Power Struggles With Children: How To Leave The House Without Yelling

The power struggle with children can be daunting, especially when leaving the house without yelling is the ultimate goal...Even with the best of intentions it can be hard to avoid and that's why we collected all of the best tips in this powerful support strategy!

You know those mornings when everyone is late, no one is wearing matching shoes, the car doesn’t have enough fuel to make the school run, and your toddler is having a meltdown because their water bottle isn’t the right colour? [Yeah, we see you nodding. Those mornings.] The power struggles with children can be daunting if not somewhat soul destroying...

It can be hard to avoid occasions like these, and once they start happening, these power struggles are extra-difficult to diffuse, but by implementing a few little tips, tricks and preparation methods, you can at least reduce the frequency and volume a little. We've got your back! Our team collected all of the best tips in this helpful article to support you on these tough days. Find out how to leave the house without yelling below:

Set the scene

Kids adapt to their surroundings super-easily, which is why a chaotic morning will usually escalate until someone snaps. If you’re already running late, rushing around, digging under the couch for your keys and getting agitated, chances are your child will pick up on that vibe and follow suit. 

We all know kids tend to do what we do, not what we say, so when they see you in a tailspin, throwing lunch boxes around and yelling blue murder, they’re likely to do the same. Go into yourself and try to find out what is causing you to feel so rushed?  Do you struggle with mornings, too much noise, too much activity, etc.? Do you feel uncomfortable because your child goes to school looking like they got in a fight with a brush? It’s ok. Take a deep breath and relax. Just knowing that these things are triggers will help you make a plan to handle them differently in the future.

Keep calm

Power Struggle With children

Easier said than done, right? But stress and rushing initiate our fight or flight response, which can quickly lead to overwhelm, frustration, and anger for the whole family. Yelling doesn’t come out of nowhere and is usually a response to a specific behavior. You are triggered by something . As mentioned above, you need to discover what causes you to explode and then you will have a greater chance of avoiding it. Letting the stress of the situation takes you on a wild ride to parenting hell, you need to take a moment to step back and breathe. Think about what can you do in this moment to get everyone out the door as quickly as possible, but in a calm, efficient way. After all, if you’re already late, no amount of raised voices is going to change that.

Yelling doesn’t work anyway

Not only does frequent yelling create an unpleasant home environment for the whole family, but it is also ineffective as a discipline tool and can teach your child to use aggression to get their own way. The more you yell, the less your child will listen, the angrier you’ll get. Yelling isn’t communicating—it actually undermines the legitimacy of parents’ concerns and often makes children shut down instead of listen.This type of negative behavior cycle and constant exchange of harsh words over time can have a long-lasting, damaging effect on a child and your relationship with them.

power struggle with children

Preparation is key

Life’s craziness doesn’t always make this easy, but preparation is your best friend when it comes to enjoying a blissfully uneventful weekday morning. Dedicating just 30 minutes each evening to preparing lunches, uniforms and work outfits for the next day can make all the difference. It’s easier said than done sometimes, but take a moment and think about the things that are making you feel rushed, and see if there are any changes you could try. This will bring about a sense of achievement and calm, which can have a positive effect on your mood and quality of sleep, and set the tone for the next day.


We all know it’s important to start the day with a healthy, nutritious meal, but unless you’re prepared, the dreaded “what do you want for brekkie?” question will be met with a bombardment of varying orders from pancakes (without ‘bits’), to scrambled eggs (with smiley-face toast), to cereal that must be served in that special bowl which you can’t find right now. Having a stash of freezer-friendly, grab-and-go breakfasts such as muffins, omelette burgers, frittata and smoothie bowls will give you a heap of options for those mornings when you’re running a little late.

Rendezvous point

Create a dedicated space near your front door for school bags, shoes, jackets and anything else that’s needed each morning. Let your child create labels for their space, choose their own colour theme and help you hang hooks or paint benches. Having a place for all of their essentials could be just the thing to introduce some organisation and forward planning to help you nail your mornings. This will not only help with leaving the house without yelling but also being a good example for your kids. Show them that you create an organised spot where you head out to the world and they will learn that organisation helps with managing daily life.

power struggle with children

Get them involved

Threatening and constant nagging or reminding often do not do the job and result in a lose/lose situation both in respect and control. Instead, look for ways to connect with your child before you try to move them onto the next thing on the morning agenda. When things start to escalate, get down on their level, get their attention, offer a hug and a deep breath. Involve them in the morning process instead of just barking instructions at them. Having a conversation with them on how you can tackle mornings as a family, even with younger kids, is a great communication tool. For example, the morning routine for daycare, kindy or school can be a great addition to your household chores and provide extra opportunities to get thumbs up for a goal that your child wants to achieve. The Thumsters app offers the perfect platform to integrate something fun and engaging into the morning routine, offering a positive spin and diffusing stress. Try including tasks such as making sure their uniform is ready to go the night before, helping to prepare and pack lunches or breakfast, or packing their bag and placing it by the front door as reasons that they receive a thumb up. At a certain number of thumbs up they reach their goal and can decide on something that they would like to do (an icecream after school is a favourite!) By doing this, chores will be associated with achievement and fun activities. Thumsters is a great family tool for building healthy habits, positively influencing your child's behavior AND the whole family dynamic! Find out more by clicking here.

How do you wrangle your mornings?

Hopefully, we’ve given you a few extra tricks to keep up your sleeve ready for the next 'manic Monday'. 

Tell us in the comments below what tricks you use, and whether or not you’re going to try a new approach after reading this blog.