How to Stop Yelling?

The question was asked,

What are your alternatives to yelling? Spanking was easy to go cold turkey, but stopping yelling has been harder then quitting smoking.

It’s taken a couple of years, but I yell a lot less than I used to. My primary tool is preemption. Be your child’s partner. They ask for you to do things because they either don’t know how, can’t, or aren’t confident they can do it as correctly as they want it done, so be extra heplful with every request they make. Second, I try to maintain a scientific attitude, meaning, I’m the scientist, and they’re the lab rats. When lab rats make mistakes, do the scientists yell at them, or simply observe and respond in a rational way? Third, remember that for every mistake or “misbehavior”, there’s an underlying unmet need. Figure it out (like a scientist). These 3 tools have helped me tremendously. I still get loud, though, but it’s loudness, not yelling. And when I do, after things are calm and stress chemicals cleared from the rational part of the brain, I make amends (offer apology, seek forgiveness, re-connect).


Save as PDFPrint

Written by 

Founder and editor of and, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.