How do I get my toddler to listen without yelling?

Real Mom Problem

“My son is 3. He is so out of control. No amount of discipline has worked for him. I am at my wits end. I HATE that I yell at him all the time. It breaks my heart. I love him so very much I just don't know what to do.”

by jamiesmom1 jamiesmom1

Quick Tips

  • 1. Use discipline -- for example warnings followed by consistent consequences -- to stop the behavior before it escalates to the point of needing to yell
  • 2. Speak very softly in order to get their attention
  • 3. Give yourself a time out so you can calm down before your frustration gets the better of you

Real Mom Solutions

No mom wants to be the "yeller," right? Okay, sometimes you've got to raise your voice to be heard, but yelling all the time will just exhaust you and hurt your throat. Your kids won't listen unless you yell? See how the moms of CafeMom handle yelling -- or not yelling.

Not Yelling is Worth the Extra Effort

  • lcbowman

    I work very hard to not yell. I have found it is 1) Not very effective, and 2) Only increases the noise level. I have found it is much more effective to get face to face with the offender and talk in a quiet but firm voice. I must admit it has taken me years to get to this point but my home is much quieter and calmer now that I have.

  • JasonsMom2007

    Not yelling is hard but it works! When my son misbehaves I say "That's 1." He misbehaves again and I say "That's 2." Last time, "That's 3, go to your room." No yelling. Yelling = power and your son is happy to see that he has that kind of power over you. My son comes out of his room when he is ready to obey. We talk calmly about what he did (because we have both cooled down) and move on with our day. It's really teaching him to take some space when he needs it and that yelling is not the answer.

Sometimes Yelling is the Only Way

  • kris112280

    I think every kid is different and every situation is different. I just try to go with what works for her and I really do try not to yell but sometimes that is the only way she hears me.

  • jaimicarroll

    I know most of the time I talk calmly to my daughter and it often works, but sometimes you just have to raise your voice to get their attention. No reason to feel bad about that at all.

  • bryawidz

    Sometimes the only way my 2 year old will listen about certain things is if I yell. I'll start off calmly, but sometimes he just won't listen until I yell. You are a good mom for making your child listen, even if it means you have to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee after screaming so much your throat hurts.

Simply Stop Yelling

  • ddhb2007

    So, stop yelling. Seriously. Her attitude will start to change as you start to calm down. I've found that the calmer I am, the better behaved my child is. Start looking for a way to release your frustration before you start yelling. Once you start yelling, you've lost the battle for control of the situation. The CHILD has won if they push you to that point.

  • MrsPilat

    I know it's hard but the best approach I've found with my daughter is NOT losing my cool and NOT yelling. It only escalates it. You need to get down to her level and TALK or even whisper to her.

  • riotgrrl

    Instead of yelling just give him a consequence if he doesn't listen. Consequences work a lot better than yelling.

Don't Beat Yourself Up for Yelling

  • sailorgirl12

    Children are amazing in the way they forgive and unconditionally love. And the fact that you feel bad about yelling, does show what a good and loving mom you are. Keep strong and just keep loving your child!

  • JP-StrongForTwo

    Don't listen to any mom who says 'I never yell at my kids' because it's NORMAL to want to yell at your kids once in a while. We love our children. We try NOT to yell too much. But to NEVER yell out of frustration or anger, is just impossible.

  • hottmommi42

    If you feel like there are areas in your parenting that could use some improvement, then you are absolutely not a bad parent. That actually makes you a good one. I have learned that I need to start taking better care of myself (eating more frequently, going for walks, reading things I enjoy) because when I don't I am the evil mom.

Try These Mom-Tested Strategies

  • Laura61377

    I have to tell my son to do things 3 or more times. On the rare occasions that he does help on the first try, I make sure I tell him "thank you for being a good boy and helping mommy." I'm hoping that the positive reinforcement will help him pay more attention.

  • AHmom103

    I yell sometimes, but only enough to get my oldest daughter's attention. After I know she's paying attention to me, I have found that being very quiet, almost whispering, seems to have a better effect than yelling does. Like she's thinking, "Uh oh, mom's whispering, I'm about to get in big trouble."

  • SMTCMMoore

    I sometimes end up yelling too but try really hard not to because it does nothing. Ignoring seems to be better, I calmly remind of the rules and then ignore if he's throwing a fit about discipline. He hates to be ignored!

  • Oneatatimemommy

    I have turned into a yeller as well. For me, her whining triggers the yelling. I am working on it. I just put her in her room to throw her tantrums and let her out when she is calmed down. Usually by the time she is calmed down, I am too and we can discipline as normal for her behavior.

  • corrinacs

    When my son gets to the point where I'm yelling and he's just not listening, I walk away. I tell him he's not getting any help from me and that usually shakes his rattle enough.

  • NearSeattleMom

    Try to redirect her and give her consequences before you get to the point of yelling. Be as consistent as possible.

  • RobynS

    If you're yelling all the time, they learn to tune that out, which leaves you even more frustrated. Try to reserve yelling for something really important, like stopping her from running into a busy street, for example.