Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Who is listening?

So here is what I have been thinking about for the last couple of days. Have you ever stopped to think about the way you talk to your kids? I recently was in McDonald's enjoying an ever so (not)-peaceful McDonald's Playplace experience with a couple of friends. All of a sudden I hear a mom raise her voice to her son. She was standing at the bathroom with the door open and INSISTING that he "COME HERE NOW!!"

She wasn't a "Walmart mom"either. You know the ones that look like maybe they haven't showered in a few days, and their kids look like their clothes haven't been washed in weeks, and you can tell they could care less what anyone thinks about the way they are speaking to their children which isn't usually in the least bit nice (actually as I am describing a "walmart mom" I think there have definitely been times I have been in walmart that I might actually qualify in that category!).

BUT she was a very nice looking well maintained mother, as was her son. Now just out of reflex I believe many of us looked up to see what the commotion was. All of a sudden she realized that there were many people looking at her and she sort of blushed and smiled and said, "I am really sorry. I thought I was at home for a minute!" We all kinda chuckled as we all knew EXACTLY what she was talking about.

There is a mother's home tone and a mother's public tone. The public tone is MUCH nicer most of the time than the home tone. And it got me thinking, that maybe I need to reevaluate how I speak to my children not only in public but in private as well. Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely don't begrudge this McDonald's mom. I have spoken to my kids in much the same way. But it was hearing it being said to another's child and realizing how harsh it sounded and how belittling it sounded that made me start to feel bad. I know that for me I get tired of kids not listening and having to ask the same thing over and over and finally there is a breaking point. But what I have realized is that that breaking point over the years has started to come quicker and quicker. It's almost as if I don't even give them the chance half the time to obey before I am making my directions "very clear". I have seen the look on my kids faces when I have barked out a command and it definitely isn't admiration or love that comes emanating back. But I can't really blame them. It wasn't love or admiration that was being shot at them either!

So this is what I have been thinking about lately and what I am going to try and work on. I really want to respect my children no matter what their age. I guess I think that there must be a way to direct and guide them without always bossing and intimidating them. I am not sure that I am going to succeed everyday, but I really want to try and stay present with how I am speaking to them. And realize that I should ALWAYS speak kinder to them not just when I think someone else is listening. I have a suspicion that the nicer I speak to them the nicer they might speak to each other. I know that I will still be getting frustrated and that they will probably 9 times out of 10 require me to repeat the phrase, "put your backpack away", but I am going to try! Wish me luck!

11 comments:

Rachel said...

Great goal. When's the movie night?

Kate said...

Wow! Such a great post. I really need to follow this advice. Thanks for the great reminder. I feel like I should print this post and put it up somewhere where I can read it every day. :)

Jennie Z said...

Sadly, I totally know what you are talking about. Sometimes I find myself very short fused and just have to take a step back and remind myself that these are innocent sweet kids (even when they are not). What a great challenge to try to improve ourselves in this aspect of motherhood. Thanks for the boost!

d moyes said...

Maybe you also need to consider how your talk to your husband.

JasonDebbie said...

I know what you mean, i catch myself talking very frustrated-like with my kids almost all day long. I always tell myself to stop but you don't even notice half the time when youre talking when they're being bad. So don't feel bad, lets just all work on it!

Cami said...

Most of the time, I'm the Walmart mom. 5 kids will do that to you. But good goal. I once tried to set that goal....it didn't work out so well. Good luck.

Cami LOL!

Abby said...

Jessica, I Love Your Blog!!! you Have such a Great way with Words,, I Think You really should be a writter.I want You To know That Your Mother had a very kind way With Children.I Can remember That all The reber Grandkids Loved her because she was always so Kind and Thoughtful.This last weekend as the Taylor Girls had a weekend together In Vegas, we were all remembering Things about Their Growing Up and Mauri and jaime Both said That They Missed Their Aunt beth as she was Their very Favorite!!! You remind me alot Of her... and Thats a Great Thing!! Love ya Aunt Abby

Darrell and Alissa said...

OK, so did she really have to be labled a Wal Mart Mom- couldn't she have been like a Kmart Mom or something?!;)
So true on how we talk to our kids different, I have really been thinking about this lately and have started working on it. What i realized is how often I wanted to be the K Mart;) Mom, and had to really calm down and remind myself to speak in a calmer tone. Good reminder to us all!

D & J Moyes said...

Alissa I FULLY apologize to you about the "WalMart" reference. I in no way meant to offend the empoyees of WalMart! I will from now on refer to "her" as a "KMart mom". Until the time that you are no longer affiliated with WalMart.

Andrew & Heidi said...

Jessica you could always refer to her as "Savers Mom" or "Big Lots Mom" too!
I struggle with this topic so much - I know most of the time I don't speak in the kindest tone with my children. I feel like when my kids don't behave exactly how I want them to, I lose it! But I need to keep in mind they are little kids and I'm the one that needs to change. It is definitely something I need to work on as well.

Teresa said...

Hi, I hope you don't mind me leaving a comment on your blog since you don't know me. I'm Kristine's sister (she's married to Brett) and when people post comments on her blog I like to look at their sites to put a face with the name of her friends. ANYWAY, that picture and post totally caught my attention as I was scrolling down to see what you looked like because probably like every mom, I'm working on this also. I actually had a similar funny experience at the playground. There was a mom who caught my attention because she was talking so sweetly and nicely to her kids (sad that surprised me) and everything out of her mouth was dripping with sugar-too much actually. I was curious to see if it was for real and watched her about 20 minutes. She put on a really good show enough that I envied her and set some new resolutions to be more like her. We ended up walking to our cars around the same time and I was shocked as without an audience she was yelling at her three girls, dragging them by the arm and making threats about getting in the car, etc. Not to make judgments but I did feel a little better that she was human and ended up being more resolved NOT to be like her and make such a scene... If only we could all video tape ourselves...