Being a parent is an incredible joy, but it can also make for some big-time frustration. It can be infuriating when our kids don't listen to us, willfully disobey, disrespect us, break our things, or do other things that make us very upset. My partner and I learned from when we were dating that we are not yellers. Both of us are pretty sensitive to tone of voice and pretty much never yell at each other. So it was clear after we got married that we weren't going to yell at our child, either. But I have to admit, there are times when it's hard to keep our voices down when we're upset. The reason we hold it in is because we (a) believe that yelling at him will not correct the problem, (b) we don't want him to think that it is okay to yell at others or at us, even when he's frustrated and (c) we believe there are other ways to communicate and vent our frustration while getting the results we want out of his behavior. So what can a parent do with their frustration and to discipline a child instead of yelling? Here are some tips to stop yelling at your kids: 1. Know when to walk away for a minute. Be aware when your level of frustration is getting unmanageable, then firmly but calmly tell your child to stay where they are and you will be back in a minute. Then leave the room. 2. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. You can do this in front of your child if needed, but it can be very helpful to do once you have walked away. Get your heart rate and your mind back down from racing and collect yourself before continuing the conversation. 3. Be Firm, Not Mean If you lose your cool and start yelling, you are relinquishing control and letting your child know that they got you to that point. It may seem strange, but sometimes kids will take any kind of attention - even negative attention - as a reinforcement. That, or they may tune you out and not process what you are yelling at them. You may also yell things that you regret and can't take back. Instead, choose a more effective form of disciplinary communication. Get down at their eye level with your face close to theirs (but not too close) and hold them *gently* but firmly in place. Put a stern look on your face, lower the pitch of your voice and use a deep, calm and quiet voice to firmly tell them what you need to tell them. It might seem strange, but often children will pay closer attention to a quieter voice than to a louder one. 4. Empathize, and help them understand their feelings. Instead of yelling at your child, help them (and you) figure out the feelings behind their behavior. This has actually worked for me in practice. I said something like "I understand why you are feeling upset to leave the playground, because you are having a lot of fun." Then, "But we have to go because we have an appointment." Then, if they act up about it, instead of behaving badly yourself with a 'parent tantrum,' be the one who stays calm and say something like "I understand why you're upset, but it's not okay to act that way. Instead of doing that when you're mad, just tell me "I'm mad!" and let me know why. Then we can figure out what to do about it together." It seems cheesy at first, but actually my son has started letting me know how he's feeling. Even if he is communicating negative feelings towards me, him saying it is better than yelling or throwing tantrums. 5. Same goes for me! Understand and communicate your own feelings. Yelling is the easiest thing to do when you're upset. It is harder to stop and sort out what your're feeling and explain it. But it's worth it! Instead of yelling, I try to more calmly tell him what I am feeling and why. I honestly say, "I am feeling very upset right now," "I am feeling angry," or "When you don't listen and ignore me it makes me feel very frustrated and upset." Then explain the source of your feelings and what you want them to do to resolve the problem. If you want more tips, check out the useful article I found about it on Parents.com and linked here.