Yelling is a common thing that I think a lot of families struggle with.

I hadn’t thought about it much before we started as foster parents. I am pretty sure yelling happens in a lot of houses. My wife and I have yelled at each other sometimes. Not too much, but more than I would like. It is never pleasant. It can even become abusive.

I have been taking a class on child development and we are going through a section on punishment.

As I read through the material I realized that most of the things we do “in the heat of the moment” as parents is probably not the best way to parent.I think the main problem is that whatever is going on sends our stress level through the roof. I have put together a few things that will, hopefully, help you me calm down and act appropriately in the “heat of the moment”.


1. Make a plan ahead of time.

This is the difference between reacting and responding. If you can make a plan with your spouse for how certain situations will be handled you will be more likely to respond instead of react.

2. Make a list of the things that really get your blood boiling.

Just making this list will help you to be more prepared when the behavior that gets you going starts to happen. Awareness is sometimes all it takes to change a behavior. I recently read, in The 4 Hour Body about a guy who wanted to loose weight but didn’t want to go on a drastic diet. He was kind of a nerd so he made a spreadsheet and tracked his weight over time. He made it a point to not change his eating habits too much. The result, he ended up loosing 50 pounds over a 2 year stretch. Sometimes simply being aware of something is enough to change it subconsciously.

3. Take a Break

The other day my foster child told me another lie. (Ya, lying is on my list, see 2.)  I was so frustrated, let alone mad about it. I have been trying to work on my reactions so I was doing pretty good, but I was really mad. So I just sat her down and said ” You know, when you lie to me so much it really makes me mad. I am going to go in the other room for a minute to calm down. I will be right back.”

I went into the other room and took some deep breaths and went back. I was able to do a better job of dealing with what was going on with her and she didn’t have to experience me yelling.

The one thing I know is: Yelling only makes things worse!

4. Take care of yourself.

Make sure that you keep yourself fresh. We can all usually tell when we are getting run down. When you know it’s happening to you, don’t ignore it. Take care of yourself.

Take a Nap! or go for a walk.

When you are in the right place mentally and emotionally you will be able to interact and communicate with your foster or adoptive children better.

One thing I am learning is that our reaction to our children has more to do with our own issues and how we are feeling, than they do with what is going on with the child.