Can You Hear Me Now?
“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
A few years ago, the New York Times had an article suggesting that screaming is the new spanking. Few parents are really eager to punish their children harshly, but many of us feel completely in the dark as to the possible alternatives. We start each day with good intentions, but it doesn’t take long before frustrations mount and we find ourselves barking out demands. We may manage to restrain our hands, but we let our words fly. So, we scream but feel guilty afterwards because we know that words can hurt, too.
What’s worse, when we scream, our kids really only hear one thing: CALM ME DOWN! We communicate the idea that if they don’t behave the way we want them to, we cannot behave the way they want us to. We show them that our ability to behave properly isn’t really up to us; it’s up to them. The rest of our message, no matter how valuable it may be, gets lost in translation.
What to do? Calm yourself down first. Remember your principles. Maintain your integrity. Then you’ll be able to guide your children from a place of calm strength. Do that, and your children stand a much better chance of receiving the message loud and clear.