January 18, 2012

Kind Words - An Observation

I am no parenting expert, that much is so ridiculously obvious I really didn't even need to say it. But on occasion, I am capable of making an astute observation that helps me out in my chosen profession.

Before I became a parent, I would have sworn up and down, side to side and on a stack of chocolate that I would never yell at my children. Like, never ever.

*snort* Amateur.

While perhaps I may not be raise my voice all the time, and I certainly never yell mean and terrible things at them, on occasion the volume on my voice box does get away from me. Once I had done it, it was easy to do again. Seems like one you cross that line, it's so hard to back step across it.

Dang. I hereby vote for do-overs! And start-overs! And popovers! Wait....

But still, I try. I really do try.

One evening, as I was preparing dinner, the boys started going at it. They were flinging angry comments back and forth and it was escalating fast.

The girls decided they just couldn't be left out and had to throw in a few choice words of their own, which only fueled the situation.

I have taken to yelling above such noise to get every one's attention, but I really hate doing that. It does nothing to diffuse the situation, it only makes me upset and the kids, while they may break up the fighting, still remain in bad spirits. Still, it's often just the reaction that springs up.

Well on this particular night, I did something that I had no idea I was even going to do until I was doing it.

Speaking calmly and just loud enough to be heard so the kids knew I was talking, I said:

"You know, I think Alayna is really cute when she smiles."

A couple of the kids stopped yelling and turned to me.

"And I really think Jacob has the best laugh ever."

It was seriously incredible. At this point all of the kids stopped what they were doing and stood watching me, obviously waiting to hear what I was going to say about the next child.

"I think Joseph can say some of the sweetest things when he wants to."

A smile here, a giggle there.

"And Savannah is the best helper ever. She is just so great."

I said all this while still calmly preparing the food.

There were several seconds of silence before the kids turned back to each other. Savannah started doing her homework quietly, the boys went off to play, and Alayna went back to her coloring.

There really wasn't any kind of grand acknowledgement of what happened, except to myself. The kids stopped fighting, everyone was in a better mood, and I didn't even have to raise my voice.


The power of kind words.

Do I do this all the time? No. Should I do this more often? Definitely. Will it work every time? Most likely not.

But it won't hurt to try.

"Be patient with yourself. Perfection comes not in this life, but in the next life. Don't demand things that are unreasonable, but demand of yourself improvement. As you let the Lord help you through that He will make the difference." - Elder Russell M. Nelson

Just sayin'.

14 super cool people speak:

Nicole said...

Thanks for the reminder. I will have to try this. I hate yelling even louder just to tell them to stop yelling. Seems backward.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME!!! Will absolutely try this! And just keep "sayin"....this is perfect timing!!! This is completely what I needed to hear. It also works for VT mailouts (printing now) and my class of teenagers each Sunday.

Thanks for the inspiration!

:D Maria

Larsen said...

Hmmm, I am gonna have to try it too...

Sara Lyn said...

Great idea! "I think Serene is sooo creative." :)

Meagan said...

I'm up for any new strategy to stop fighting. Especially nice ones. Thanks Serene!

mCat said...

Great comeback for the situation! Well played mom, well played indeed

Cherie said...

Good job!! It is really amazing was a calm voice can accomplish. I wished I had learned it sooner when my kids were little.

Sarah said...

I cried. :) It could be that I'm tired or that this was real love in action. Wow!
Love you Girl!

Mikki said...

Sweet! I'm going to have to try it out. I've heard that some people just start whispering when their kids are fighting or yelling, and it supposedly makes them quiet down so they can hear what you have to say. But I really like how you made some really nice observations about your kids. You stopped the fighting in it's tracks and boosted their self-esteem in the process. Nice!

Sue said...

Pure inspiration. With a little bit of genius thrown in...


Amy said...

This is fantastic, Serene. I'm logging it away for future use. You're awesome!

I hope I can do things like that more often before charging pell-mell into a situation.

Anonymous said...

What an awesome idea! Seems so simple but usually we're so caught up in their chaos that we let it take us over too! Looking forward to trying it!

Mama Smith said...

AWE...INSPIRING! I think...I need...to post this on my Relief Society Blog...It is too good NOT TO!

Charlotte said...

I'll have to try this, as I'm getting tired of straining my vocal chords.

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