The No-Yelling Challenge: How to Not Yell at Your Kids

Your kids may drive you nuts, but yelling usually doesn’t resolve it

I’m a firm believer that everything works out as it should, and so when coincidence strikes, I always take it as a sign from the universe that I am indeed on the right track. But the appearance of The Orange Rhino in my inbox the day after I wrote my post about my love of challenges was too much, even for me. In her Huffington Post article “10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling at My Kids,” mommy blogger Orange Rhino explains how she underwent a 365-day no-yelling challenge. On her Web site, she even has an official Orange Rhino Challenge for parents (like me) who also yell to much and want desperately to stop. Shut the front door.

I haven’t signed up for the official challenge, but the article was enough to — you guessed it — start my own unofficial no-yelling challenge. As Ms. Rhino points out, you can’t always control the kid’s actions, but you can control your own reactions. So I told myself, “Alright Gallagher, you may not, under any circumstances, yell at Coraline.” And just like that, I’m a non-yelling parent. When my frazzled-and-frustrated-mommy alter ego wants to shout, my sweet-and-patient-mommy alter ego knocks me on the head with her rolling pin and says “Tsk tsk tsk, you’re not allowed to yell,” which actually does make me stop, breathe, and try something else, like redirection or even just letting it go. It’s pretty incredible how the self-imposed rules are just sufficient enough to direct behavior when the goal or desired result is truly desired. And I truly desire being a parent who doesn’t yell all the time. The Orange Rhino made it through her first year, and so she’s taking on a second; according to her site she’s now 522 days in. I have a lot of catching up to do. Good thing I like a good challenge!

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