How to become a calm parent
Have you ever found yourself raising your voice at your children even though it might not really be called for? Have you ever felt like a complete failure as a parent because you feel like you do nothing but nag, nag, nag at your children?
I don’t know about you, but I have.
On those days when you loath the sound of your voice, take a deep breath and remember that you can always start over. And then start over.
What’s the purpose of raising one’s voice?
It’s to alert of immediate danger. You call out to someone as they are about to step into the street and you see that there’s a car approaching.
Or when there is a physical distance that needs to be overcome. If you are greeting someone from across the street you may have to raise your voice to be heard over the traffic.
We tend to raise our voices when we’re upset, but that’s not really necessary. It’s not like we’re in any immediate danger and there is no great physical distance that needs to be overcome. If you’re in an argument, the other person can hear you just as well even though you’re not raising your voice.
Raising your voice triggers others to raise their voices and then the situation can quickly spiral out of control and you might find yourself saying things that you shouldn’t be saying or might not really mean. All of a sudden you have a full blown argument that takes time to calm down and recover from.
This goes for both adults and children. We have to teach our children to not raise their voices if not needed. They will get ahead if they can remain their cool and speak in a lower tone. But they have to learn that from you. You have to remain calm and not raise your voice.
But how are my children going to know that I’m angry and upset at them if I don’t raise my voice? They will know. They can sense that they’ve done something wrong without you raising your voice. Merely talking to them and explaining what they’ve done wrong will have a greater impact than you yelling at them.
There are adults that tend to shout a lot. This doesn’t get them ahead at all. It’s the other way around, we tend to not listen to people that constantly have a raised voice. We hear them, but we don’t really listen to them. Using a lower pitch creates confidence in that person, a high pitch makes them less trustworthy.
Practice using a lower pitch and you’ll notice that the people around you will go quiet and listen to you. Don’t interrupt others, hear them out instead. This will get you way ahead compared to yelling, using a high pitch and constantly interrupting people. The yelling, high pitch interrupter will have zero credibility and no one will take that person seriously.
When it comes to text messages in any form, the equivalent to yelling is using CAPS LOCK. Don’t do that. It’s really annoying. The exact same email really does come across differently depending on whether you’ve used small or capital letters. If you insist on activating that caps lock key, the message that you want to convey will not come across. The person reading it will be busy being annoyed and cannot grasp what the message is actually about.
So what to do if you feel that you’re raising your voice when speaking to your kids several times during the day? Wouldn’t you rather remain calm and speak in a normal tone and thereby create a better family atmosphere?
Here are some things that I’m trying to do to become a more calm person. These tips aren’t just applicable to parenting, they work just as well for trying to be a calmer person in general. Since I’ve started this deliberate practice, I’ve found myself living a more relaxed, enjoyable life. I think you will too.
Associate with calm people. It’s funny how the atmosphere in a group of people can spread. If you surround yourself with calm people that speak in a normal tone, you’ll find yourself doing the same thing without that much of an effort.
If you hang around with parents that treat their children with respect and really talk to them and hear them out, you’ll learn to do the same thing. This will improve your family life tremendously. See your children for the capable persons that they are. They simply have less experience and an immature causality thinking and therefore they need your guidance.
The classical tip of counting to 10 really does work. Take two long breaths (that takes about 10 seconds) and then deliver your response. Even if your child is being completely unreasonable, raising your voice and snapping at them will not do any good. It’ll only add to the problem.
Help them when they need help. Of course, you shouldn’t always drop everything immediately and run to their aid, but helping them as soon as possible when they have a problem makes a huge difference in your day. After all, they are asking for your help for a reason.
If you feel that it’s a problem that they should be able to solve themselves, give them suggestions on how to do so. Remember to praise them when they have successfully solved the issue themselves. If there are siblings, encourage them to help one another.
Make sure no one is hungry. Whenever someone is hungry, they tend to get whinier. Don’t ask them if they’re hungry. They will never admit to it, they might even get more upset. Just give them something to eat and wait a while. I also tend to get cranky when I’m hungry, so I have to remember this for myself as well.
Limit your outbursts when they do something by accident such as spill their milk all over the table. Try to not shout out. Simply help your child deal with the spilled milk. Next time it might be you doing the spilling.
Learn from every conflict that happens. Analyze the situation. What made you annoyed in the first place? How could you have reacted differently? Experiment and try a different response the next time something happens. You’ll soon find out what works for you and your kids.
Becoming a calmer parent will only benefit your relationship with your children. When you listen to your children, they will listen to you. The whole family will become more in sync and dinner time will be a pleasant experience.
Try it out for a while. Try to not raise your voice no matter what. Take two long breaths and then deliver your response in a calm manner.