We’ve all been there—raising our voices or losing our cool with our kids more often than we want. This mom asks how to not yell at a kid who gets under her skin.

Q: I am a recovering-yeller, and do not even have a 30-day chip under my belt. I have always been quick to anger and highly impulsive in my parenting technique. My son (9 years old) is one of those extremely head-strong, defiant kids that can really get under my skin.

I’ve been making a solid effort to turn myself around to better our family unit, but I could really use some support because at this point, I just feel like a shameful failure.

While trying to maintain composure and authority with my son the past 2 days, there have been moments where I was utterly lost on how to proceed and he could see it. I would state my expectations, make it very clear what I would not tolerate, and then walk away. Cool as a cucumber. But then he would follow me and demand an explanation as to why I was asking this of him, or why he wasn’t allowed to do this, or why I was refusing to listen to his complaints. He would not stop. Out of desperation, I calmly told him that if the behavior did not stop, I would take his most precious toy that he had just received from his birthday and that it would not be given back at any nearby point in the future. His behavior continued. Obviously, I had to follow through. Because I followed through, he began shrieking. It was 8 p.m. in the evening, we have neighbor children that are already in bed, and our infant daughter was asleep. It was a huge disruption. I again rolled with the punches, and let him shriek it out until there was enough calm for me to tell him that he had two choices: Calm down, learn from the consequences, and get in bed, or continue down this path and make matters worse. To my utter surprise, he stopped, got in bed, and didn’t utter another word until he asked for a goodnight hug.

Yes, you probably have a mountain of misbehaviors, but trying to tackle them all at once will leave you frazzled and overwhelmed, and your son feeling like he can’t do anything right.

I was on cloud 9, I felt like Super Mom. I have never had a battle with him that didn’t end in awfulness and him crying until he wore himself out.

However, I noticed today that he tested me several times and I didn’t know what to do on the spot to handle it. There are only so many privileges I can take away as he is already limited on electronics and spends most of his time outside. I took away bike-riding privileges until his behavior (disrespecting me) changes. I just feel like there are a mountain of misbehaviors to tackle and I don’t know what to pinpoint and how to tackle them. Help!

A: First of all, a huge congratulations for handling the first situation! You stood your ground, calmly, and your son saw that you would not be moved. You won that battle…but not the war, as you saw the next day when he tested you again.

And now you feel like you’re running out of options and desperation is setting in. I think you would benefit from Tickets or Strikes for consequences/behavior management, as it would take the guesswork out of what to take away, give you a firm response, and provide some leeway for your son as you work on the top three misbehaviors.

Yes, you probably have a mountain of misbehaviors, but trying to tackle them all at once will leave you frazzled and overwhelmed, and your son feeling like he can’t do anything right. Not a recipe for success! But Tickets or Strikes will give you the tools you need to help your son shape up. You will so relieved and your son will be able to mark his own progress toward becoming a better behaved young man.

My “Good & Mad: Harnessing Emotions Online Course” provides parents with the tools to help your child manage their emotions.