How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting with Your Kids

This podcast episode focuses on how to help parents regulate their own emotions, connect better with their children and coach their children through tough situations using “emotion coaching.” While daily life can be stressful as a parent, we can achieve more peaceful parenting and happier, more connected kids!

Special Guest: Dr. Laura Markham

Dr. Laura Markham trained as a Clinical Psychologist, earning her PhD from Columbia University. She is the mother of two, now ages 21 and 25. Dr. Laura is the author of the book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How To Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life. And she has a new workbook out called the Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids Workbook that you are sure to love. You can find her online at

Raising children is rewarding, of course, but it is also incredibly challenging- parenting can be frustrating, exhausting, busy, overwhelming and stressful—as we cope with the every changing emotions of our children and ourselves as we run from one activity to another day after day. So if parenting is so exasperating at times– can it really be peaceful? My next guest says yes—and she should know she’s written the best-selling books on this very topic.

The podcast provides:

  • Tips: How to regulate your own emotions, stay calm, connect with and coach children through their emotions.
  • Scripts: How to talk to our children about self care when emotions get big, what to say when we get very angry,
  • What we need to do before we correct children’s behavior.
  • What are children are trying to tell us through their behavior.

Important Messages:

  • Nobody can stay peaceful 24/7. That’s an aspiration.
  • We want to monitor our state of wellbeing—bring ourselves back to center quicker.
  • We need to put ourselves on our own list- encourage ourselves, give ourselves the food we need- when we don’t it’s not sustainable. There is a cost to ourselves and to our children. We can only give what we have inside.
  • Children depend on us to re-regulate—so we need to work on regulating our own emotions before we can work on their emotions and behavior.
  • Children are programmed to look for the adult in their life who will take care of them.
  • Children can pick up on our stress. Children feel vulnerable when we are stressed.
  • Deep breaths DO calm us.
  • The elevator shaft—where you start on the 10th floor and end up in the basement and wonder how things plummeted so fast.
  • First you’ve got to change your body– then you can change your mind.
  • In a moment of frustration, choose love.
  • We need to do exercises to rewire our brains and strengthen the vagal nerve.
  • Model anger management. She them a gracious way to handle anger—and how to stop yourself in the middle of yelling or acting out and calming down, asking for a redo.
  • Even if we feel connected to our child- that child doesn’t always feel connected to us- this doesn’t mean we are doing something wrong, it means that life gets in the way.
  • We lose connection when we get angry- so build in little rituals of connection throughout the day. Whenever there is separation- focus on connection.
  • When we laugh with our child, it reduces stress and it releases chemicals that help with connection.
  • When we get upset, we try to do something to make themselves feel better. Sometimes this is a positive gesture but more times than not, it’s something negative. It makes them feel powerful. They are trying to numb their pain or get negative attention.
  • When kids feel connected- they are more likely to listen and cooperate.
  • When you give your child a hug, your anger will melt away and so will his.
  • Our children can’t move forward until they feel heard.
  • Some parents deal with emotions from a place of fear or anger. Some parents dismiss emotions, disapprove, blame or distract- but this says that their emotions are not valid.
  • When we allow our children’s emotions, they allow for their emotions.
  • Ask; What can you do to take care of yourself?
  • Winner cleans up the game!

We play for fun, we do our best- we aren’t focusing on competition.

Notable Quotables:

  • “Nobody can stay peaceful 24/7. That’s an aspiration. Our goal, our intention that we set as parents is clearly to return ourselves to a state of calm.”
  • “Our job, as adults, is to notice when we are getting close to the edge and bring ourselves back to center.”
  • “We need to monitor ourselves and our own state of wellbeing. So often, we put ourselves last on our list- and it’s like, really? We can be on our own list! It’s not sustainable not to be- and there’s a cost—not just to us but also to our children because we can only give what we have inside.”
  • “If you live with children…you’re going to have childish behavior.”
  • “One reason children act out is because they feel disconnected from us.”
  • “Children depend on the close relationship with an adult they trust that allows them to return to safety and return to center and get re-regulated.”
  • “If we connect with a child before we correct the child, inevitably, the child is more open to listening and the event is much less likely to happen again the future.”
  • “Children follow presence. When you want your child to do what you say and to follow your lead, you have to be clear, you have to be firm and you have to be fully present.”
  • Remember to stop, drop and breathe. Think of it as your pause button. Stop what you are doing, drop your agenda for the moment and take a deep breath.”
  • “First you’ve got to change your body, then you can change your mind.”
  • “In a moment of frustration, choose love. Choosing love, to me, means we see the situation from the child’s perspective. Seeing the situation from their point of view will change your emotions and make you more effective in the situation.”
  • “Our children don’t always drive us crazy it’s just that in that one moment, when we are being driven crazy, it feels that way! It’s hard when you feel a big emotion that you’ve felt different things-maybe five minutes ago towards this same human being!”
  • “Model anger management. Your kids don’t need a perfect parent- because they will never be perfect either! What they need is a role model. Show them a gracious way to handle the anger.”
  • “You lose connection to others when you get angry.”
  • “Build in little rituals of connection through out the day. Whenever we’ve had a separation from our child, it’s good to have a connection where you really focus on them. Pour your love into them. Imagine how your child feels when you look at them with delight as they walk into the room. Those little rituals of connection don’t add more time to your day but they help your child feel what we all need to feel—valued and adored. That gives your children the foundation of self-esteem for the rest of their lives as well as a connection with you.”
  • “What do we all want but to be seen for who we are and still cherished? What do we all want but to be seen for who we are, with all of our faults, with all the times we’ve messed up and for people to know that that’s not the whole picture?”
  • “When children do things that drive us crazy, if we can take it as a red flag to shift gears, we can get back on track.”
  • “Rage only dissipates when it feels heard.”
  • “The great thing about having children is that they are like our little Zen masters. They show us the places where we need to grow.”
  • “You can’t control someone else’s behavior but you can always control YOU and what you bring to the situation.”