The Power of Calm
Are you a yeller?
Don’t worry, I’m a recovering yeller. It’s something I’m working on. I always joke that I can easily handle a class of 30 four year olds and stay very calm, however, it’s a different story with my own children.
I’ve been in situations before where I have been shaking with anger and I have yelled so loudly that I’ve hurt my voice. At the time it feels like the only option but as soon as you’re done, the guilt rides over you like a huge wave dumping you into the ground. You realize that you have lost control of the situation. Everyone (including you) is feeling scared, sad and hurt. And guess what? It doesn’t change your children’s behavior next time. In fact, they now think it’s ok to yell because you do it. Your children copy everything you say and do. They are always watching you and mimicking you. I am always noticing my girls playing ‘mummies and daddies’ and mimicking our every move. It’s sometimes funny but sometimes terrifying.
I hate admitting this, but I’ve blurted out the word ‘shut up’ in the past (in the heat of the moment). Much to my delight they have been repeating it randomly and watching for my reaction. When they first said it I was very quick to tell them not to say that again (which is the worst thing you can do!). I was just so shocked and mortified that they picked it up! Now they say it every now and then to see what reaction they can get. I’m doing my best to ignore it so they forget about it but it’s really hard!
It was this event that spurred me to learn some strategies to help me in tough situations with my kids where I lose my cool. I’ve based this blog post from the strategies I’ve learnt from Positive Parenting Solutions. If you need any sort of parenting help, you will find all the strategies here! I’ve been putting into practice what I’ve learnt and I’m actually seeing positive results. While I am no where near perfect (and never will be), I have definitely improved and my stress levels have definitely decreased. I’ve learnt that we usually use our power over our children in negative ways. But we want to learn to use our power in positive ways.
So what have I been using to help me stay calm in difficult situations???
I have been learning to use a ‘Calm Voice’ (even in the heat of the moment).
This may seem pretty basic to you, but it’s no easy feat. However, when you see the positive effects it has on your children’s behavior and how you feel, it will motivate you to stick it out.
Try these 6 tips to help you remember to use a calm voice:
1. Use sticky notes and place them around the home to remind you! Sounds silly, but seeing a visual reminder actually helps. I have one on the fridge, one on the girls’ bedroom door and some in the play areas. Basically anywhere we spend a lot of time. I also put reminders on my phone! DO what it takes to use a calm voice. Count to 10, do some deep breathing, leave the room. You’ll be setting a good example for your children how to calm your body and emotions when you’re upset. Remember that our children mimic us. When they see you calm yourself down, they will be more likely to do the same. When I feel myself getting flustered, I spot one of my sticky notes and make an effort to take a deep breath and calm down.
2. Make your physical environment more soothing. When I first heard this, I thought to myself ‘how on earth do I do that?’. But something as simple as playing classical or other chilled music makes it a lot harder to get angry! Everyone is more calm!
3. Reduce the VOLUME and PACE of your speaking. If you can quieten and slow down your pace, you’ll find your kids will do the same.
4. Speak with a smile. It’s really hard to be angry when you’re smiling. It can go a long way in helping you remember to use your calm voice and diffusing power struggles.
5. Walk INTO the room to speak to your child. When we shout from room to room, we are raising the tension and volume of the house hold. And then when they don’t hear us the first time, we yell even more. It’s just a recipe for stress for all of us.
6. Put out positive energy! Are you the ‘stressed out, hurried, got to get things done mum or dad’? Or are you the ‘in the moment, happy to be with everyone, calm and peaceful’ mum or dad? Our kids totally feed of our energy and we will get the same energy right back from them.
Put up the visual cues to remind yourself to smile, to be the ‘in the moment, happy and positive mum or dad’ (most of the time).
After doing this for a week, notice what happens with your kids. As you are more aware of using your calm voice, you’ll notice your kids using the calm voice more often. Your family environment will become calmer and less chaotic.
The power of a calm voice is truly amazing but it can be a challenge! Try these 6 tips this week and really make an effort to use your calm voice most of the time. I think you’ll love the way it makes you feel and what it does for your family. xx