Friday, January 15, 2010

How Do You Use A Soft Voice?

I've been debating whether or not to post this. But in an effort to be more authentic, I think I need to put it out there. I'm sort of at my wit's end, and I really don't like feeling that way.

One of my goals as a mama is to be soft and gentle in words and actions. At all times. Even when I'm feeling frustrated. Even when I'm tired. So, here's my question. It's a question to myself, really, but please feel free to leave me an answer if you have one. And I'll do some soul-searching myself.

How do you find your soft voice

when:

You walk into your girls' room to find lotion squirted all over the place from their earlier "beauty shop" play.

You've asked {nicely, softly} about 1.2 million times {just this week} for your children to not climb up on the counters. And they continue to do so. Every.15.minutes.

You've mentioned {over and over} that as soon as socks come off the feet, they go in the hamper. And still the carpet is littered with little socks. Daily.

You've asked for scissors to be put up as soon as they are done using them, and you still have to wrestle them out of Kameryn's hands on a regular basis because they've been left on the floor.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The list goes on, but you get the idea. Just typing this, I know it seems so trivial. And no, I don't need to be reminded about the crisis in Haiti. I know that I am blessed. I know I have nothing to complain about. But I honestly don't know how to use my soft voice to ask the same question hundreds of times every day. And I want to so badly. I have been, actually. But I find myself getting close to losing my temper. So I need to know, am I asking too much? Is it just me?

Whew, it feels good just to get that out.

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11 comments :

♥Amber Filkins♥ said...

OH GURL. **If** you had a Facebook, you would see that I've been struggling major with Maddison. And I have to admit, I'm a yeller. I don't *want* to be, I don't like to be, but I do. I yell. And lately, I've been yelling a lot. And I *hate* myself for it.

And when I do, I think "Geez, what would my blog friends think of me now??"

It's a horrible feeling.

Thankfully, I'm positive that every parent loses their cool. And probably on a pretty regular basis.

I'm really trying to stop yelling. It's funny b/c I can be so super calm & firm sometimes, and then all of a sudden I lose it and start yelling.

One of the things I'm trying to work is working on what is happening when it leads up to my having to yell. Ex: I say the same things OVER & OVER & OVER and then eventually lose it. I'm trying to find a strategy, ala Super Nanny, where you say it ONCE. If they don't respond, there is a reaction, such as taking a bead out of the jar. When they do what they're told, then get a bead put into the jar. Etc. The beads can represent minutes on the computer, watching TV, whatever.

So, that's my struggle. Sigh.

Connie Weiss said...

We've been struggling with Alex for weeks. Yelling, time outs and last resort...spanking. Nothing was working. Finally, we had to change what we were doing....end the struggle and do something different.

The last two days....we stopped making Alex take a nap and now the struggle is over. We've had two lovely days of no yelling and no stress.

I don't know how to make your kids pick up their socks though.

Hang in there!

Nocona said...

I have been so convicted of the same thing. I am a yeller. I hate it but I have to admit it to change it. I realized that the reason my kids were not listening to me until I yelled was because that is what they were use to. That is one of my New Years goals. I am letting my actions speak not my yelling. If the marker gets left out for the two year old to get then the market goes into the trash. If they don't pick up then they lose it. I am also being very proactive this year in making our Sunday morning routine peaceful because I don't want them to remember that Sunday morning were when mommy lost her mind before church. I have to get all three ready on my own because my husband is a minister and has to be there earlier. So I do as much getting things ready they night before and even get myself up 30 min earlier so we don't feel rushed. Thanks for your post.

Tiffany said...

Oh, don't feel alone. I am not a yeller, but I tend to use my "mean voice" much, much more than I would like. This is an area that I have to give over to God. every day. I still fail, but God continues to show mercy. I think what has helped me the most is to control my reactions. I *try* to take a moment, breathe a quick prayer, and then address the issue. It helps. But I would love to be better at it. You are not alone. I will be back to read the other comments.

~~Mel~~ said...

Do not feel alone Liz! Every mother has been there and every mother will be there again...if they deny it then they're liars ;)

The constant cycle in this house is that I discipline Riley with a soft voice...but like you must ask or tell him the same things over and over and over again until one day I lose it and raise my voice...he gets upset and then I get upset...we both feel guilty and then we have a long heart to heart...and then the cycle continues lol. Children do not come with a manual and to think you can handle every situation with a soft voice just isn't feasible...I admire you for trying but please don't beat yourself up...the onus is on the kids too!

Anonymous said...

Oh my dear, I watch you; and I know of no one that has as much patience as you do. Seriously! I wish I could give you some good advice, but I am blank! Maybe you could take some privileges away each time you have to remind. Maybe you could send them over here to give you some relief! I would like to have them today, as a matter of fact!

Foursons said...

First off Liz- don't be so hard on yourself. You love your children, and they are well aware of it. We all make choices we aren't proud of and when we know better we do better.

I admit, I have been known to yell at my kids a time or two. *wink wink* I have found that when I react to the boys in a way that is not appropriate to their behavior that if I think it through and plan out a better way to react next time then when it happens again things go more smoothly.

For instance, when I get in a power struggle with Nolan instead of allowing myself to get worked up and frustrated I just calmly end it by telling him to go to his room. There is no option of not doing what I have told him to do and the situation doesn't escalate into something out of Mommy Dearest. I hate screaming at my kids- HATE IT. So rather than allowing myself to get so upset I try to come up with consequences before the behavior happens so that I don't get so upset.

My advice about:

Lotion- make them clean it up and forbid lotion for an entire week.

Counters- make them go to their room or time out spot EVERY time they are on it, or take away 1 minute of TV time (or whatever it is they like) for every time they are on them.

Socks- put every sock you pick up in a bag. Don't wash them. When they need socks they either go without them or wear them dirty (if you can handle that) until they learn that they need to put them in the hamper.

Scissors- Same as lotion. They don't get to use them for a length of time so they better learn how to tear paper very carefully so they can still do their projects.

And you know what? This isn't trivial. Yes in the grand scheme of things, Haiti is on a much bigger scale. But you are trying to teach responsibility and respect to your children who will one day be running this country in some form or fashion. So- it's not trivial.

This is all just my opinion and I am definitely not a parenting expert. But it has helped me to try to control myself from being spittin' mad when I have a plan in place.

sanjeet said...

Thankfully, I'm positive that every parent loses their cool. And probably on a pretty regular basis.

Work from home India

He & Me + 3 said...

I need to find that soft voice more. I do lose it more than I should. I find that when I start to lose it if I remind myself to speak in love it helps. But don't get me wrong...I lose it way to much. The Lord is really dealing with me on that. You are a great mom...they will learn. I know it is hard to keep repeating but it will sink in.
((Hugs))

Kristen said...

I.am.right.there.with.you.

Rachel Sue said...

This isn't trivial. I struggle with it as well. I don't like myself when I am yelling, but I find myself doing it so much more often than I would like.

If you find a miracle cure, please let me know. . .

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