez its, carrots)

So there you have it. 50 things I have tested in order to keep myself from yelling. Clearly, it has taken  A LOT of creativity. And A LOT of patience. And A LOT of self control. But hey, my kids are worth it. They totally deserve to be raised in a more loving environment.

ORANGE you glad you read this post? Sorry, couldn’t resist. I hope so. Good luck tomorrow!!! it’s just one day. You can do it.

“The Orange Rhino Challenge: I can’t yell for 365 days…but I can still pick me nose!”

For more details on The Orange Rhino Challenge click here. For more details on what The Orange Rhino is click here:

Remember, here is how to participate in the 1st Orange Rhino Challenge Day on May 17, 2012:

1)      “Post” your name to show your participation on the morning of May 17th in one of four ways: Post at The Orange Rhino Facebook Page ( , Comment on Thursday mornings Blog Post at , Email me, or Tweet me at ORchallenge. At the end of the day, Post AGAIN to say how the day went.

2)      Find Support and Give Support  throughout the day by logging on to your method of communication. Feel like yelling? Yell at me. Need advice on how to survive the day? Ask the community. Want encouragement? Seek it from us. This is a day for all parents who want to be Orange Rhinos, who want to be parents who have the energy and determination to forge ahead and parent with more composure and warmth and without the yelling!

3)      Get 3-5 friends to take this ONE DAY challenge with you. Why? Besides the fact that it will help you make it through the day if you text each other and support each other, instead of throwing a 100 day party for myself (and using the money I have saved from future therapy bills for my children!) I am going to DONATE $1.00 per person up to $200 to Habitat for Humanity for every person that participates. Why a charitable donation and why Habitat for Humanity? Well, truthfully, I feel like giving back. I’ve gotten so much out of this Challenge that it is time to give back. As for Habitat, well, if it weren’t for my being able to do home improvements to my house, I would never have had the Epiphany ( that started this Challenge in the first place.

4)    Change your FB Profile picture to The Orange Rhino Challenge image to spread the word and to get people asking you about what you are doing further getting you support! It’s amazing how people rooting for you can really help. Save this image below and upload to FB. If this doesn’t work, then this image is also on my blog. Go to This “button” is on the right. 







5)      Read the Following Posts about what defines yelling and some ways I have learned not to yell to help you (definition of yelling per this challenge) (inspiration to try) (my favorite source of help not yelling) (self explanatory!) (way not to yell, inspiration) (way not to yell, inspiration)