Saturday 9 March 2013

The Sunday Parenting Party - Tone of Voice

Taming the Goblin

Its time for the Sunday Parenting Party. Please link up your parenting posts and check out some that are already linked up - don't forget everyone loves comments. Please don't link kids activity posts, they can be linked to Kids Coop instead. 
(Goblin is 41 months)

As you may know if you read my Sunday Parenting Party posts often, I've been trying to reduce the amount I yell. I've been noting my triggers: fatigue, hunger, Goblin flat out ignoring me, and attempts to transition from one thing to another in a hurry.
I think I've been making progress. I catch myself feeling the bile rise. I feel my heart beat suddenly start to race, and more often than previously (although still less often than I'd like) I am able to stop before I actually start to shout. I'm starting to practice turning away and breathing deeply, resetting and trying again. 
Bravo Me right? ....  Well maybe not.

You see I appear to have replaced the yelling with a stern and mean voice. I didn't realise I was doing it. I was too busy congratulating myself on not yelling to realise that I still wasn't speaking with respect. 
I was patting my self on the back for the fact that I was consistently offering an explanation when I needed to say no or enforce a boundary but I wasn't listening to how I was explaining.  
And then I heard myself.....
And it makes me sad.

Tone of voice is an important part of the message you give your children. And I have somehow adopted a "mother knows best" voice. There is no warmth or understanding. I might as well be yelling.
And what is worse I use terms of endearment within my patronising stern, cold and shaming lectures.
Here is a little example of a response I might give to Goblin and why I thought I was still practicing Positive Parenting. Try read it as if you are a loving caring mum who really wants to help their child not to feel sad.

"Yes darling, I understand that you are sad and frustrated that you can't have that toy. It's a really nice toy. But we bought you one the other week and they are very expensive. Maybe we can put it in your birthday list instead. Now shall we go and find you some socks. You can choose which ones you like."

The phrases seem harmless enough, in fact they seem quite a reasonable response to a child having a meltdown about a toy in a shop. But now try reading it like you are the most sarcastic person in the world; Like you are completely pissed off with everything and everyone and you really don't care that your child is having yet another tantrum.

Yep the second tone was me. 

Did you notice that when you were reading it like "nice mummy"you may have felt calmer and more caring. When you read it, even just pretending to be "evil mum" you may have started to feel stressed, angry, annoyed. 

So my new challenge is to try and use the tone of 'nice mum', even if I am feeling like 'evil mum'. And hopefully even if I'm just pretending, the feelings of calm and caring will return. 
I'll let you know if I have and success. 
My top five faves from last week are 

And now to the linky


  1. will definitely link up to this x

  2. I struggle too with tone and impatience. Tis hard, but for me authentic Mam is better than either nice or evil Mam. Authentic Mam gets pissed off but does some deep breathing or something instead of either losing it or faking it

    1. Thats a really good point Rach. I'm hoping if I start by faking it when I can't summon genuine compassion then the feelings might start to seep back. But you are right authenticity is important - just think authentically pissed off has been featured a bit too much recently.

  3. Thanks for such a honest post - Alice x

  4. I am struggling with this too. I hate what I'm becoming and trying to turn it around. Of course my toddler has trouble expressing her frustration appropriately - so do I.

    My first time linking up sharing about feelings of failure.

  5. Nevermind I decided to share a more positive post!

  6. Ah I've been working on 'my tone' for a long time.... it can be so hard to change that exasperated tone, or the fed up tone, or the 'I'm only just keeping it together' tone... but when I manage it I get a much better response from my kids and generally I avoid escalation, which is good for everyone!
    Loved reading that I am not alone with this struggle!


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