Mum’s despair: “Please tell me how to stop shouting at my child”

Posted in Family.

Parenting is hard work sometimes. It can bring out the best and worst sides of absolutely everyone. 

“Please tell me how to shop shouting”

Just ask, @Charliehumana. The overwhelmed mum of a 7-year-old boy who poured her heart out on the Mumsnet forum recently.

“Please tell me how to shop shouting (screeching!)” she wrote in her post, clearly distressed by the impact her behaviour was having on both herself and her son.

“I start just raising my voice and end up horrendous. Right in his face, screeching and yelling trying to shock him out of it. Saying things I never want to say to him out of sheer fury.

“The whole time he’s just screaming right back at me. I can feel myself shaking with rage but I’m also so close to just bursting into tears the whole time. I can’t bear it.”

After sharing her fraught experience, she asked other mums on the page for advice.

“Has anyone felt like this and managed to stop themselves somehow? I think I might have to phone the doctor and see if I can get some help. For me, if not for him. I can’t keep doing this.

“Please be gentle with me. I couldn’t hate myself much more than I already do. I’d be so grateful for any words of wisdom.”

Lots of good advice

Fellow mums were quick to respond to the post, with equal amounts of empathy and caution.

“I think you do need to see the GP. It may be that it’s your behaviour which is making him act this way,” wrote one.

“Oh crumbs, it sounds bad. Lots of us have lost our rag with our darling children, they can be really annoying. What is important to understand, although seems illogical, is that they can seek out negative attention,” said another.

The helpful advice also included reaching out to parenting organisations and family counsellors who are equipped with practical tips for battling these kinds of scenarios.

They also had some really practical suggestions of their own for dealing with anger and stress.

Like this one:

“Start by praising every single ‘good’ thing he does. eg ‘I love it when you play so quietly by yourself with your cars’ (ignore the fact he just spent 10 minutes screeching about something) Or ‘Aren’t you good for putting your toy x back on the shelf’ (ignore the rest of the room), ‘I’m so pleased with you for starting to keep your room more tidy’. And you’ll soon find yourself just praise, praise praising him and there’s nothing to ignore.”

Generally, most children want to please and seek approval constantly, so by reinforcing the ‘good’ by singing his praises then the bad largely disappears.

And this one: “You have to find a way to calm down, leave the room, lock yourself in the loo, take a breather and you must refuse to engage in this way with him. Even if it means going back and forth. You need to knock this pattern of him getting this negative attention from you on the head,” wrote another.

Reach out for support

At the end of the day, everybody needs support to be the best parent they can be, there is no perfect person out there. Admitting you are facing challenges can be the first hurdle and having the courage to share your concerns is a great way to start finding solutions. 

If you feel like some professional support might be what you need, help is available. From parenting courses to counselling, a great place to start is a chat with your GP, who can give you referrals and can rule out any health concerns that may be causing low moods. 

If you could use some quick and practical tips to help you stay calm and yell less, here are eight great ways to learn to be a less shouty parent.


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