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Friday, October 2, 2009

* Mom2Mom - - To Yell or Not to Yell, that is the Question *

 From the inner chaos of Melissa j's mind:

What is my issue?

Usually people are asking me to repeat myself because I supposedly speak softly.

Not lately.

The daycare kids scream. They just yell - alot. For no particular reason other than to yell. One day, I had enough. "Stop it guys! Stop screaming! WE. DO. NOT. SCREAM. IN. MY. HOUSE! We talk in quiet voices. . . . "

My voice trailed off. I was not talking in a quiet voice. I was yelling.

And, I mean yelling.

Ok, I suppose compare to some of my friends from other ethnicities, who are known for the family tradition of screaming, I wasn't yelling as loud as I could, but for me, and my household, I was being loud.

It didn't stop there. All last week and the first part of this, I keep checking myself own voice volume. It seemed to get louder with every day that passes.

"Why am I doing this?" I wondered. "What has happened to me and my quiet home?"

Yesterday, in one of those rare moments of insight, I analyzed it. I was yelling because it seemed like they weren't hearing me. In order to be heard I raised my voice.

But is this the answer to getting the kids' attention?

I analyzed further.

My problem was, I was trying to get them to listen to me from across the room.  I was hoping that they would get what I was saying, so I could continue on with what I was doing. The more intense in my work I was, the louder my voice got. Alot depended on them hearing me and stopping what they were doing. I needed to not be interrupted. So I guess, somehow, I thought yelling was the answer?  (*snorts*)

Yesterday I tried something different. It interrupted my tasks but it brought a semblance of peace and quiet, once again to my household. When I saw snack bowls being dumped or chinchilla shavings being dug out of the cage or water being shaken out of a sippy cup (does anyone else's toddler do that!?) I stopped what I was doing (not without groans of frustration, I might add!) and I went to the child.  I knelt down to eye level, and explained in my normal, quiet voice, what they were doing wrong and they needed to stop.

Did they? No. They were typical two and three year olds and kept doing it. But I wasn't yelling anymore, which cycled them into yelling.

It was terrible two's without the noise.

What about you? Have you found the volume of your voice getting louder and louder these days?  Maybe you come from a family of yellers or maybe you're like me - - you just feel like no one hears you unless you yell. The problem is, if we practice yelling all the time, soon, that's the only thing our children will respond to. It's so much better if they can learn that we as moms mean business, even when we're talking at a normal decibel to them.

Yelling at them only breeds, you guessed it, them yelling.

I know it's hard. I'm trying to live it out myself right now. But let's encourage each other as moms to purposefully practice running quiet and peaceful households. Let's be women who speak softy but have our soft words carry a world of weight with the children when we speak them. Let's try to stop our to-do list to go to the child and stop them, instead of yelling across the room as we try to stay on task.

Let's be the one to stop the cycle of noise in our house and in the process, be our own Tylenol.


From one mom to another,


3 comments:

Danielle October 2, 2009 at 7:01 AM  

Great post...ohhh so true! It is something that we have to be constantly mindful of. I know yelling is not the answer to being heard...whenever I loose my voice have a sore throat and can't hardly talk my kids listen the best....It's more about the way we RESPOND to them, instead of REACTING to them and their needs, and bad behavior.

Courtney (Women Living Well) October 2, 2009 at 7:11 AM  

A group of 5 moms and I started a gentleness challenge last spring - where everyday we emailed each other and said whether we had successfully made it through the day without raising our voices or saying harsh words.

It has transformed my motherhood - and taken away so much guilt. Galatians 5 says a fruit of the spirit is gentleness. We must lean hard on God to become gentle mommies but it is possible with the grace of God.

I wrote about this challenge here:

http://womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com/2009/04/30-day-gentleness-challenge.html

and here:

http://womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com/2009/05/are-you-gentle.html

Thank you for sharing your thoughts - it reminded me today to continue to press on in gentleness...it's easy to slip back to old habits and ways! Thanks!

Stephanie October 3, 2009 at 9:08 AM  

I needed to read this...I've been doing the same thing! And, am not normally a "yeller."

Time for me to take a step back, breathe, and choose to be GENTLE and patient and kind... :-)


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