Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tone of Voice

Mary Grace is about |-| this close to being kept home today because of her bad attitude. She's whining and bitching and crying and being an absolute snot to her sister. She had a third degree hissy fit over which outfit she was going to wear (she wanted to wear winter dresses, I said no because she'd roast).

We're headed to an outdoor art festival, then to Brandon's house this evening. It would be a serious punishment if I said, "Nope, sorry, you blew it," and kept her here. She's been warned. Twice.

But then I listen to Mary Grace speak to Claire, and I realize that she uses the same angry tone of voice when she speaks to Claire that I often use when I speak to Mary Grace.

I really need to work on this. I need to work on the yelling. I need to work on the anger. But OH! it's hard. They don't effing listen to me half the time. Claire will be doing something, and I'll say, "Stop," and she'll just look right at me and keep doing it. They Never. Stop. Talking. Ever. The constant babbling and chatter and noise just grates on my nerves, and is starting to drive me insane. Mary Grace is in a big Baby Talking phase, and she calls me "Mama" (which drives me INSANE, and she knows it) and baby talks. Short of washing her mouth out with soap when she baby talks, what do we do?

And how do I stop yelling? Because maybe if I stop, Mary Grace will, too.


chicagogoebel said...

we have a friend of a friend who whispers when he's mad at the kids. It keeps him calm and means that the kids have to quiet down to hear him. Also very effective in public settings since the kids are acustomed to a whisper from dad means trouble you can get your point across w/o a scene.

Let me know how it goes. Marc is just getting to the age where Alex and I are discussing what is worthy of discipline and how to do it. fun times.

Anonymous said...

God love ya. Don't know what to say. I was blessed with a kid who never, ever, ever questioned authority. People teased that I didn't really know what having a kid was like since she was so angelic.... then she turned 14. Whoa, stop the bus! I locked her in the car, rolled up the windows, turned off the radio and said 'this is the conversation we're having and you'll simple listen... you will no longer treat your parents like dirt while you treat your friends like royalty. Being crappy to us while we're able to see you are capable of decent, kind, giving moments with friends, is a slap in the face and you'll straighten up and fly right or learn quickly the definition of grounded'. She never, ever stepped over the line again. I don't know why that conversation can't be had when they are three. MG is bright enough but you have to stick to your guns and follow through. Empty promises of punishment will kill the deal. You are right, there needs to be consequences for bad choices and bad behavior and reward for good. Marble jar? Worked for my sister.
xo, Connie

Cate said...

We are totally on the same wavelength. I have been worried about how much I'm raising my voice -- I was so careful when Esther was a baby that she be around no yelling, no scary noises... now Esther and I have a yelling match once every couple days, and Iris is party to all of it. I am worried about how this is affecting her development. Every time things start to amp up, I tell myself, "This is going to be the time I handle this calmly" and before I know it, it's a five alarm fire again, and I sound like the fire engine. I like the whispering suggestion; I'm going to try it and see how it goes.

Have the T-shirt said...

I always used the "whisper" method with my kids. They see your lips moving, but they have to SHUT UP to hear you.

Of course, it doesn't always work, but it works most of the time.

My mom was a real yeller and I just knew I never would be. There were times I had to walk away for a few moments, but it was very, very rare for me to yell at my kids.

What cracks me up is that even though I was not a yeller, my younger son, now 19, IS a yeller. And a slammer of doors. And a stomper of feet. Etc. Very dramatic!

Bottom line, the more upset my kids got, the calmer I got in reaction, even though INSIDE my pulse was racing, you'd have never known it to look at me or see me in action.

So basically, you have to do a lot of play acting as a parent!

leigh said...

Ohhh, how I have been there and done that. My prima-donna wanted to wear a sundress to preschool on the only day here in Georgia that it wasn't going to get above freezing. Yell. Fest. And I hear my oldest speaking to the little ones in the same tone. It truly makes me cringe. The thing I have learned is that their memory of these kinds of things is much shorter than ours and therefore, we have time to change our ways. I just keep trying.