What To Do After Your Yell At Your Child

The journey of motherhood is filled with incredible highs and challenging lows. One of those lows often comes when, in a moment of frustration or stress, a yell slips out. The aftermath? Guilt.

While this isn’t our best nor our ideal parenting, it is something that happens to all moms, and because of that, it’s worth knowing what to do after you yell.

Exactly What To Do After You Yell At Your Kids

The process below will help you know exactly what to do after you yell. It’s the process I use in my own life as a mom of two boys as well as the process I help my clients with inside my coaching program, Mom On Purpose Membership.

Step 1: Acknowledge the guilt

When that yell escapes you, it’s normal to feel a wave of guilt. The guilt can be suffocating, but it’s also a sign of your deep care and commitment to being a loving parent. Embrace that guilt; it’s a stepping stone towards growth.

Say to yourself, “this is guilt and that’s okay. I am not a bad mom, I am a mom who yelled and will repair to make it better.”

By naming the guilt, you get awareness around it. You see that you are not the guilt. That you are still good inside. You separate out your actions from your identity. This reduces shame and makes it easier to repair.


Step 2: Give yourself self compassion

When you’re feeling guilty after you yell, it can be easy to slip into negative self talk.

It sounds like beating yourself up for yelling—”I can’t believe I did that” or “my kids deserve so much better” or “I’m such a bad mom.”

Being mean to yourself doesn’t help you stop yelling. It only creates more shame. It’s punishing yourself, which means you don’t understand the root cause of why you yell, nor how to stop yelling. I.e.: it is completely counter productive!

To reduce the chance of this, give yourself self compassion. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Place your hand on your heart and say, “I love my kids and I love me. I will navigate this and I’m still a good mom.” When you approve of yourself, you’re much more likely to apologize and connect with your kids. When you disapprove of yourself, you’re more likely to go to shame and disconnection. For this reason, self compassion is enormously helpful!


Step 3: Calm down

Take a moment, breathe, and recalibrate. Your ability to find your center sets the tone for the resolution that follows. If you try to repair from a place of feeling dysregulated, it will be much harder and less effective.

You may need to leave the room, take a short walk, or simply take deep breaths. Check in with your body and wait for it to feel calm inside.

Step 4: Allow your child to calm down

Respect your child’s emotions as much as your own. Give them space if needed and assure them that it’s okay to feel upset. Creating a safe environment for them to express themselves is crucial. You can still hold boundaries while allowing emotions.

For example, you might say, “you can feel upset but I won’t let you hit mommy.” This way, you’re teaching and modeling that all feelings are welcome but all actions are not.

Stay with your child to help them regulate, so they know you’re not signaling that their feelings are bad. I like to think the mantra, “your big feelings don’t scare me.” This allows me to get even closer during their dysregulation to help them get to calm.


Step 5: Repair

Repair is the process of apologizing after you yell. If there’s one skill I think is the most important to moms it’s this one. Why? Because we’re all human, which means we’ll all make mistakes. When you make a mistake, being able to overcome shame and blame so you can repair in a meaningful way is the secret to having strong relationships with your kids.

Here’s the process of repair:

1. Invite your child to talk

This can be casual, in private, when you’re both feeling calm.

2. Connect with them

Create a connection with your child before apologizing by focusing on them and making sure they feel comfortable and seen.

3. Apologize and own it.

This means saying you’re sorry without any excuse.

For example, an excuse would sound like, “I’m so sorry I yelled. I didn’t mean to. My boss called me right before I saw you and told me bad news, so I was really upset.”

Don’t do this! Don’t use any sort of excuse to justify your actions. Instead, be straightforward and clear in your apology.

For example, you might say something like, “I’m so sorry I yelled. That was my fault. It was nothing you did. I am going to continue to work on stopping yelling.”

With this apology, you are owning that you’re the reason you yelled. You’re not using an excuse and you’re not blaming them. You’re taking ownership of your actions.

Don’t expect a specific response from your child

After you apologize it can feel tempting to look for cues from your child that they accept your apology or are satisfied with this.

It’s not useful to do this because you’ll often find you don’t get what you’re looking for from them and that’s purely because they’re kids. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t heard thought. It was definitely heard.

For example, if you apologize and your child says, “Okay. Now can we go get a snack?” this would be completely typical and not unusual at all. They heard you and are ready to move on.

9 Scripts To Say To Your Kids After You Yell

Here are nine scripts to help you after you yell at your kids:

  1. “I’m sorry for raising my voice; that wasn’t the right way to express myself.”
  2. “I love you, and I’m committed to managing my emotions better.”
  3. “Let’s talk about what happened. Your feelings matter.”
  4. “I’m here to listen to you without judgment.”
  5. “I promise to do better next time.”
  6. “My reaction was not your fault; it was mine to manage.”
  7. “I’m learning how to handle my feelings better, and I appreciate your understanding.”
  8. “Mistakes happen; let’s learn from this together.”
  9. “Your feelings are valid, and I want to help you feel better.”

How To Get More Support For Yelling At Your Kids

Once you repair, you’ll likely want to work on the process of stopping yelling at your kids.

To stop yelling at your kids, two skills are required—self-regulation and changing your mindset (brain management).

In the moment: pause, name the emotion, welcome it, and breathe through it. This is self-regulation.

Out of the moment: create better feeling thoughts so you’re not creating the anger and frustration in the future. This is mindset management.

When you combine these skills (which I teach you how to do in the Mom On Purpose Membership) you will stop yelling at your kids. It’s completely possible even if you grew up in a yelling family or you’ve been yelling for as long as you can remember. It’s likely that you haven’t learned the root cause of how to change this behavior, and once you start practicing it, you’ll get a completely different result.

Click here to learn more about the Mom On Purpose Membership, my coaching program for moms.

A Final Note!

You are a great mom. A really great mom! Yelling at your kids doesn’t change that. This isn’t to say it’s something you want to continue doing. But it is to say that shaming yourself for it won’t help you stop it. Instead, you can love yourself, love your kids, and practice the process of repair described above to help you after you yell. It will help you feel more connected so you can show up as the mom you want to be. Both you and your kids deserve it!