I Yelled At My Kids…Again!

On January 20, 2012, I promised my kids I would go 365 days straight without yelling at my four boys, then ages five-ish and under. It took me a few starts and re-starts but finally…

On February 6, 2013 I celebrated one year of not yelling! I didn’t stop there though, I kept going. Not yelling had become so easy, okay, so much easier, and the calmer, quieter, home and the calmer and happier mommy and kids made me naturally want to never yell again. So I didn’t.

That is until July 12, 2013 when I lost my cool and screamed bloody murder at my sweet kiddos.  The stress of my life had simply gotten to me and instead of unleashing my growing anger into a freezer or a toilet as I had taught myself to do, and instead of calling a friend to share and unload, I unleashed my anger and unloaded complete unnecessarily at my kids. But alas, I had made it 520 days straight without yelling and found solace in that accomplishment. So I picked up myself, determined to not yell for 520 days or more, and started again.

Kind of.

I started again, but my determination kept on getting defeated by the stress of life.

Sadly, I haven’t been able to get that 520-day streak going again. I go a month or so and then break the streak. Then I go another month, maybe a few weeks, or even a few days, and I yell. Big time. And every time I yell I feel like a failure, one gigantic, big, ugly, loud failure. And I feel like a sham, one gigantic, big, ugly, orange sham.

I think it is time for this sign to become a staple in our house again!

You see, every time I yell, every time I don’t take any of my writing to heart and instead slowly re-wound my kids hearts with my words, and re-wound my own heart with intense criticism, I feel that all I am doing is eroding the truth behind everything I have written. Every time I yell, I feel that I bring into question the validity of all the lessons I have learned on my “no yelling” journey. Every time I yell, I feel that I really didn’t figure out how to “yell less and love more” at all because if I did, then I wouldn’t be yelling!

And every time I yell, I feel like I want to run and hide from you all because I feel like the biggest farce.

That was, until recently.

On Sunday, December 22nd I completed my first spin workout in four months. As expected (and hoped), forty-five minutes of sweating sweat away everything that had been clouding and weighing down my mind for months, freeing my mind to do what it loves to do: ponder challenges until a revelation has been made. That Sunday morning, one song pushed me to ponder if I was indeed a “sham” or if everything I wrote was indeed “genuine.” As I pushed the wheels around and around, literally and figuratively, one thought became clearer and clearer. Okay two.

First, I was wicked out of shape, like holy smokes out of shape.

And second, and way more importantly, I, The Orange Rhino, wasn’t a wicked liar and my writing wasn’t a sham! In fact, it was the opposite. That Sunday morning it donned on me that my problem wasn’t that all the insights, lessons, and steps to not yell that I wrote about were wrong, but rather, that they were all indeed right and I just wasn’t embracing any of them! I wasn’t yelling at my kids because I didn’t actually know how to “Yell Less and Love More,”

I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…taking care of me to keep me in a good place to avoid growing anger, resentment and frustration.

I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…asking for help and instead trying to do everything by myself despite my physical and mental limitations, which only set me up to be fried and unable to stay cool.

I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…talking positively to myself and saying that I can yell less, but instead I saying that I am a failure and a sham. (Um yeah, such negative talk is a sure way to not succeed!)

I was yelling at my kids because I also wasn’t…talking positively to my kids to inspire positive behavior. I spoke critically, forgetting that they respond better, like much better, to kind words and a calm voice.

I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…tracking my triggers to discover new ones. Kids change, life changes, triggers change. I knew that. I knew I needed to re-evaluate and come up with new solutions to manage my triggers, but I didn’t want to take the time. So instead I started “paying time” vis-à-vis increased frustrating behavior from my kids as a result of my increased yelling. (The more I yell, the worse their behavior is.)

I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…forgiving myself on days I yelled, but dwelling instead. The more I dwell, the more I yell. It’s that simple.

I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…celebrating any moment I did succeed, but rather just reminding myself that I had more to achieve.

I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…focusing on a goal because well, I didn’t set a new, meaningful goal to motivate me.

And I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…being modest. I had “succeeded” so I assumed I had the “not yelling” thing in the bag and I let my guard down. And while I did have the tools down, I still needed to be mindful to keep them top of mind; I didn’t need to get over confident that I could just succeed.

So yeah, I wasn’t yelling at my kids because I didn’t know how, I was yelling at them because I wasn’t doing what I needed to do in order to yell less and love more. How can I be sure of this? Because the last two weeks since this realization I have re-embraced some of these lessons and the yelling has already gone down which is really good news. Not yelling at my boys is just too important to me to let it continue! In these last few months of more yelling than I like, but significantly less than before I took the Challenge, I can sense the decreased calmness, joy, and cooperation in the house as a result of my yelling. And I don’t like it. And I don’t like myself for it! Life not yelling felt better, in so many ways. So for the first time ever in my life, I am making a New Year’s Resolution…on New Year’s Eve!

2014 will be the year I return to being an Orange Rhino. Full stop. Period.

Hoping to see one of these after I kick tomorrow’s day in the a..

I will achieve this by doing all of the above that I have lost sight of, most importantly, by forgiving myself, and not yelling at myself, if I slip up. Yelling at my kids less has to, and does, start with yelling at myself less. And likewise, loving my kids more starts with loving myself more. Full stop. Period.

Changing is hard.
Not yelling is hard.
Making a promise to do the above, is hard.
Mistakes will happen.
Moving forward and achieving my goal will only be harder if I don’t forgive myself along the way; if I don’t love myself along the way.

So love myself more, forgive myself more, I will.

Will you?
Are you with me?
Please say yes because I am going to need as much support as I can find!

If you want to Yell Less and Love More with me, here are a few other resources that might help you get started.

* NEW! “Yell Less, Love More” the book! The book was published one year after this post. Notice the title…Yell LESS, not never 🙂 I am an Orange Rhino, but I am also human and as this post alludes to, life happens and so do yells. It’s okay! The key is to forgiving yourself and getting as many loving more moments as you can. It’s a 30-day guide to help you create your own motivational goal filled with honest stories to inspire, simple steps to follow, and 100 alternatives to yelling.

* Forget 365 Days (Create your own goal and remember that any moment not yelling, no matter how big or small, is a success!), click here
* 12 steps I roughly followed to stop yelling, click here
* Top alternatives to yelling, click here
* Top things I learned about yelling, click here


* Click here to join the community ready and willing to support you!

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44 thoughts on “I Yelled At My Kids…Again!

  1. This is great. I’ve just got back from holiday where I have watched my sister in law be the queen of calm when her little one. I felt so rubbish as I know I yell. Having read this I have talked to my little boy about shouting and we are going to take it one day at a time and reward ourselves each time we succeed.

  2. This was refreshing to read. As woman and mothers we are SO hard on ourselves. I admire that we are as a group striving to be better, but we need to remember to celebrate the victories no mater how small, not wallow in the failure. Taking care of ourselves is a major step to being a better wife and mother! Thanks for your honesty!

  3. What a fabulously wonderful person you are. It is so very rare to see someone talk about possibly “going back on” all they have written about before. You are publically saying yes I have done something I am not proud of and something I have pubically said I am trying not to do. That is truly hard. You are inspiring and, well, just brilliant. I am not particularly articulate so I hope this comes across correctly.

    Everything you said is me. I am taking so much away from this post. Especially “I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…tracking my triggers to discover new ones. Kids change, life changes, triggers change. I knew that. I knew I needed to re-evaluate and come up with new solutions to manage my triggers, but I didn’t want to take the time. So instead I started “paying time” vis-à-vis increased frustrating behavior from my kids as a result of my increased yelling. (The more I yell, the worse their behavior is.)” Also – “the more I yell the more I dwell”, so me.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am with you!

  4. You struggle like most of us, and that makes you more real to us. You are also strong enough to admit it, and that makes you an inspiration to us.

  5. This is my first visit to your blog, and I thank you for your honesty. A couple years ago, I went about a year without yelling at my children and then, like you said, I just let my stress back in and didn’t check myself and I have undone all the hard work I did before. I actually just wrote a big long post on my own blog about my resolve to stop again, and then I went looking for ways to do that which is how I landed here. Thank you.

  6. I am with you Orange Rhino – you are human and sometimes we all need to just go back to the basics. Every day of no yelling is a victory!

  7. Thank you for a very honest post….its really what I needed. I embraced your site some months ago and then things just fell apart…the control was gone, life took over and then life threw some terrible tragedies which made the yelling worse. Anyway, someone said something about the screaming and it really hurt…made me feel so low coz I know I shouldn’t yell…so I visited your site again. And it was a gift to read your post as its what I needed to get myself back on track and believe in myself, not just berate myself!
    Thank you and good luck to you!

  8. You are such an inspiration! I, too, have made the goal this year of not yelling at my children. I have a few friends that are joining me on this “heart transplant project” as we are calling it. Because it really is a change of heart that we are adopting. Thank you so much for being just the inspiration that we need to get us through. We will keep following your blog all year (and probably long after) to help us too. Hang in there. Your words and actions truly help! What a great thing you have done to not only change your habits and family life, but also those around you:) I will be eternally grateful:)

  9. How many times I promised my kids that I won’t yelled at them and I can’t keep up !!!!!!! I’m a failure!!! I hated myself! I don’t deserve to have this beautiful family!!!!! I’m a looser!

  10. Just found this through a friend and I am both humbled and relieved. I am also inspired and ready to do this. The Holy Spirit is my strength without whom I couldn’t do anything good. What a blessing! Praise God! All glory to Him!

  11. Orange Rhino – you just made me cry !!! …. in a good way.

    Your honesty is truly inspiring and to publically share your thoughts and emotions with all of us helps me to try and be a better mummy. We really must love and care for ourselves in order to love and care for others (easier said than done, I know).

    All the mummy’s in the above replies – thank you for your honesty too. Dianne is right – it’s a new year and a new start. We’re not alone. We’re doing our best.

    Let’s all remember our kids hearts are full of love and forgiveness for us.

  12. Yes! Yes! Yes! I am with you. I’ve had several restarts since I began your challenge in November, but I’m on my longest streak of 12 days. Positive self-talk is vital because yelling is a vicious cycle of losing our cool, yelling and then steeping in guilt over it which causes us to be grumpy (to put it nicely) and yell more.

    I think you’re succeeding as long as you keep trying. Yes, I have a goal of 30 days, but whether I get there or not, there is still a whole lot less yelling in this house and plenty more love and good feelings. So here’s to you and a new year of no (at least much less) yelling!

  13. I love your blog. I’m not much of a blog follower but I find yours inspirational. I’m a yeller through and through, my kids are ticking time bombs with each other which usually sends me yelling over and over. Turns out 2 weeks ago I got a proverbial slap to the face by my 9 yr old. I was at my wits end with their fighting when I said ” I don’t know what to do anymore” and my 9 yr old daughter looked at me and said ” mom you don’t punish us, you yell, and yelling isn’t punishing”. Ok then back to the drawing board. So as the new year begins, I am starting project Orange family Rhino so that we all embrace love more and yell less. Thank you for giving me the tools and faith that I can do this.


  14. I came across your blog sometime last year and it made an impact on me I remember. I smiled and thought how nice. My life went on. Most of the time things are cool around here. But I have 2 little guys (age 3 and 6) and more often than not things are loud. Recently they have been yelling at each other and for some reason that makes me crazy. Crazy! Ugh. JUST this morning I screamed my head off in the midst of their fighting and yelling at one another. It wasn’t pretty. I totally lost my cool. I immediately thought of this blog and came back. You’re in my feed reader now, I am not usually one for resolutions but if I were then this would be mine. Let’s do this thing.

  15. Just a thank you from another mom who has trouble controlling her mouth with her little boy. I agree that we should not dwell but forgive and ask for forgiveness, but dwelling on the problem was what brought me to your website in the first place, so God can work even that for good! I came back to your blog in November after a bad yelling time at my house and my heart goes out to you and your life and family struggles this past year. Since then I had been making a real effort to not yell, which totally fell apart today so that my little boy covered his ears. Thanks for your honesty and your determination. Looking forward to starting again with you and many others!

  16. I’ma with you! 2013 was a fabulous year but horrible year for yelling and awful words spoken to our 3 little men (ok to 1&2 as 3 was born in Oct!) I brought orange post it’s y’day and have one with 1-10 near my sink and one with “Keep calm, no yelling, more cuddles, more listening” on the fridge…I’m about to hunt out some newborn pics for their doors today!!!!

  17. Yes!!! I accept the challenge. Thank you for being REAL. I think the issue of yelling as moms is very common, but we all feel ashamed, so we keep quiet about it.

  18. Dear Orange Rhino~
    I feel sorry that you’ve been having such a hard time. I should have known, as I have too, and I think we are on similar parallel journeys. I just want to say that I’m proud of you for admitting the ‘failures’ and I want to say I love you and think you are doing a great job, and that you are still an inspiration, maybe even more so. I have been having a hard time in my life as well, and am glad to be here on the first day of January, 2014, making a commitment along with you. For me, it’s to stop feeling sorry for myself, and to make the effort to reach out to people even when I’m afraid of being rejected. I know that bonds of friendship need to be worked on and built, and that they can support us in times of trouble. I wish you well, and me too. I was just thinking again about your husband, and wondering if he is one of your biggest triggers. That’s an area that is big for me, and as you know, I think it’s one of the main challenges we women face: the marriage boulders, as you call them. Anyway….I am sending you my best wishes for your best intentions to bear fruit. Robin

  19. I have missed you OR. it has taken much courage for you to come back here and speak your truth. Thank you for being that brave. I love you!!

  20. Yeah, I made a resolution this morning I wouldn’t yell at my kids anymore…..and lasted until about 3pm when I snapped (loudly and unnecessarily) at a fussy eater. Start again!

  21. Yes! Lovely post! Of course, I don’t think that you’re a failure becuase you yelled. It can happen to everyone and I think it is important not to let it get to you- becuase it can hinder you reach your goals. But I admire your strenght and commitment- I also try to yell less and so far I am doing well!

  22. You nailed it. I yell bc I’m not taking care of me and I’m not talking positively to myself. Actually, I beat the shit out if myself and I need to stop. Thank you. Your words hit home. I’m right there with you.

  23. You can do this! You CAN. I believe it. And if you fail, it IS okay too. The thing with failing is that you must learn. So if you go four months then have a breakdown, no worries. Just learn something from it. Learn how to avoid it, how to handle it relevant to the situation, etc. Slowly you will get there. It’s like dieting in that it’s healthiest to loose weigh at a slow pace. It means you are making lifestyle changes and the chances of you keeping it off are even greater.
    Please remember we are our own worst critics. People aren’t perfect. I have learned to just try my best and to accept whatever cones out of that-sometimes not the outcome I want.
    Lastly, give yourself a break. Taking care of kids–I have two that are 4 and 9 months-is a heck of a job. I mean seriously. You are a saint for raising four boys. Mother’s are often taken for granted, I believe. They sacrifice the most for the family.
    Keep your head up, a hand on your shoulder and try your best. No matter what happens we fans and followers of yours are proud of you.

  24. I am making this a priority for 2014. I have 3 special needs/differently abled treasures that deserve so much more then I give them. I am praying that this will be just what I need to finally nip the yelling in the bud. So thankful for referral to this site. I already tried the hug in the middle of the chaos & it worked like a charm twice. Looking forward to more ideas,support, & assistance with this major challenge!

  25. Oh. This makes so much sense for why I can’t even go one day without yelling at my siblings. Most definitely not tracking, most definitely not taking care of myself.
    Time to change together!
    This has definitely helped a lot, and I’m glad to be able to support you. This website has already helped me enormously when I think about yelling, but still room to grow!
    *using force voice* You will be successful the new year….

    I’m also getting into track (aka finally exercising) and am outta shape, so with you there!

    Thank you for publishing this site tho, and thank you for continuously posting. It really helps people, I can attest to that.

  26. You post things right when I need them. ..I’m going to dedicate 2014 to not yelling. Christina Perry has a new song out called Human. Making a mistake or having a setback only shows we are human. Our kids love us anyway. They see we are trying And this lifestyle is making us stronger.

  27. I’m definitely with you. My no yelling challenge has been so difficult so far. I’ve been trying for a week and haven’t made it more than a few days at a time so far =( I’m really going to need the help and support of this community to change this coming year.

  28. I am with you. I too want to love my self more so I can teach my kids to love themselves more. I need to be the example I want my kids to live up too. Let’s love ourselves together <3

  29. Thank you for your honesty. I believe that life is about being honest. About admitting our mistakes…but, more than that, it is about being “real”…it is not so much the “slip” back into old behavour that counts, but about what we do next…model to our children that we/they are all children…but you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, forgive yourself (as you so wisely stated) and begin trying again. Have a wonderful 2014…challenges and all.

  30. YES YES YES! I will be along the journey with you. First part of 2013 was not too bad for me as a mama but the second half, holy moly, could really do with a restart!

  31. I really needed to read this. I mean…REALLY needed to read this! This is everything I have been feeling lately, and I really felt all alone in it. I haven’t even had the desire to keep up on my own blog because all I keep doing is failing, and documenting those failures just bummed me out even more. I know I just need to try harder to keep up with it, and to also do my best to take better care of myself. Thanks for sharing this, and I hope you have a very Orange and Happy New Year!! =D

  32. You ate am amazing inspiration. I am taking the same view, to stop yelling. Life isn’t perfect, we as humans are not perfect, but you hit the nail on the head, to stop yelling at them, we need to stop yelling at ourselves. To live them more, we need to live ourselves more. Thank you for being here. I’m right here in Seattle, wa, and going to continue this journey if self growth and calm love.

  33. I have had a rough 6 months. My yelling has started again. I am pregnant with my 4th and my no yelling journey has been super bumpy!! I will join you!!! I need help! I wish we had a 30 day refresh challenge! For those of us that have started this journey, done the 30 day challenge before and need refreshers. I know we can do this!!! Happy 2014!! A year of no yelling!!

    Twitter: @mrsjtpreston 🙂

    • Joanne,

      Just read your post. I too am pregnant with my fourth. My others are 4, 2, and 1. This is going to be a crazy hard journey, but I am going to win, it may be bumpy, but I will win!

  34. You are not alone!

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience. It isn’t easy to admit that behind close doors we can let out all the pressure that the outside world piles on us all at once. Our kids tend to be the target of our misguided stress induced explosions BUT it does take a lot to recognize that we need to regroup and you have certainly done so with this journey. You are not a failure. You are human and a good one at that. There are parents doing far worse things to their children beyond yelling at them – put on the news this evening. I am sure you will here about at least one tragic story.

    I am so glad that I came across your blog. I have felt like the worlds worst mom at times yelling at my seven year old and having her say heart wrenching things like “mommy are you going to yell at me when we get in the car?” with a look of terror on her face… but in this community I have learned that I am not the only “human” that has misguided her stress bombs.

    The older she gets the easier it gets but there are those moments when no matter how many times you ask them to do, or not do, something they ignore you and it feels like yelling is the only way. You ask calmly, you are patient and it seems that they take this for granted and it isn’t until you scream that they finally understand. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t run into this but we live in a place where every day is a challenge and its how we respond to the challenge that makes us who we are. I think we can all follow you lead and not break down every time this happens and do our absolute best to never let it happen, but if it does happen, it doesn’t make you crazy or give you a need to doubt yourself and bring yourself to a place where you’re loading up another stress bomb.

    I completely agree and relate to you about taking care of yourself first. If you’re not ok, no one else around you really will be. You must be your best self and they will respond positively. We lose sight of this.

    I have decided to not make empty New Years Resolutions tonight but to be smarter about the way I live my life each day and this in turn will bring on many positive things toward me. I am sure you can relate.

    Thank you again. You have made a difference not only in my life but for my daughter, hubby and surrounding family. They thank you as well 😉

  35. I really could relate to this post. I had my fourth child almost 7 months ago and had post partum depression. Yelling was every day for me and that is why I sought out this blog. I found that by taking the steps for self care and learning ways to channel my feelings, has really decreased the yelling without having to really try that hard. I recently joined the gym and that has been paramount in how I feel about myself and then that translate into how I interact with my children. Focusing every day on mind, body, and soul have left me more peaceful with my children. Thank you for your candid posts, they are much appreciated I am sure by all your followers!

  36. Hooray for you and hooray for all of us!

    It’s a brand new year. A brand new start. And you are as genuine as they come, my dear. Thank you for being so. This honesty you’ve shared right here will help make many, many households more peaceful in 2014.

    Good luck, all Orange Rhinos!


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