Get Close. Get Low. Get Quiet.


Mom Lesson #187:  

Lower your voice to raise their value.

Get CloseIf you’re like me, you catch yourself raising your voice at your kiddos.  You never set out to be a yelling mama, but somewhere between sweeping the floor for the third time before noon and re-folding the laundry your precious one thought would be fun to unfold, you lost yourself.  You know that yelling doesn’t yield the results you want, but your brain is too tired to consider other options.  I hear you mama!

I grew up in a loud house.  There was lots of yelling – some good and some bad, some instructional and some not, so I am used to yelling, even comfortable with it.  But then I got married and moved in with a man who did not grow up in a yelling house.  Oops.  You mean everyone doesn’t communicate at the top of their lungs?

Since yelling didn’t work with my husband, and I eliminated it from my typical methods of communication early on, I was surprised when I started up again with my kids.  Somewhere deep in my psyche there’s this voice that says “the louder you are, the more they’ll listen” when the opposite is true – with kids and adults alike.  So I started to examine why I yelled, and I came up with the following: I yell because I want the best for them.

I yell when they are doing something unkind because I want them to treat each other (and others) well.  I yell when they are in danger, because I want them to be safe.  I yell when they are maliciously disobedient because I know they are capable of better.  I’m not yelling about spills or potty accidents (because I let go control of that stuff awhile ago), I am yelling because I simply want the very best for their little lives.   

But the yelling doesn’t work (unless my goal is to scare them into submission, which leads to kids who lie and hide things from their parents for fear of disappointing them).  And so, there must be a way to communicate to them that I want the best for them – without yelling.  There must be a way to tell them that I want the best for them, and show them that they matter more to me than their momentary behavior.

Here’s what this sort of discipline looks like for me:

  1. Get close. Discipline happens best in close proximity.  Instruction does not flow well through walls, around corners, nor up or down stairs – it leaves too much room for distraction and temptation.  Take the extra steps to get close to your children, to hold their hand, extend a gentle touch to their upper arm or put a hand on their shoulder while you instruct them.
  2. Get low. Discipline happens best at eye level.  Just like adults, kids know you are serious when you look them in the eyes.  It’s harder to ignore someone who is looking right at you.
  3. Get quiet. Discipline happens best at low decibels.  Hearing is biological – we can or can’t do it – but listening is learned.  When someone lowers their voice our human nature is to lean in, and to quiet ourselves so that we can listen, and that’s exactly what we need our beloveds to do.

These three practices have done as much for me as for my kiddos.  I have found that the walk across the room calms my anger, the kneeling humbles me, and the quiet voice makes me think seriously about the words that are about to come out of my mouth and how they will impact my children – in that moment and over the long haul.



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