When your kids act up, does your voice get louder or quieter? When I’m having a good day – and I’m practicing what I preach – my voice gets softer. From years of observing successful parents and educators, I learned the value of leaning close to a child’s ear and whispering a question:
Are you going to settle down, or do you need to spend some time in your room?
Can you use a quiet voice in here or would it be best for you eat outside so you can yell?
Do you think you can play with that nicely, instead of hitting your brother with it?
There’s true power in the quiet voice! In my CD, Oh Great! What Do I Do Now?, I teach the importance of making discipline look easy, even when our kids are taking limit-testing to the limit. When we can handle things with a whisper, our kids begin to reason, “Wow! If Mom handled me that easily, what else does she have up her sleeve?”
While there are times when it’s appropriate to raise our voices a bit, doing it too often trains our children to respond only when we’re flexing our vocal cords. I don’t know about you, but this wears me out! I think I’d rather whisper and then prove to my kids that I’ll follow up with actions rather than words. I heard this example from a Love and Logic dad:
Last week I whispered to my four-year-old, “You may keep the toys you pick up.” That afternoon, I picked up the ones he left out, put them in the attic, and kept my mouth shut. Yesterday, I whispered the same thing, and he yelled, “No! I’ll pick them up!” And he did!