Has your sweet little Suzy or your loving Joey ever walked into the room whining and yelling, “Mom! You have to help me find my shoes.” or “Mom! You didn’t wash my uniform!” or, hopefully, you’ve never heard this one. “Mom, I hate you!”? When this happens, do your children get a rise out of you? Have you ever yelled back or at least been tempted to yell back?
I know I have!
A few months ago, I made this suggestion to a friend and last week she told me it has made all the difference in her family, so I thought I would share it with you. Here’s your chance to teach Suzy and Joey how to communicate better. It’s a lesson in “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
When Suzy yells “at” you, she has a concern and for her it’s a big deal. She may not even realize how she sounds. So, instead of yelling back, try this. “Suzy, that’s not the way we talk to each other. Would you like to try that again?” With a little practice, Suzy will get it. When given a second chance, Suzy says, “Mom, will you help me find my shoes?” “Mom, my uniform is dirty. Can you help me?” or “Mom, I was angry when you told my friend I couldn’t go to her party. Why did you do that?” That last one may take a little longer 🙂
There will be times when little Suzy doesn’t want to try it again. Take the time to walk her through it. If she’s very upset, you might try suggesting she take a deep breath. I have, when needed, required my child to leave the room and re-enter. One time, my son had to leave a few times. BUT! It works and it’s lasting! I had very little trouble with disrespect when my children were teens and now young adults. And, what a relief to not have to deal with the temptation of yelling at my children or the yucky feeling I would get when I did yell.
There is no excuse for talking disrespectfully, but children need to be taught better communication.