Original Challenge Details

When I started the challenge in January 2012, I set up some guidelines to keep me motivated and on track. Um, my mom told me they were a little over the top, and I ignored her but I know many of you feel the same! So here’s the thing. These Challenge Details worked for ME. Read them, take them in, embrace them or adjust them. Some people go for the whole 365 days straight, some go for 30 days, some for a week. Set details that work for you! And remember at the end of the day, it really is all about Yelling Less and Loving More™!

The Orange Rhino’s® Original Challenge Details:
No Yelling for 365 days straight. If I yell, I am back to Day 0. If I use a Raging Scream, then I am set back to -2 days. The “firm voice” and “oopsie snap” are permitted as is yelling in emergencies. More below…

Exactly what does “No Yelling” mean? Can I raise my voice? What if I accidentally snap, does that count as yelling? What about in case of emergencies? Clearly, some clarity is needed around my definition of yelling. So I crafted my own personal “Yelling Meter” (see below) and set the following rules for myself:

  1. My voice has to remain in Levels 0-4 (the nice tone voices!)
  2. In case of Emergency (kid running off in parking lot, kid running into street, hot stove etc…) I can use a voice in level 6 but it has to be yelling “to” the kid not “at” the kid. When you yell at someone, it’s mean. When you yell “to” someone it’s to get their attention. Said voice MUST be followed by firm voice in level 3 or below otherwise it’s no good.
  3. This one is the kicker. If Level 7 is ever used, I am set back not to 0, but by two days. This level is unacceptable as it is extra demeaning and hurtful….
The Orange Rhino’s YELLING METER

0 – The everyday voice. The “life is good,” I just love being a mom and having these little conversations voice. Serenity and happiness ooze out with every word. Signs: you think to yourself, wow, this is a nice moment, I think I’ll cherish it and you’re filled with hope that the day is gonna be a good one.

1 – The whisper. The quiet, almost non-audible voice that our pre-school teacher uses that somehow gets attention, respect and follow through. Signs: you can barely hear it and it works like magic.

2 – The re-direct voice. It’s a clear, loving and patient voice that does not show irritation for the situation at hand but instead gently expresses that you don’t like a behavior, why, and offers a new activity. Sign: When you use it you pat yourself on the back for successfully following advice from a parenting magazine, for once.

3 – The firm voice (potentially raised). This is the I am starting-to-mean business voice accompanied with occasional raised eye brows and introduction of idle threats. Signs:  you are still calm and there are no hurt feelings, but you’re wondering when (not if) you’re gonna snap and you are growing impatient, quickly. 

4 – The “oopsie” snap. Stop! Alright! Ouch! This snap is starting to get nasty, but hasn’t gotten there yet. It isn’t a long tirade, it’s just a quick sharp voice where you stop yourself…it’s just enough to make the kids stop what they are doing for a second and think whether or not they will continue annoying behavior. Signs: blood pressure is picking up a little, but you are back to calm quickly and think “oh sh*t I really didn’t mean to do that.”

5 – The nasty snap. Darnit! Knock it off!  Cut it out! This snap might be short, but it’s filled with venom. Signs: blood is starting to boil inside; vocal chords are warming up, preparing for a long tirade; you think to yourself “oh sh*t” was that a nasty snap? If you think it, it was.

6 – The yell.  It’s loud. You know it’s loud. And it’s mean. You simply know you’ve crossed the line, there is no question. Signs: kids tears are a pretty good indicator, as are doors slamming, kids screaming back at you that you’re mean and they don’t love you any more.

7 – The raging scream. A notch up from “the yell.” It’s totally intentional and is filled with much more nastiness, hurtfulness and hysteria – on both sides. Signs: body shaking, often hard to stop doing it; results in feelings of massive guilt and shame in the screamer (at least for me) and definite feelings of shame, sadness, and fear in the kiddos; throat throbs afterwards.


I know there are a lot of levels here. But given my much, much too much in-house market research on what it means to yell, I concluded it was necessary to break it all out. Lets hope I never have to refer to this page again…if I do that definitely means I screwed up. Rule of thumb: if I question my tone, it means it wasn’t a nice tone and therefore it is not acceptable.

Want to take The Orange Rhino Challenge with me? Click here to go to “Take The Challenge” for details on how you can join me or go to www.facebook.com/TheOrangeRhino

59 thoughts on “Original Challenge Details

  1. hi everyone I am mother of two 3and 2 and I am ashamed to say that I yell at them ,I can say it became a habit for me to yell my husband took some times for no reason.
    I am glad that I came across this blog I wanna take 1 month challenge to practice (not yelling loving more)and I pray God will give me strength to do that .
    thank you for doing this

  2. Wow! How did I get here? How did I end up needing to read this and take this challenge? I have never been a yeller. I have always been a patient and calm person. I remember my mom would yell and say she used to be patient and and I would ask why she was patient and kind to people she didn’t know but yell at us and she would not really have an answer. She would agree and say she gets tired of repeating herself. I completely understand what she means and how she feels. I also remember how I felt and was hurt and sometimes afraid. She was a wonderful mother and was kind and thoughtful and loving and the best I could ask for, but she would lose her patience and yell. I cant believe I am making my kids feel the way I did. And once you open that box, the yelling and out of patience box, it is almost like an addiction, it quickly became the first thing I did and not the last resort. I woke up one day and realized it is me making myself yell and not my children. A lesson I try to teach my daughter, the one where it is her choice, her decision to be in control and that she is the one making herself act like that, no on else. I have had a lot of struggles with her because she will have a temper tantrum, over something that I most of the time have not idea why, and can last for over an hour of screaming and throwing things. She has difficulty with expressing anger and we are working on teaching her how to control it and express it in a way that doesn’t harm her or others. Then I lose it eventually, sometimes taking her fit personal, which is my first mistake. Acting like, “how dare you treat me this way and act like this” A lot of times I can be calm and work through it and get her to calm down where we can talk about it and I feel successful afterwards, but at times I just cant handle it. Especially when I am trying to take care of my 19 months old twins. But that is not the only time I yell; when it takes ten times of me telling her to to something to get her to focus and listen, or when all of the kids are fighting, or even when I am just frustrated at how much stuff is on my to do list and chores are piling up (which is no where near their fault). Sometimes I yell to be louder than them so they hear me. It doesn’t work though. My oldest is a really smart and sweet girl. She is considerate and loves to play and laugh and learn, but she has an ornery side and a short fuse, kind of like her momma. We have found other (outside of the house) reasons for her fits, and as to why she has an “I dont have to listen to you” attitude and “give me what I want know” tone that would make you want to put her in check with a raised voice, a threat, and a finger waived in her face, but we are working to better those situations and be aware of them and either ignore or address it before its a full blown out rage, on both sides. She is getting better with age, but I have to be the best example to her. Being a child with a temper, she needs to have the best guidance now so she doesn’t became and easily enraged and out of control adult later. My other two children deserve a calm and patient mother as well. They do not try my patience as much as my oldest does, but they do try to have a fit here and there and they don’t always listen (they are toddlers and I don’t expect as much from them), but I have yelled at them and it just makes them cry and me feel bad and frustrated. My oldest just gets mad when I yell. I catch myself doing the “do what I say not what I do” speech at times. There are sometimes I listen to what I say and think “what does that mean? “or “why am i saying that?” “why am I yelling?”. “Am I just yelling to yell?”. “Whoa! Wait a minute! I am the one who needs a time out!” and then its too late to take back. Its a viscous cycle and I am so ready to be done! It is the hardest job in the world but the best job and I love being a momma. I have been working on not yelling, promising my self and my children that I will at least try to not yell anymore. Today while taking my daughter to pre-k I told her I was proud of her for doing so well this morning and getting ready quickly and she said to me, “And I am proud of you for not yelling” Bam, there it is. Proof, that what I say and how I act is noticed and felt and that its appreciated when I’m nice, just like it is for them.

  3. I am so glad I found this site I don’t even have words to describe it. Feels like a life line has been thrown to me. Tonight I had an epic yelling match with my 7 year old son and I’m pretty sure my yelling and ugliness are off the chart. He is so sassy and disprespecful lately and it is getting under my skin. In the moment my yelling seems so justified…. But afterward I feel like the worlds worst mom for not being able to keep it together. He’a a child, I’m an adult. What am I teaching him with my own behavior??
    I’m going to try this challenge even though I’m scared as hell.

  4. So here I find myself, late at night feeling terrible guilt for yelling today. I yelled at my kids and I yelled at my husband right as he was leaving for 3rd shift. I know its wrong because while I lay here, unable to sleep my mind attempts to justify it, “he talked back 10 times today” “she refused to eat and kicked me repeatedly as I changed her clothes”, “He blamed me for losing the keys when I know I wasnt the last to have them” but I still flop around in bed because there is no excuse for being so angry and it clearly didnt help me any, instead my family thinks im volatile. Instead ive hurt those that matter most to me. Im starting this challenge tomorrow. Im tired of being a hypocrite. Im starting with a ten day challenge. I worte a note to my husband asking him if he’ll help. If I can make it ten days he will give me 1 hr of his undivided attention . I hope he agrees and I really pray I can do this. Im ending this cycle in my family. Thank you for posting!!!!

  5. I started the challenge yesterday but I am now restarting…I have printed and laminated your ‘Yelling Meter’ to keep a check on my volume – I am not a quiet person by nature so turning my volume down may take some doing. Thanks for the inspiration and thanks in advance for the support!

  6. Sorry for the typos and grammar…again I’m stressed for time, I have to take my son the drs. as I write this. I really do know how to spell!

  7. Okay, hold the phone. I am the undisputed QUEEN of yelling, and I say this with no pride. I have been going through “the change of life” and losing my mind, literally. I am a SAHM of two kids, 17 and 9 1/2. Let me break down my yelling routine for you:

    My 17 yo makes me pull my hair out, obviously he’s 17. Getting him up for school in the morning makes me shudder because I inevitably turn into a drill sergeant, barking commands that just get louder and louder because all I hear is “I’m getting up, 5 more minutes mom, stop yelling!”. He gets up at 7:05, showers for, oh about, 25 min., gets dressed at a snail’s pace and leaves me 10 min., if I’m lucky, to get to his school which is about 15-20 min. away. Needless to say, I end up speeding to get him to school which turns into yelling again in the car because I’m totally stressed because he has to be in school before the third bell at 7:58!! This craziness happens EVERYDAY!!!! The other things that make me a maniac are homework and grades, both of which he takes in stride and that makes me even more insane. It’s an endless circle of crazy!!

    Now my daughter, she has special needs so you would think that in the patience department I should be a master. Well, no way in my world. Her world brings a whole new set of issues for me to stress about. Let’s see, she has no concept of time so I have to really plan out the day to accommodate her. Funny, I’ve never been able to get the hang of that, so yup, I yell because I’m always stressed for time. She is incredibly stubborn and very linear in her thoughts and speech, so I have to be careful in choosing my words and I can’t be spontaneous, everything has a routine. She doesn’t understand playful joking around or playful teasing either, so I can’t do that even though my son and I are masters of improvisation. She is sensitive to sound so whistling, clapping hands, snapping, or even singing is a no-no. If I forget any of this it turns into a boxing match of who can yell louder. She has a speech delay as well, and I know this is extremely frustrating for her. I do feel her frustrations with life, but somehow that all goes out the window when my “mid life mind” goes into overdrive.

    I love this sight and I’m so happy I found it. I am going to give this challenge a go. I think this is a brilliant idea and I’m really comforted to see that I’m not the only yelling, out of control mom out there. Thank you.

  8. HOLY MOLY! – here I thought I was loosing my mind – having people tell me I need anger management, a husband that tells you, you have issues maybe you need meds – ugh! Then I came across a wonderful article about the yelling, and the guilt thus leading me here – thank goodness, I don’t feel alone!

    We started a business when I was 5 months pregnant with our daughter – after birth, the stress of the business, post partum, menopausal, toss a couple of “out-laws” in the fray – I nearly lost my mind feeling like I was drowning and overwhelmed enough I just wanted to check out – my saving grace was my kids “who would take care of them” (certainly not the enemy!) My yelling (ugly-full of rage) had become too much not only for me (especially the guilt after) but for my kids – to see them fearful was horrifying.

    My daughter now 5 and my son 8 – were the ones apologizing to me for my out bursts towards them and the world – they would be better, listen more, not fight – they were becoming robots and not kids.

    I made a conscious decision and effort to step back (I’ve learned to breathe -A LOT). I’ve eradicated negative people from my life, the frequency the out-laws are over (I still tense up when they’re over) but haven’t denied our children from their lives.

    I will certainly pass this site along and thank you for making me feel I’m not alone!!

    • Quick add to this – my son gets angry and yells/screams now – we’ve devised a word “muskrat” or “platapuss” something silly to check ourselves and hope to turn anger into a laugh –

      Get the kids on board – have them make up a silly word, they’ll know when you’re getting worked up – we may be surprised how many times they will use it – just a thought….

  9. I have to be honest, when I first heard about this from a friend, i said, “C’mon, not yelling at your kids… what is this, parenting on eggshells?” But then I read your challenge details. I have been very calm and patient with my daughter, 9 months today, but I want to continue on that path and never have her shed a tear because she thinks I don’t love her or are angry at her for who she is, rather than unhappy with a decision she made or an action of hers.

    Yelling and screaming, especially the raging kind, imprints on your child’s mind like a photograph that exists forever. I think this is great…. I am going to do my best to do this challenge. You are awesome and an inspiration!

  10. Saw this last night and was so amazed to see that so many others shared the same feelings – despite all my good intentions I bombed spectacularly today and repeated the day that got me stumbling over this blog in the first place. Hate myself. Feel terrible. Wonder if I’ll ever go to bed not feeling guilty and promising myself to be a better mummy tommorrow. Have got to try and find the fight to try again in the morning – my gorgeous boys deserving nothing less than my best and I’m failing them.

  11. Wow! Better late than never, but I have been trying to stop yelling for several months now and have failed many times. Although I have also found various techniques to calm myself in the process. In really looking forward to trying your challenge and getting everyone involved and actually setting a timeframe to my goal! Thanks for the motivation and tips to keep this going and actually making it happen!

  12. I hope my mom finds this someday 🙁
    I don’t think she could do it though.

    But, good idea/challenge. I support all who are doing this 😉

  13. This whole idea is a wonderful idea that I want to start right away. I yell and after feel like a terrible person not only for yelling but hurting my daughter’s feeling. How do I set up a website like this to track myself?

  14. We are all human and not perfect. What I hope to instill in my children is that its ok to not be perfect and natural. I yell at times and not always appropriately. I apoligize and and share my feelings (grumpy, tired, sad, ect) and hope my kids will love me the way I love them unconditionally.

  15. Just came across your blog, and I am really good about not yelling at my son [most of the time] … but not so good with other people I care about, so I am going to take your challenge to change that aspect too.
    I have a [two part] quick question though:
    Do you have a download for the Yelling Meter? …and if not is it ok for me to make a copy for my personal file?

  16. Wow so much learning everyday!! I keep thinking that although I am not yelling I still see a bit of anger and sometimes rage when dealing with those around me who are irritating me or not listening! I know I need to change my tone and my attitude when Im irritated. If my tone is ugly and the things coming out of my mouth are mean then its the same affect as yelling! I need to be stricter on myself when it comes to giving myself days of credit!! Because this will help me to change not only yelling but also in the things I say and help me to make sure I am more aware of my triggers and why I get so irritated at the small stuff!! Im gonna learn this and Im going to succeed!!

  17. Love this meter printed it off and stuck it on my board in the kitchen nice and central so I will always see it and know 🙂

  18. I’m in. Scared as hell but yesterday was the breaking point. I can’t teach my kiddo to rein in his emotions if I can’t handle my own any better than I have been lately. I have given myself permission to have the adult equivalent of a temper tantrum at the expense of my child one too many times. I love the intention and specificity of this challenge. I suspect I will need to do this several times over the course of several years, but it starts now.

  19. Today, has been one of the toughest days of my life. I need to change. I have known this for some time, but change is hard. That and.. since I have been ill, my voice just can not do it anymore. It is exhausting yelling and getting no results. Not the ones I want. If I could just exhale a huge sigh, I would. But I can’t, so something has to give. I need to change.

  20. So as I’m printing my tracking sheet and yell meter and suggestions and all that … I yell at all 4 of my kids. *sigh* Clearly I need this Challenge in my life. I’m a 40 year old mother of 4 (two sets of twins no less — girls 10 & boys 4) and I suffer with depression and anxiety issues. My husband hates his job, I’m a Direct Sales rep for a jewelry company and crippled with fear to get my business going. We are broke and it’s summer vacay from school. Yell much? Yeah, I do. Thank you for posting this journey and being a support for those of us who don’t know where to start. My Blessings to you.

  21. Looking forward to this, sadly confess to sometimes being a yeller! So glad I found this, my hubby says he’s gonna do it as well!!

  22. My husband told me I was a lot nicer to him before we had kids ( I yell and get irritated with him most of the time).
    I yell at my kids and my husband almost everyday. It has got to stop- but it’s so hard! Glad I found this site though.
    I’ll try this challenge – and hopefully I won’t have too many set backs.

  23. I’m in. Completely, and starting right now (the kids are in bed- guess I’m setting myself up for some immediate success- lol!). I thought about waiting until tomorrow, or in a few days, once I can print the triggers forms, and study the levels, etc, etc…, but the truth is, I can’t believe I have let it go this long. I’ve been trying in my own ways to curb the yelling, and have had some successes, but with every failure the gravity of it hits home with more intensity. A friend posted a link to this on facebook, and it could not have come at a better time. I think this is just the kind of support that I need, to help inspire me when it gets tough, which I know it will. But there is nothing more important to me than my children, and no better time to change than right now. I love them so much. So, I’m in, and so grateful to have stumbled upon this gift.

  24. I just joined your challenge. I have known I needed to change for sometime now. I know now I have the support to do it. Today was the last straw for me. Today I did the rage yell. It was bad. Very bad. And I began my day in tears. Thank you for his challenge!

  25. My 5 kids are all grown now (22 to 30) but your challenge reminds me of something I told a friend in the early years of parenting, “I find that in the spring when I have my windows open I yell at the kids a lot less for fear of the neighbors hearing me. I wish we could have the windows open year round, I’d be a much better mother.” I really didn’t yell that much but I knew that I wasn’t happy with myself when I did. My kids are all nice young adults now 🙂

  26. I am trying to get in the right mind set to do this…I have to! My yelling and screaming is out of control. I have a very deffiant 4 y/o.

  27. I have 4 kids and I’m darn near a midget. I’m talking my oldest (6yr old) is just a tad bit shorter then me. I have a high pitched voice. My yelling starts with my ‘authoritative’ mommy voice but I get a wee bit pissed and it goes to yelling…or irritated and I start squeaking. Yes squeaking like a gosh darn mouse. None of the kids listen to me 95% of the time, the 5% they do daddy told em to. Will this work for me? I don’t want to yell but I feel like I have to for anyone to pay any attention!

  28. I like the idea a lot. I hope I am guessing right that the yelling at clause is non applicable in case of rape or other such harm from an individual?

  29. I’ve read through this and would love to try it, especially because my husband now calls me rage-o. I’m a little OCD and It’s that reason that I’m afraid that I’ll fail, but I’m willing to give it a try. Here goes!

    • Hi! I have a tad OCD in me too so I get your hesitance! Just go for one moment at a time…you can do this!!! It is definitely worth the try, right?! Good luck!

  30. I fell directly in a mud puddle last night, when I took a nose dive off the wagon. It was not my children that drove me to reach the intensity of 7 on the yelling meter… it was my husband. What makes it all ugly beside the intensity is that my 1 year old was present and it occur in the car.

    I felt trapped like a lioness in a cage, nowhere to go. I felt humiliated and could not believe I allowed my anger to rage in tone. So, now here I am – crying because I cannot take that moment back, but know with my husband there will be many more opportunities for me to blow my top.

    We are preparing to relocate from New York to Texas; the Army insisting we drive our vehicles… 33 hours, 3 children, 2 dogs, driving toward 2 months of temporary lodging (one bedroom, two beds, no kitchenette) with the knowledge that we will be moving yet once again in 10 months.

    What do you do when you feel trapped? Counting is not cutting it…

    • Oh, momma, you sound like you are PILED with challenges. Make your own rules. Start small. I JUST found this page three days ago. It is so the place for me. Grew up in a yelling house and I yell at my husband as much as the kids. I haven’t been in your situation, but I say keep coming to this network of support and start over as many times as you need to. Buena Suerte!

  31. I just found your blog and I love it! I only have a one year old who is very well behaved and listens pretty good unless he’s tired, and I am pregnant with our second baby. I hate yelling but am prone to it because it’s how I was raised. My husband and I are both bad about this, but I would like that to change before our kids are older. I pictured a lot of yelling in our future with our first 2 being only 17 months apart and planning on more kids, but now I know that not yelling is possible. I anticipate this being a go-to for support and encouragement while learning to be a patient loving parent. Thank you for this list, these levels are very easy for me to recognize and identify with.

  32. My husband and I sat down with our 3 children before the holidays and decided as a family that there would be no more yelling. My husband has been a model citizen of no yelling even at work. I on the other hand have failed miserably… I am feeling like a complete failure. I get set back to zero constantly. I met some moms for coffee this morning and venting my jealousy of my husband’s self control. One mom mentioned your blog and I am so excited to have some support. I, of course, lost it again today, but will try again tomorrow! Look forward on doing some research here to get me back on the wagon!!!!

  33. I signed up for this challenge about 5 months ago and failed multiple times over and over. Writing my goals down on paper and creating a support system around me has made it real for me this time around, and I already feel more accountable and aware of my actions. Previously I regret not taking the time to read through all your advice on starting this challenge. I’m so glad I did! I know I can do this and I’m grateful for all your posts; it makes me realize I’m not alone! It’s only been one day of not yelling but I already feel like a better mom. Thank you and Happy New Year!

    • Hello! I am so happy that you are still here 🙂 and that you are taking the challenge again. Change is soooo hard. It takes time. It takes several tries. Every try is just a new opportunity to learn more for the next time. Add me to your support system theorangerhinochallenge@gmail.com as I am rooting for you. You clearly want to change and that is fabulous. And by the way, you are SO not alone! I am glad you had 1 day of not yelling – just remember that when you want to quit. YOU CAN DO IT! Thank you for reading – that helps me more than you know! Good luck and happy new year to you too!

  34. Does the raging scream set back 2 days or to negative 2 days? I thought it was just sets back two days from where you are but am thinking now that’s not right.

    • Well, when I started out my thought that it was -2 days, ie. instead of being to 0 you are to -2. So after 2 days of not yelling you are back to 0. But this was my over zealous thinking as my raging scream was simply dreadful and needed to disappear stat…

  35. I was all ready to jump on board, and then I read your 0-7 definitions. I think I could manage to eliminate 6 and 7 (although it would take a LOT of self control and patience with my teenager). But, #5 – The “nasty snap”, sets you back to zero? Yikes! I’ll never make it to week 2! 🙁

    • Glad you found us. You have me laughing because I ready your note and was like really? no nasty snap? What was I thinking?!!!!!! I always tell people to create their own rules that are challenging enough to get them going by reasonable enough to keep them motivated. Adjust the rules to make it work for you! Here are some other ideas to for adjustment:


      I hope you give it a try – as I want to know what the future holds when my boys are teenagers! Will it be possible? If a mom of a teenager can do it, does that mean I will be able to keep not yelling?

  36. Better late than never? ABSOLUTELY! Welcome. If you scroll down on the Challenge Details page you’ll see the definition “7 – Raging Scream” To me, the big difference is the nastiness. When I used to do a raging scream I kind of felt like a raging lunatic. It took me a while to calm down afterwards, to get my heart rate down. Yelling I could snap back from easier, although the guilt was still there. These “rules” are what i needed to motivate myself. I encourage anyone trying this to set rules that will motivate them. Set yourself up to succeed. Maybe start with 3 days as a goal. And then 1 week. Have a read at the following post for some ways to get going:


    And yes, you are right. As simple as it sounds, not yelling is anything BUT simple. It takes practice, patience and a boatload of determination. Use the FB page for support. And email me whenever you need too 🙂


    Good luck!

  37. Pingback: 50 Alternatives to Yelling at your Kids | The Orange Rhino Challenge

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    • I bet you could. Read tonight’s post. I was thinking of you. I NEVER thought I could become a non yeller. I had kind of accepted it as part of me. Now that I am more of a non yeller, I can’t imagine ever going back…

  39. Pingback: “Stay Calm and … “ | The Orange Rhino Challenge

    • Thanks. It IS difficult…totally difficult but also totally worth it. Cross your fingers for me and spread the word. I’m hoping the more support I have the better chance I have! 

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