can I stop yelling at my kids for a whole week?

I’m kind of a parenting expert, at least when it comes to one topic: yelling at your kids. On this matter, I am a true authority. I was interviewed about it in the New York Times, I wrote about it for Yahoo Shine, I’ve written about it extensively on this very blog, and even in my book, which of course you know because you bought twenty copies and read each of them. 

I like to call myself a yeller who feels bad about it. I know I shouldn’t. I know there are more effective ways to communicate. It’s just that sometimes I can’t remember what they are.

But I have had a hard-core, tough-love, Thintervention with Jackie Warner-type challenge come my way, and my God, I’m going to accept it. A magazine that I love has just given me this assignment: stop yelling at my kids and my husband for a week, and keep a diary of what happens.

I don’t really yell at my husband, I told them. 

That’s okay, they said. Maybe you’ll do it this week. 

And that’s when it hit me: they don’t think I can do this! They’re assuming I will fail!

I think they’re betting on the right side there. 

But we will see what happens.

Anyone care to join me? 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

amountainmomma August 11, 2010 at 10:17 pm

The other day I told my oldest to stop yelling at her sister. My husband looked at me and said "You are yelling at her."
After giving my husband the opposite of yelling (I prefer icy silence to yelling for him) I realized he was right. My yelling has transmitted, and this is how my older daughter now deals with her younger sister. Crap.
I am with you, my mom was a yeller and I hated it. I would love to find another way to deal with my kids that doesn't involve yelling. But I need something other than scary-controlled-robot-voice as a replacement. What suggestions have you gotten to help you stop yelling??
Great topic!

PS. I just finished your book and loved it. I think you have touched on a lot of issues with humour and sensitivity that are very important. It is wonderful for other mothers to know they are not alone in struggling through some of the hurtles we face every day. I also thought the candid way you discussed your relationship with your husband was very brave and relevant. So Great!


Amy Zimmerman August 12, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I'm in! I tried it once…um…for a year? and that was too ambitious. But a week….that I can try to do. This week is a good one as all SIX members of my family will be together in a VERY small apartment in London with no school and no camp and an overworked wife and dubious plans. If we can make it through THAT week without yelling, there may be hope.


KBH August 12, 2010 at 5:53 pm

I'll do it. Can we link all of our thoughts about it somehow! I'd like to see everyone's experience with it!


Amy Wilson August 13, 2010 at 4:39 pm

a mountain momma, that's hilarious, because just this morning my husband said "you're yelling" and I thought, THAT's not yelling. My goodness, if THAT'S yelling? I yell 85% of the time. So clearly I have a ways to go.

Amy, I would say a yell-free year is way too long, though it would make an interesting book proposal. I think you're picking a tough week but go for it!

KBH, I'd love to hear everyone's experiences also. I can't really write about mine on here until I do my magazine assignment, but I'd love to hear yours- and I'll post them on the blog if you'd like! email me: amy at amywilson dot com.


Laber of Love August 16, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Ummmm if I can't yell for a whole week, then someone needs to pick up my son and take care of him for the next seven days. 🙂

Honestly, on Saturday morning I had the worst headache and my husband was out of town, so I was home with the two kids. And you know what? That headache made me a better parent. Because I couldn't raise my voice, it hurt too bad. So I had to (shock, I know!) come up with calm, thoughtful responses to situations.

Eventually my Ibuprofen kicked in and life returned to normal. 🙂


Amy Wilson August 17, 2010 at 2:53 am

Laber of Love, you're right- if I couldn't yell, if I had laryngitis, I'd figure out another way.

I'm doing okay on my week, actually- I've surprised myself.


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