Tuesday, October 14, 2008

WFMW: Turn Down the Volume



I wrote in this post that I don't yell at my children. I meant that sincerely. I really don't yell. Shannon emailed me about another subject, but asked me to tell her how I managed the not yelling and subsequently pronounced my reply post-worthy, so here it is.

Of course, I never intended to yell at my kids. I had been yelled at, and I knew how it felt. I knew I'd never do such a thing. Then I actually had the kids. Yelling came frighteningly easily to me. I didn't yell profanities or threats. I didn't scream vulgarities. I simply raised my volume because I wanted to be heard. Or to make a point. To a three-year-old. I can't think of anything more frightening to a 37-pound child than a giant grown-up towering overhead and yelling. I knew this wasn't the kind of mother I wanted to be. I always meant to never yell again, and when I failed I felt like a complete monster. I brought up the subject with my Mothering Mentor, who said, "Yelling is lazy mothering." Ouch. She added, "Purpose in your heart not to raise your voice." I thought that was what I was doing after every yelling episode, but I was mistaken. She went on to tell me HOW to go about it.

First, she told me to pray about it specifically every day for 6 months. Whether it was currently a problem or not, I was to bring this habit before the Lord every single day. This had the effect of keeping me acutely aware of my desire not to raise my voice. The result was that the instances of yelling immediately decreased dramatically.

Next, she had me search the Scriptures for specific passages relating to this struggle. She didn't give me any hints, either. I found a few that really spoke to me and I committed them to memory.

Lastly, she suggested that I make a plan. I was to come up with a new routine that I could employ instead of yelling. Now, when I need to make myself heard, I stop what I'm doing and go to the person I need to address. I put my hands on them in a loving way and wait for them to make eye contact with me. Then I tell them what I have to say in a soft, controlled voice. This serves me in that it ensures that what I say is exactly what I mean, no more and no less. It keeps me from just popping off with the first thing that comes to mind. I have stopped the van at times to get out, go around to the passenger side and lean into the back seat to deliver instruction. The children know that if I've stopped the car, somebody's going to lose a Nintendo DS.

It takes a lot of extra time at first, but now, 15 years down the road, I can honestly say that it saves me time, since I don't ever have to repeat myself and my children have been trained to attend to my voice and obey the first time. I've received a return on the extra time a hundredfold. Another benefit is that, in this household of 7, there isn't any yelling.

Not yelling works for me. For more great tips, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer.

45 comments:

  1. Wow, this is exactly what I needed to hear--and need to share with a friend. We've just purposed to pray for each other about this problem. Seems like your post is very timely! God's timing, no doubt!

    Thank you!

    Jeanne

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  2. Great suggestion - especially the eye contact. Will give it a go.k

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  3. Great post. I am so glad to here thing turned out so well.

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  4. This was terrific! There is nothing like daily bringing our problems to the Loed to help get them solved. Great post!

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  5. Great advice. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Fantastic post! And I love that the general principles can be used to create change in us in a variety of areas. Thanks for writing about this!

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  7. This is good stuff!

    May I link to this?

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  8. Thanks for your tips! I really needed this today. I've been slipping into too much yelling here, and it makes us all miserable.

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  9. THANK YOU for this very encouraging post!! This is something I have really been struggling with. Of course I don't want to raise my voice, but it seems like it just happens. Thank you for such godly, practical advice--I will apply immediately!

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  10. Oh my, I could have written this post (up until the part where you were able to change). This is such great advice. Thank you.

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  11. Very good! I get in trouble with voice tone and facial expressions a lot. Kids think I'm super angry but I'm not. Looks like I need a game plan. Thanks!

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  12. People I've been to her house and SHE.DOES.NOT.YELL. Like I just did in all caps. Ahem.

    Thank you for this post. It is easy and I needed to hear this. Or read it, whatever.

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  13. What an encouragement for me today. Thank you so much for posting this and for being specific in sharing what your mentor shared with you.

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  14. This is an answer to prayer. I'm beginning my 6 month prayer journey today. Thank you for sharing.

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  15. See, now I want to yell because CLEMNTINE IS BACKKKK!! WOO HOO! I am so glad you are blogging again. Congrats on baby Jesse!

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  16. What a fantastic tip. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. I really needed this, thank you for sharing.

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  18. Wow, I really needed to read this. Thanks so much.

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  19. Shannon was right. This was definitely post-worthy. Thank you for sharing it!

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  20. Wow- thanks for sharing this. What a neat encouragement about good parenting. My son is only 10-months old, so I can't say I've ever yelled at him, but I know my day of temptation will come, and I will remember your post. Thank you!

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  21. This is so encouraging. Thank you for the help.

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  22. I followed the link from Rocks in My Dryer... THANK YOU. I'm putting these on a sticky note next to the computer. I've been re-struggling with this--we have a very... SPICY three-year old, after two very compliant older children, and I need to retrain me before I can retrain her.

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  23. Great words of wisdom. Thank you so much for sharing such practical steps!

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  24. Oh, Clemntine, I'm soooo sooo glad to see you blogging again. I wasn't aware that you were up and running. Was I the last to know? I sure remember when you stopped tho. Grey day here in Seattle.

    Loved this post. What an inspiration for me--even so I don't "yell up the stairs" for someone.

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  25. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    You know, I taught high school for ten years before we had children of our own. And I always thought I was a fairly patient person. But three kids in three years has been enough to bring me to my knees - in repentance for my pride and arrogance in thinking of myself as patient. I haven't made a habit of yelling - but it's almost as if the noise and commotion of the days build up inside of me and then for no apparent reason I find myself yelling! And then I'm overwhelmed with guilt!!

    Thanks for a step by step plan. During these days of diapers and laundry - sometimes I really need someone to just tell me what to do.

    Blessings to you and yours!

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  26. This is great for all mom's its never to late to start.
    I have to tell you my favorite color is also yellow. Love your look!!

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  27. I got laryngitis for the first time a couple of years ago. That was my first notion that I was a yeller--not a screamer and I usually didn't yell when I was mad. Still, I was surprised with how crippled I was without a voice. It was a quick check for me, but shortly after my voice came back, so did the "lazy mothering." I like the long-term approach to this. Combined with the power of prayer, we mothers can do anything!

    Thank you for the post.

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  28. I needed this post - 12 years ago. I have recently been trying to mend my ways, especially with my "hard of hearing" son. I may be seeing some change. May. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  29. I am committing to doing this.
    I hate yelling. With a passion. But I'm guilty of it more than I'd like to admit.
    Thank you for posting how you overcame this. I needed to hear it.

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  30. Thank you. I have been struggling so much and the yelling has gotten out of control. This Sunday afternoon I am glad I found your post of encouragement and faith that He will turn this around if I ask and search and trust.

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  31. This is so timely for me. It seems whenever I am under stress, instead of taking it to the Lord in prayer, I take it out in the form of raising my voice (never screaming...but definitely loud) at my children.

    Thank you SO much for giving clear, concise information as to how to go about ending this cycle of destruction. My mother never once raised her voice in all her years of parenting me, but when asked, could never tell me how she did it.

    Like you did in the beginning, I keep thinking I've purposed to stop, but I will be praying daily about this from now on until I succeed with the Lord's help.

    Thanks - I know my kids will appreciate it much more than I do - but I am ever so grateful. :)

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  32. Awesome! I needed this, thank you so much!

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  33. Thank you so much! I struggle in this area and am convicted every time I yell at my kids. I'm going to use this plan at our house starting today.

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  34. I'm going to start this today. Right now.

    Beautifully written. Beautifully executed.

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  35. Thank you for posting this. I'm trying as of now. I like that you've got concrete steps to follow- much easier than just trying to remember when the urge hits to yell.

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  36. Dana - I have to tell you. Been doing this all week...and it works.

    Bless you and my kids thank you.

    :)

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  37. Wow! I wish I had read this about 17 years ago. I yell WAY too much. I need to commit this to prayer. I think I am believing the lie that it can't be overcome. It can. Thanks for the post.
    Smiles!

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  38. thanks for sharing this! Long Days, Short Years suggested that I read this and it is inspiring.

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  39. Thanks for sharing this. I posted a link to it on my blog!

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  40. Thanks - I needed that. Any advice on getting my daughter to stop shouting instead of talking? Yes, we did get her hearing checked.

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  42. Thank you for this post. A great reminder for all of us.

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