Family & Parenting

How To Get Child To Listen Without Yelling? | Parenting Advice

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Last Updated: Feb 28, 2018

Shouting at the top of your lungs will not help you change your child’s bad behavior, according to experts who have attempted to find out how yelling affects a child. The studies show that the effect can backfire on your child’s self-esteem in the long run. Worse, your frequent angry yelling can damage your relationship with your child. This article will show you practical tips on how to get your child to listen without yelling.

How Do You Impose Discipline Without Hurting Your Child’s Feelings

While traditions, customs, and even family practices generation after generation may make it seem normal to use harsh forms of discipline, including the use of verbal abuse, physical force or, the combination of both, experts have been shedding light on the subject. New studies have demonstrated why you should stop yelling even when you are dealing with a difficult child. These studies back up the idea that dealing with behavioral problems do not always require an iron hand after all, a handful of which are detailed below:

A study published in the journal, Child Development, in 2013, found that children between the ages 13 and 14 demonstrated conduct problems and depressive symptoms in relation to harsh verbal punishments received from their mothers and fathers. The conclusion was reached after observing 976 two-parent families and their children, with ethnicity consisting of European Americans and African Americans. The researchers further shared this insight: “…some parents feel that no matter how loud they shout, their teenagers do not listen… Indeed, not only does harsh verbal discipline appear to be ineffective at addressing behavior problems in youth, it actually appears to increase such behaviors.”

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A study conducted by researchers at the  Institute of Psychology of the University of Würzburg and which was published in 2017 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, found that scolding at children or, other forms of punishment, will not correct ill behavior but instead, cause children to do it over and over again.

Punishment, according to this experiment’s findings, is not sufficient in correcting bad behavior. Parents, researchers said, also had to make sure that their actions are well understood and that a clearly more beneficial alternative is offered as a more viable, more acceptable option.

A 2013 review of studies concerning the affliction of corporal punishment to raise children according to a set of disciplinary standards has found evidence from earlier studies that “children who received physical punishment were more likely to experience anger related problems, physical aggression, marital dispute, problems with substance use, involvement in violence and criminal activities”.

A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology in 2003 observed 325 families and how harsh parenting affected children’s emotion. The emotion researchers who conducted study concluded that, “children transfer negative emotional response strategies they have acquired from parental punitive emotions to other contexts, resulting in incompetent social behaviors”.

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What Things To Do (And Not To Do) When Imposing Discipline On Children

What does punishment and verbal abuse do to your child? The studies detailed in the previous section have confirmed that resorting to harsh behavior management techniques for challenging behavior, including scolding at your child results to the following effects:

  • It stresses your child, sometimes to the point of driving him or her to experience depression.
  • It increases your child’s tendencies for substance abuse and many forms of aggression.
  • Your child fails at his personal relationships and experiences difficulties when dealing or negotiating with other people in his or her network, including throughout his or her adult life.
  • Your child loses his or her self-esteem.
  • Your child does not learn the standards of discipline that you are teaching and, in fact, ill behaviors can magnify or increase in intensity.

So, how do you correct your child’s ill behavior and not cause undesirable behaviors to persist by your actions? Better parenting advice is offered by these 6 Top Tips that will make you a peaceful parent with a happy kid, and still instill your brand of discipline without taking out “love” from the equation:

Related: Taming The Beast Of Bad Parenting- How To Overcome It

Tip No. 1: Keep to your limits and remember to validate emotions.

Set your limits, keep these in mind, and practice these all the time. In some countries where corporal punishment, including spanking, are prohibited by law, your limits to disciplining your child have already been set and, remember that violations are penalized. Of course, you can always go beyond what has been inked into law to impose more limitations on yourself, including minimizing the yelling, and to never curse or result to name-calling.

When you’re mad, cool your head before you deal with your difficult child. When you’re ready to talk, keep reminding yourself to stick to the facts and have a direction. Stay on the problem at hand and refrain from recalling past wrongdoings that are not connected to the current problem or, that have already been resolved. Make sure that your child understands why you are mad, even when he or she is only 5 years old or less.

Tip No. 2: Be ready to adjust your expectations.

As a parent, you must admit that, many times, you feel frustrated because of unmet expectations. Remember that there is also such a thing as age-appropriate behavior standards that you must consider. Over time, if you are consistent and, perhaps, if you become more successful in learning how to be a better mom and not yell, consistency and reinforcement will eventually get your child to the level of standard that you require.

Tip No. 3: Don’t get yourself angry with small things.

An almost instantaneously rewarding tip on improving how to deal with a screaming toddler is for you to be selective on what specific instances will you allow yourself to become mad and disappointed. If you can allow yourself to live with the liquid spills on the kitchen floor and the chocolate marks on your child’s shirts then, you won’t just be making your child happier but also make yourself healthier at the same time. Focus on ill attitudes and do not allow yourself to be ticked off by mundane misgivings.

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Tip No. 4: Try to connect with kids before making a request.

A child has a busy mind that processes all the sensations around him or her with quite an intensity, and you could be a distraction. Get your child to listen to what you have to say by entering that small world in his or her small head. Refrain from delivering a litany. Again, stick to the point, and keep it short, firm and simple. Refrain from threatening your child, such that, “if you do this, then…” Also, learning how to apologize to your child for yelling can help build trust and a better connection between your child and yourself.

Tip No. 5: Ask questions but don’t interrogate.

A lot of teenagers hate it when they’re asked too many questions. Get smarter. Know exactly what questions to ask that will give you the answers that you need. Watch yourself and your manner of asking. Don’t nag.

Tip No. 6: Offer warning when it is needed.

However, this may not always be an effective strategy for younger kids, and it may help for you to learn how to deal with screaming toddler and dealing with toddler tandtrums before you can effectively communicate with them. Older children, however, will be able to understand warnings, and will respond even to a change in the tone of your voice. In some cases, you may have to explain the consequences and make them understand why these are not good.

Related: Is Feeding Your Picky Toddler Hard Task? Well Mommies Try These 14 Tips


Yelling, obviously, does not solve anything. Discipline offers challenges for kids and you as a parent as well. Communication goes both ways. If you want your child to listen to what you have to say, you have to listen too, and be able to “hear” even the words that he or she is not saying.

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