This Mama’s Lenten Journey: Less Yelling, More Praying

Confession: Yelling has become my go-to “solution” for getting my kids to listen.

It feels good to get that off my chest. Lest you think we live as a perfect little family where I speak and the kids hang on my every word, obeying without hesitation, I feel the need to break that dream bubble over your heads.

I really, really don’t like how much yelling has creeped into my parenting and I know Jesus has been nudging me to take a look at how I handle my frustration when the children are being disobedient or disrespectful or just plain not listening.

What to do about it…

Many Christians commit to give something up during the Lent season to more fully understand the feeling of sacrifice, so I could just tell you “I’m giving up yelling at my kids for Lent!” and call it good.

But I know that merely giving up something up for Lent without replacing it with more of Him has not done me much good in the past.

I’ve fasted from different foods in the past, but unless I added in a “more of God” part to my fast, it didn’t mean a whole lot. I had to purposefully spend more time in the Word or in prayer to draw closer to Him during the fast.

So, I AM trying my best to give up yelling at the children during Lent {and beyond}, but I can’t just leave it at that.

This Mama's Lenten Journey

Here’s the plan for my Lenten journey:

I’m gathering Bible verses and prayers to go along with the reasons that usually drive me to raising my voice. I’m using the prayer app Ann suggested {the free lite version for now} to keep the prayers close at hand. It is a great resource for organizing your prayers and setting up reminders to pray for people.

When I feel myself getting to the boiling point, I will take a deep breath, grab the app and find an appropriate prayer for the situation.

THEN, after I have taken my feelings to Jesus first, I will approach my children about the problem, hopefully more calm and more full of Him and His Will for all of us.

I’m getting all emotional as I write this because I want so badly to break free from using yelling to try to get their attention about anything except emergencies. I know Jesus is the only answer to stepping out of my not-so-wonderful way of handling myself. I’m stepping out with great hope on this Lenten journey towards more peace and prayer in our home.

I can’t wait to see how He brings our family closer together and closer to Him during these 40 days, because man, do I love these guys and want them to have the best of me…

Love these boys

Thanks to The Hubby for inspiring me to make my Lenten focus those closest to me – he blessed all of us when he did the same last year!


What is your plan for Lent this year? Do you usually give something up? How can you add more of Him to your life during these 40 days?

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  1. Oh. My. I could have written this. Well, except you have a plan. And, honestly, I may take some of your plan. Because I need it. My kids need it. Especially my 3-year-old boy who has been in a trying phase of not wanting to do what is asked of him and wanting to argue and negotiate about anything, and, well, everything. Seriously, thank you for these words, and, more importantly, the message.

    • Thank you for sharing that you’re with me in this, Kristin! I knew there was a reason God wanted me to write about it! And steal any ideas you want – praying they work for both of us!

  2. You are definitely not alone. This is my focus for the year. I’m tired of being the mom that yells all the time. This year I’ve been praying about it and asking for God’s help. I try to keep scripture in my mind like a gentle answer turns away wrath. Of course I still yell sometimes. The other day I found myself yelling at my oldest. I immediately apologized to him and we prayed about it together.

  3. I am compelled to comment! I love that you kind of “came clean” with this. Some blogs I have read can make you feel like they live this happy and wonderful life and that homeschool is glorious all of the time. Well, that is NOT my life. Staying home with kids is HARD! I’ve been doing it for 17 years and homeschooling is TOUGH! I still struggle with yelling sometimes. Well, daily….but I also try daily and pray sometimes hourly for the ability to control my mouth. Most of the time I am able, but as the day goes on I weaken. Especially at dinnertime. I am working on this as well and probably always will. Good luck and you are a great example of a real mother.

  4. I am a wife and mother of 3 boys, all of which I homeschool. They are 13, 11, and 10. I always feel so guilty about yelling. and I do agree with Beth 100%. I read other websites and when I get off the computer I feel like the worlds worst mom. I do love this site for the very reason of realness, rawness and gentleness. I could have written that blog , but you did it so much better than i ever could. I also have been feeling the nudge of the Holy Spirit to deal with this issue. Thank you for the wonderful idea of giving up yelling for Lenten!

  5. You, my sweet & honest friend, are the very best kind of person … true and broken and humble but determined to walk in faith and grow. I love you. And I struggle with a similar issue in parenting … so I’ll be joining along in the less of my way, more of God’s way journey.

    Teri Lynne

  6. Thank you for this honest piece of reflection…I’m guilty of being the yelling mama sometimes, too, and it scares me how quickly it can creep into my daily parenting. Thank you for the app suggestion, too…going to check it out now! And hubby and I gave up tv for Lent, but like you, I’d sure love to give up the yelling part of me. Your words and your plan were such a blessing…thank you for sharing this!

  7. Oh how I need this journey, too.

    I’d love to see the verses you have come up with.

    All of them 🙂

  8. Great article! I have been asking the Holy Spirit to help me and guide me in this area as well! I homeschool 4 children, 2 boys 8 and 9 and 2 girls 5 and 6. Challenging! And like other people commented,you read other homeschool mom blogs and websites and everything seems perfect! This was refreshing and helpful! We give to Compassion as well. Maybe I should look into blogging for them. Thanks again! God Bless!

  9. yelling was a big issue with me as well. yes, my girls are all grown now, but it was huge. i struggled with it for a long time. why? b/c it is very complex! it is not just a habit like chewing your nails that you can break. it relates to how you manage your anger, how you deal with disrespect or being ignored, how you forgive…or don’t. actually, those are only a few of the issues that are at the heart of “yelling at my kids.” It will take time, insight from close friends and spouse, prayer and GOD’s word to work together to help this issue.

    one huge help my husband gave me that always sounds easier than it is, is not to talk so much in terms of telling them to do or not do things that aren’t important. just have a few things that are major and expect instant obedience with them. when we keep giving them chances and they don’t obey, that is when the irritation grows. punish (whatever it is) early in the process rather than later. they will know your word means something and they will listen b/c it is more judicial than angry. when it drags out, both of you get angry and the kids learn to obey up to the point of your anger, not b/c it is right. NOT a good thing:(

    having a “system” to forgive and be forgiven helps too. check out for very helpful age appropriate materials to help. deals w conflict more thoroughly than we are used to.

    anger from one part of your life will spill into others. do you have an area of your life that has you angry/frustrated? maybe you don’t feel safe expressing it there so you let it out in relationships w kids. go back and deal with area #1.

    these were a few areas that i found helpful. lessened anger/frustration for all of us.

    this by no means is a substitue for prayer. i just always felt helps from older women in additon to prayer, etc. aso helped me in the growth process:)

    • Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Martha!

    • I so agree with you Martha, that it’s very complex! Usually it happens because I’m running my own agenda, trying to rush kids through things, or know I’m guilty of getting distracted so I’m getting uptight and angry with them, or yes, as you said, I keep giving them chances instead of dealing with disobedience right away.

  10. Oh Erin, thank you so much for this! God has been speaking to me about how I let loose too often and I love your idea of keeping scriptures nearby to pour water over the fire.


  1. […] Less Yelling, More Praying at Home with the Boys […]

  2. […] week Erin from Home With The Boys wrote about how she was going to fight back – less yelling and more praying. She’s using a great little prayer app to keep scripture verses close at hand for when those […]

  3. […] at Home with the Boys posted a great blog last year on giving up yelling for Lent: This Mama’s Lenten Journey: Less Yelling, More Praying.  And her follow-up article on the verses she uses has been really helpful, too: Less Yelling, […]