You know exactly what I am talking about don’t you? Its not just mommies who use them but its definitely mommies who have perfected the use of such a tone. There is the acceptable mommy tone, and then there is the one that every pre-child woman swears she’ll never use. Let’s be honest, how many of us mommies (or dads :) have humbled ourselves and used that tone anyway?
I found myself using it a few times last week and then I had to remind myself of the principles I applied for the last 2 years that kept me from needing the less than flattering mommy tone. Here are some of those principles.
1. Give yourself one full, conscious, second to respond to your child.
This brief moment in time will help put things into perspective and keep you from responding in annoyance when your child stubs his toe during the highlight of your favorite TV show. It can also help you assess the needs appropriately and choose your tone wisely.
Children are intelligent, and you will not find anyone who believes that more than I do, but, make it easy for your child to obey by asking things the same way every time. When our children were at the crawling stage (4-6 mos) and they were obviously reaching for something they ought not have been touching, we simply said, “JJ, no touch.” We stated things clearly, kindly and simply. Other often used phrases include, “Stay with Mommy,” “Hold Mommy’s hand please,” “Don’t eat that,” “Go to Daddy please,” “No whining” etc (once they are at the walking stage we insert the word please :). We said the same thing, the same exact way every time. It just made life simple.
3. Give your child some credit.
They are capable of being pleasant (if their basic needs are met), but will not usually exceed your expectations of them. Set your goals where you want them and expect wonderful things from your child. A positive encouraging parent can teach their child to excel in many areas, but children MUST know that their parents believe they are capable FIRST.
4. Talk to your child as you would anyone else.
I believe this is a confidence booster. I have held conversations with my daughter since she could barely hold her head up. I keep her informed of what is going on and why I am making decisions they way I do. To use a certain tone of voice like she were a child (and she is yet 2.5) would be condescending. Yes she is a child, and yes I want her to enjoy her childhood, but there is no need to put her in her place. You have a better chance of your child acting maturely if you speak to them with respect.
5. Realize your motive.
All those phrases I mentioned in point number 2 were all for safety’s sake. I don’t want my child running through the parking lot, or choking on marbles, or….You get the picture. So many of my expectations are in place so they can survive childhood alive! But that is not the only goal in parenting now is it? Our simplified goal is to raise adults who contribute to society and glorify Jesus. Filter your actions today through your long term goals. May our goals never be short-sided to include things like getting out of the grocery store without embarrassment. Short-sided goals could leave us frustrated at temporary failures, but keeping the bigger picture in mind will give us the grace to try again with a good attitude.
- A Mother’s Credo: “I Believe in Love” (mommymanders.com)
- Parenting Lessons (ldrandall.wordpress.com)
- How Do I Get My Child To Say Please and Thank You?? (athomeearlyon.wordpress.com)