The Year of No Yelling – “Week 1: It Begins”

I’ve never been a yeller.  Sure, I talk loud.  And laugh loud.  In a high-pitched, feminine tone.  But, I’ve never been aggressive.   I‘ve always been known as the mild-mannered guy with the over-sized head who walks around with a perpetual smile on his face. 

Until I had kids.

And then those kids grew up to have opinions and agendas of their own.  This was not part of the original Dannemiller plan.  So, to right this unspeakable wrong, my subconscious decided to yell the aforementioned opinions and agendas right out of my kids’ bodies. 

Five years into this experiment, my conscious brain is starting to wonder if this plan isn’t working as well as I might have hoped. 

Remember, I never said I was a quick learner.  Just smiley.

In sharp contrast to yours truly, my wife Gabby comes from strong yelling stock.  If we trace back her lineage, we believe her great-great-great-great grandfather was the guy who made loud exploding noises before weapons actually made noises.  His son went on to fame as the first ever barker for Freak Show Carnivals.  And the barker’s son?  The world’s first megaphone was patterned after the unique conical shape of his mouth. 

It’s an impressive family tree. 

My wife’s natural yelling skills were honed growing up in a small house with four other women.  Think Real Housewives of New Jersey, only substitute big 80’s hair for plastic surgery.  But I don’t blame Gabby.   That much Aqua Net would make anybody cranky.

Today, both of us are fed up with the amount of yelling in our house.  If part of our family mission statement is to live lives of integrity and serve others, then yelling should not be on the menu.  If we say we are all about respecting others, then we should be modeling the behavior. 

And we’re not.

Thus begins our Year of No Yelling.  It promises to be much more difficult than 2013’s Year Without A Purchase. 

Here is our list of rules.  Subject to revision.  Even by my wife, who has not completely authorized these. We would love your feedback!

  1. You can yell if your child’s safety is in immediate danger. 
    (Note:  Pain directly inflicted by the yeller or his/her accomplices does not constitute immediate danger.)
  2. You cannot replace yelling with any form of speech that would scare a full-grown man.
    (i.e. creepy, menacing, evil whispers of pending torture)

Good luck, folks!  And stay tuned for our next post describing Day One.  It’s a doozy! 



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10 responses to “The Year of No Yelling – “Week 1: It Begins”

  1. Miranda

    Ok, the #2 rule just shattered my loophole that would have made the Year without Yelling a success. I think this is a noble cause and it speakes volumes with me. Like you, I didn’t grow up in a yelling house, but I realized the inner yeller in me when I had kids…. time to look for some new tools in the parenting bak!

  2. Pat Kirkland

    May the force, or change of force, be with you!

    Pat Kirkland

    (512) 231-1380

  3. Unfortunately yelling is so easy. When I start getting really irritated, I have found if I talk with an accent (Downton Abbey style seems to work best) or sing directions to my kids (I’m not a singer), I don’t get stressed with the added bonus of them actually doing what I want them to do. Not sure why that happens—probably because they want me to stop. It becomes more fun when they respond with their own accent or singing—even if they’re arguing with me, it just sounds much nicer.

  4. I tend to yell first, regret later, or at least talk in such a way that my kids know I’m irritated in no uncertain terms. Perhaps I should try this no yelling of which you speak. Or borrow Tilted Tiara’s idea and sing to my kids – if nothing else, they’d start laughing at my singing, and then we’d all be a little happier! 🙂

  5. Amanda

    I found your website from someone who shared your The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying article on FB. I forwarded it to my (VERY busy) husband at work and he actually took the time to read it. He said he can’t stop thinking about it and wishes to discuss with our Priest. We often say we are “blessed” when people compliment our latest and greatest purchase. I think we use it as a crutch as to not brag about our success. Our vocabulary will now change thanks to your article!!! I sat down for a quick lunch and read a few of your other articles. I am hooked! I am going to try the “no yelling” thing and it will be a challenge to say the least. With 4 children, ages 5, 4, 2, 4 months, I find myself yelling more than talking. I know I need to change this. I have been looking for a bit of guidance and meaning to my life. I am so thankful that I came across your website. I think changing behaviors in our family will help us focus on what matters most. One question on the no yelling thing: Do your children know or is this like your year of no buying where you are attempting to modify your life without coming out and telling them?

    • Hey Amanda,

      Thanks for sharing your story. And glad the post got you to thinking. That was the intent, anyway, and not meant to be any difinitive theological thesis. I wish I had it all figured out, but alas, I don’t.

      As for the no yelling thing, we did tell the kids, and they are actually helping with this one. They help hold us accountable, and we now have it as another “rule” to hold over their heads when they are getting too loud ;-). It’s been a good experiment for us, and definitely quieting the house. We’ve realized that it all starts with us. If we can amange our own emotions, we’re all a lot better off.

      All the best to you and your BIG family!

      • Amanda

        Thank you for the quick feedback! I think we are going to start by giving it up for lent. I would love the children’s participation, though it is hard for a four year old to understand the concept in its entirety. Baby steps may help in the long run though! My 5 (almost 6) year old will be on board for sure. It will be hard each time we leave the house… I will need to start much earlier than normal. Good luck!

  6. Way to go (BOTH OF YOU!)

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