Why do we yell at our kids?

Have you ever burst out in anger suddenly and wonder why you reacted the way you did at your kids? We have undoubtedly experienced it before. As we reflect on our emotions and behaviour, we can't help but ask, "why did I do that? why did I say that?"

All parents get angry and yell at their kids for the smallest and silliest reasons. Not because they enjoy doing it, but because there are so many things going on at that moment. They are stressed, frustrated, overwhelmed, worried, and tired. And when something small happens, it is enough to trigger the red anger button in them.

If we are to zoom in on these common emotional triggers (worry, frustration, stress...), we can see that the real culprit to our anger outburst is not our kids, but ourselves. Remember, we are the one who is in total control of our emotions, not others.

Here's why.

Personal Needs

We get dysregulated when our personal needs are not met. Insufficient sleep, hunger, lack of self-care and love - all these can easily trigger anger.


Past childhood experiences can also be one of the main triggers of our negative emotions. A bad childhood or unhealthy parenting patterns may influence how we cope and deal with our emotions.

  • If you grew up under parents who yell and hit, you might have learned that it is the right way to address your anger. You weren't taught to understand and manage your feelings appropriately. Hence, whenever you feel angry, you tend to yell and hit too.

  • If you grew up under authoritarian parents where you weren't allowed to voice your opinions and suggestions, you may have been suppressing all your anger deep inside you since childhood. When these suppressed feelings left unaddressed, you will find yourself having sudden outbursts at your kids because it reminded you of your past childhood experiences with your parents.

Past Trauma

Past traumatic experiences like abuse or bullying can also be common triggers to your current angry episodes. If you weren't able to express and cope with your anger at that time, you may unconsciously still be affected by it today. When a similar situation arises, you might react with distress and anger. Sometimes our feelings can be influenced not just by present situations but also from the past.

To truly understand our feelings, it is important to reflect and review the REAL source to our anger. Only then we can learn how to cope and regulate them effectively for our kids.

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