Parenting Lesson #2394: Shut Up More.

I’m on Day 6 of the worst case of laryngitis known to man. No voice. A teeny-tiny whisper is all.

I’m of the mind-set that things “happen to us” for reasons. And laryngitis is usually a big-fat-case of the universe wanting me to shut up. Which as you can imagine, doesn’t come easily to me.

But some amazing things have happened in my parenting in these past 6 days, leading me to believe that the universe wants me to broadcast why I think we all need to shut up a little bit more in our parenting.

#1. The big one. When I am not talking, there’s a lot more room for Pascal to be talking.  And for me to listen. And man…has he been talking.

#2. I have to actively listen. Because I can’t listen with half an ear and give a “mmm-hhmmm. That’s cool.” I’m finding myself looking him in the eye and responding with my full attention, facial expressions, and body language.

#3. Eye contact. I can’t holler for him across the house (and for some reason, he thinks he can’t do the same, even though his voice is fine). I have to go find him, look him in the eye, whisper and hand-gesture what I’d like him to do.

#4. Because of #3, I DON’T NEED TO REPEAT MYSELF. Did you hear that? I don’t need to repeat myself. I ask once and that’s it.

#5. The very bizarre but interesting phenomena that happens when you can only whisper. EVERYONE is whispering back to me. It’s the funniest thing. BUT it’s also making for a very quiet household. Don’t get me wrong…I like a loud, boisterous house (cause I’m me) but the last week, there’s just no yelling. I rarely yell in anger…I’m talking the yelling to get his attention from across the house. I think maybe we don’t like it when someone yells for us…including kids.

#6. Reprimanding his behavior.  I have ALWAYS either taken Pascal out of the mix or whispered a reprimand to him. I have never shamed him loudly in front of others (this is a huge sticky point for me). But without a voice, this is even better. I’ve been giving him a look and a finger wag and whispering no to him. HE GETS IT. I think when we reprimand behavior we don’t shut up about it. And you know what? Most kids KNOW THAT THEY’VE DONE SOMETHING WRONG. We don’t need to go on and on and on and on about it. Once. Stop. No. That’s it.  Of course, some things, especially as kids get older need talking about but for Pascal and where he’s at developmentally…that’s not the general case.

#7. No mindless responses. I REALLY try to curb my mindless responses. Especially “good job”….when I may have barely glanced at whatever it is he is showing me. As mentioned in #2, I have to RESPOND, mindfully. I’m digging it.

#8. We are being SUPER demonstrative. Sometimes I think we talk our affections with our kids but showing it more often is delicious. Especially with an 8 year old boy who is finding his way on what to show and not show. Since I can’t convince him with my voice, I’m having to tackle him with snuggles. Which of course, he adores as he’s brushing them off.

I think the universe wanted me to shut up as we enter the crazy holiday season. Without a voice, I’m finding myself so super connected to Pascal in a very visceral, physical way. I’m going to try to remember all of these joys once my voice comes back.

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Author: Jamie

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