Do You Yell at Your Toddler?


screaming toddler

Photo by LangleyLove

My daughter's latest annoying habit is silliness at dinnertime, to the point that she and my older son refuse to eat and have to be sent from the table at least half a dozen times.

She blows bubbles in her milk till it erupts into a frothy white mess. She recites a litany of funny words that sends her and my older son into hysterics -- a wonderful activity for playtime but not in front of the plates of food they should be eating.

Redirection and time-outs aren't working. The whole thing is driving me CRAZY, so last night I lost it. I yelled in the deepest, totally exasperated voice I could find, "Carolyn, STOP IT!!"

Well, of course my daughter collapsed in tears. She's not used to Mommy sounding like a demon, so what did I expect? I felt awful.

It took several minutes to calm her down. But ... she behaved. And ate. Was I wrong to yell?

Bookwormy asks the same question in Funky Mamas of Toddlers.

"Time-outs don't bother my 2-year-old daughter any longer, so she isn't improving her behavior to avoid them. In fact, she will misbehave at bedtime in the hopes of delaying bedtime to get a timeout!

"I wish that I could say that we never raise our voices, but that wouldn't be true. I don't like that I have raised my voice, but I do sometimes. I always apologize for doing so, but wish to never do so again. How do y'all handle those really frustrating moments and not raise your voice? For those who don't, do you feel really bad later?"

Here's what some moms said:

I yell at my kids all the time, however, I try very hard not to be ugly to them. I DO have a you-are-in-big-trouble-now voice. JoyeAustin

I also try not to yell, but there are some times when it's called for -- if it's a dangerous situation. But if I yell at him when I could have used a more appropriate method, I will apologize to him. ToddlerBrain82

Iwish I could say we don't yell, but we do, and it depends on the situation as to whether I feel badly about it or not. We never insult, cuss or demean our child, though. I think what you say is more important than the volume it's said at. RanaAurora


Is yelling an acceptable form of discipline when nothing else works?

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discipline, food, learning, tantrums


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Jill4... Jill42721

I hate to say this, but every once in a while you really just have to get their attention.  I'm not saying to yell at them until the walls crumble or anything.  But a HEY STOP THAT can be just enough to get their attention and get your point across.  But certainly not all the time!  It should be a last resort sort of tool.


Arkaidy Arkaidy

I agree with OP. If you freak out once in a while and yell "if you don't stop that right now '''''". But when yelling is a for of discipline, there is a problem with the parent as well as the child.

kenne... kennedysmommie

I don't think that yelling is a great tool in any sort of way, but I think that we as parents need to remind ourselves that we mess up just like any other human being. That doesn't mean that we should think it is ok, just that we make mistakes. I yelled at my two year old daughter yesturday. After a few minutes of collecting myself I sat her down and apologized for yelling at her and tried to explain how both of our behaviors in the situation could have been better. I know that she is only two, but I think that two year olds understand more than we give them credit for sometimes. And even if she doesn't (which I think she does) she will start to understand eventually. Until then, it doesn't hurt to try to explain things.

gypsy... gypsydancer7

No- I dont think its EVER acceptable or effective.....BUT I have done it.

mybabyjr mybabyjr

It just does not work.  If you continue to yell they will only listen everytime you yell!!!!! It just does not work.  I think coming down to their level and speaking to them nicely works much better. 

viole... violetntrt

I don't think ever yelling at your kids as a form of discipline is effective. Not to say I haven't done my fair share but more of getting their attention not discipline.

JLynn... JLynn0871

Yelling at a toddler??  I mean why?  These are little people who have to be trained and raised in a civil manner.  If you yell at them at toddler age then you will always yell.  Do not get mad when they start yelling back at you.  Are you trying to scare them?  Clap your hands loud if you cannot get to them or stomp your foot. 

Try other things and do not forget to sit in the floor and spend lots of time with your children!

Peppe... PepperKittyn

I yell at my toddler.  She's 19 months old, and is REALLY into testing me right now.  When she puts her hands on something that she shouldn't, I'll raise my voice and tell her no.  If she goes after something that is dangerous, THEN I yell.  I want her to know the difference, so that the importance of each situation is stressed appropriately.

pamka... pamkay414

I do it and I am not proud of it at all.  I absolutely need to find a different way of dealing with my own frustrations.  I hate myself sometimes, I really do.  I do not want my children to grow up hating me because I treated them like crap, like I was treated by my own parents.  I am a totally different parent than my parents but still not a very happy one and I am not proud of how I do things.

areaux1 areaux1

Toddlers have to learn self control and to respect adults; even at these early stages (they DO understand "yes" from a "no").  If not, it is time to teach them that.  They need to know that it isn't nice to bubble up drinks in restaurants or anywhere esp. until it bubbles over and spills.  It is so annoying to be around other parents who don't discipline their small kids.  These  kids end up running over the parents.  What happens almost all the times is that the toddlers ends up hurting themselves or others, when there is no discipline.

Many of the times I fault the parents for trying to be a friend to their kids or the parents are just too lazy and selfish to discipline their child.  I don't mind spanking on the back side of my kid's hands, even at 2 yrs. old.  Not really hard, but enough to turn a smile up-side down (to get their attention). 

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