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How Do You Get Kids to Listen

How Yelling Keeps Kids From Listening

We all know that modeling is a big part of parenting. As mom-of-two Vanessa D. asks, "I don't know how to tell my daughter that she cannot yell at me when I get mad at her for something she shouldn't do. I need help. Does anyone have any other way to teach her not to yell back?"

Vanessa's situation is very common. Her child is acting exactly the way she perceives her mom to be acting toward her. Vanessa's daughter yells at her mom to try to get her mom to stop yelling at her. The reasoning behind this behavior is very childlike.

The following tips may help this Circle of Moms member unlock her yelling, which would allow her to say to her child, "I stopped yelling at you, and I would like you to stop yelling at me."


Yelling happens in most families at one time or another. Most parents rationalize it by saying, I'm simply expressing that, "I say what I mean, and mean what I say!"

There are two big problems with yelling. The first one is there's a really good chance your child doesn't hear a word you say when you're yelling. The second problem is that yelling can cause a great deal of emotional damage to a child's self-esteem if the parent is screaming, being mean, or attacking a child's character.

Most parents think the louder they get, the firmer they appear to their child. Actually, the opposite is true. The more yelling you do, the less your child hears you. Why?

Children tend to withdraw just a little bit in order to withstand the intensity of your yelling. Watch your child the next time you yell and you'll see her shift her attention from your words to retreating inside herself for a minute or so to protect herself from the onslaught. What she does after you stop yelling — like crying, yelling at you, or creating more misbehavior — is another topic all together.

Your child can't fully listen to your words and emotionally protect herself from your yelling at the same time. Something has to give. So she ignores what you're saying in favor of her emotional safety.

So the next time you say to your child, "Listen to me right now, I'm talking to you," notice whether or not you're yelling. You'll have a better chance of her really hearing you if you're calmer.


Sharon Silver is a parenting educator and the founder of Proactive Parenting. She's also the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Image Source: Shutterstock
Join The Conversation
salinanan salinanan 2 years

Yelling arises due to the soul of two person being drifted apart. When anger sets in our souls starts to move away from each other. Our souls are made from love. Love attracts the soul to draw us close to each other. When the soul is at peace the body will be able to receive information better and reception of each others needs and feelings is very high. But anger is something a soul would not want to have any dealings with. So when anger sets in a heart of a person, the soul will starts to move back and lust will set in. Lust is not easy to control and self distructing without control. If we are highly emotional person, lust will draw a lot of negative reactions to our surroundings. Aggresive reactions such as yelling, fighting, etc. Children are very pure people. Their receptions are very high since they are at the stage of learning to develop their character via their surroundings. They have less lust and when they hear aggresive and negative reactions coming from their parents, their soul will shy away. If they are being confronted by too much negative surroundings it will cause their lust to start to take over. This is when they will start yelling and fight back. Crying will start when the soul is injured and trying to heal itself. The soul can actually move too far away until lust takes complete control of the body creating a person with high negative unstable emotions. Try this experiment. Try to lower the tone of our voice when we speak although how angry we get. Contain anger in a manner if we are standing up, sit down. If we are still angy sitting down, lie down. If we are still angry lying down go take a shower to cool off. Then only when we cool off we start to speak. Otherwise just keep quiet until we cool down. Let our soul return and let us speak out of love. And not out of anger, sadness, frustration etc. Life will be more peaceful then. The childern or anybody whom we speak to will listen to what we say. And when the soul is close to each other love will flourish.


Thankyou for posting this article. I have been unsuccessfully looking for instruction on how to manage (mine) and my child's behaviour for a long time. This book looks like it will show me how. I like how it is set out topically so that I can go to our current issue and quickly get the tools I need. Hopefully we'll be seeing a lot more respect and calm in our household.

DoraLoCascioWiggs DoraLoCascioWiggs 5 years
What great advice!!!!!! It actually breaks my heart to know that my child has to protect himself emotionally because of my yelling. I can vomit just thinking about the hurt I have caused him. Wow has this article woken me up. As a mother I am here to protect my children, make them laugh, put smiles on their little faces, take their tears away, etc..... I should not be the one creating those tears. No more yelling for me. I know it will take some time but I will definitely get there.
jhannanacion jhannanacion 5 years
OMG im so i know why my lil boy yell at me back...this realy help to mom's
TinaMcGAnn99123 TinaMcGAnn99123 6 years
My dad always yelled at me, and it dident work, and i dident listen, not even if he was up close to my face, what got me was his bad breath lol Yelling just made it worse, i was pretty much telly him to fuck off in my head. but when my mom raised her voice that got my attencion. She would only raise her tone in her voice when she needed to
RachnaKakkar RachnaKakkar 6 years
Yes i am guilty too of this. Although i work hard not to yell but sometimes it seems that nothin else works which i know is not right.After reading this article, i know that i have to work harder.
JamieGemme JamieGemme 6 years
From a scientific point of view, the reason this is so is because of this: The frontal cortex is where thinking occurs. When we are teaching our children, information is processed here. Yelling elicits the limbic system of the brain, where our emotions are. At this time the amygdala initiates our fight or flight response, which is the withdrawal you see from your children. With this part of the brain stimulated, the frontal cortex cannot be stimulated and no learning can occur. There is now FRMA imaging available that shows physiological evidence that harsh discipline has negative effects on the brain.
MissyLanzalaco MissyLanzalaco 6 years
guilty as 2.5 yr old daughter does not listen AT ALL and im always having to yell at her....everything i say to her nw she says to me n other to the point where i give up bc she just doesnt listen and she knws she isnt and yelling 2x finally gets her to..i cant take it anymre...bc when im calm she jst ignores me as well..ahhh!!!!!
CoMMember13627935106787 CoMMember13627935106787 6 years
I am definitely guilty of this as well. Glad I am not alone! I do yell alot, and do notice that my daughter is SO not listening to me. This on turn makes me even more angry so I yell some more. After reading this article I have decided to try a different approach. Wish me luck! And good luck to all the moms!o
DeniseBratek DeniseBratek 6 years
Wow!! I am so glad I read this. Unfortunately for my kids and myself I lose my temper and scream at them. It was how I was raised. I am glad I read this. Now I know why they dont listen duh. Thank you. I will have to get your book on Stop Reactin and Start Responding.
KathyEubanks KathyEubanks 6 years
The distressing thing that I saw in the comments was the overwhelming number of parents who felt guilt after reading the article. Yes we all do things that we are not proud of but it is our job to be parents to our children; to raise adults with integrity. I hope we all keep that in mind before we beat ourselves up for not being perfect and handling every situation with grace and patience. Often when we yell it is because we are overwhelmed, exhausted or stressed not because we are poor parents.
SerafineKlarwein SerafineKlarwein 6 years
I agree but sometimes it seems that yelling IS the only way to get the message across. Usually my son and I talk things over but sometimes when he out on a limb, I react by yelling and he gets back on the ground so we can talk after the heat is over. Like a bitter medecine. I am against yelling but sometimes, when tempers flare, I find it is better to use the raw emotion and let it out. Rather than swallow the ill feeling.
Jennifersaludodimabayao Jennifersaludodimabayao 6 years
this really is an eye opener. i yell at my 10-y/o daughter and now, she yells at her 2 younger brothers. i'm more stressed now and a bad model for my children. i think i really have to stretch my patience and minimize if not totally avoid yelling. thanks for the tip.
good point...i like this advice:-)
AleciaStringer79024 AleciaStringer79024 6 years
Yes, a behavior you can control. We do a lot of listening activities in Kindermusik and focus on how they can create a learned behavior of listening.
kimberleeambrose kimberleeambrose 6 years
my mom yelled at me. I yell at my daughter. this article makes a lot of sense. Definitely gonna stop all of the yelling to see if that helps her behavior.
PreetiUMalik PreetiUMalik 6 years
I seldom yell at my son, but even when I do, he tells me later - 'mom, please don't get upset with me or scream at me, I don't like it' - guess what he is just 4.5yrs old.
LeslieVess LeslieVess 6 years
I so wish i could stop yelling at my lil ones but i feel like if i talk regular to them now they dont hear me.. i feel so bad for it sooooo i am gonna try not to yell at them anymore if i have to put signs up all over my house saying NO YELLING.... ugghhhh i hate yelling at my babies i love em sooo much..
JenniferCookMiller JenniferCookMiller 6 years
I am going to have to send this article to my father. I almost never yell at my kids and he sees this as a sign of being a weak parent. I look at it as following "the golden rule".
TiffaniePrater TiffaniePrater 6 years
Everyone is going to lose their temper at some point in time and raise their voice at their children. We cant be suzy q perfect mommy all the time, dont feel guilty, just make an effort to not make yellng a habit. I believe we're all guilty of this at one time or another
DianeChan DianeChan 6 years
A wake up call for my husband and I. I feel bad for raising my voice. ;)
JodiDillahunt JodiDillahunt 6 years
I am not much of a 'yeller', but I noticed both of my daughter's last two classroom teachers speak very softly and the children immediately respond by quieting down. GREAT ADVICE!
rvisagie1visagie rvisagie1visagie 6 years
So guilty, what a punch on the nose, can't say will never do the yelling again, we are human, sure going to try - and agree yelling gets us nowhere, and it's bad manners anyway !!!!!!!!!!
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