Voices Carry - Seven Things I Learned on This Parenting Journey
I almost scrapped this post. I wrote it up and started editing it. Then I had to step away because mommy duties called. As I found myself frustrated and wanting to yell. "SIT DOWN and WAIT." I thought about my post I just wrote. This beautiful idea and goal I have to be better about choosing my words. Now, look at me, wanting to yell and fuss and do the opposite of some of the things I wrote about. So, what did I do? I sat on it for a full week and then I realized that this is the point. This is real life and we all as parents have area's in which we can improve on. Mine is patience for them and giving myself grace when I make mistakes. Here I am back and ready to share this with you anyway. Enjoy.
"The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice." ~ unkwn
A while back a friend posted a video of her son when he was a toddler. They were walking together and he was repeating positive affirmations with her. While at that age he may not have understood just how powerful a habit like that can be. I am certain that the older he gets he will see just how important it was for her to start this practice with him at such a young age. As he grows and goes through different life events and even in moments of uncertainty these thoughts will return to him and help.
As a mom myself, with children in several stages of life, college, high school, elementary, pre-k & one still in pull-ups, I find myself constantly evolving as a mom. Some of my values as a mom are constant while some areas are still open to change as I learn and grow. I am ok with admitting that I am not perfect and I too make mistakes. As I watched that video it reminded me of a post I did on Instagram a while back. It was titled (the same as this post) "Voices Carry". You can check it out here and below:
02.15.17 | Voices Carry (Warning Long Read) • I was working on the #WhenSilenceSpeaks writing challenge by @ggreneewrites and as expected I fell behind. I still plan to finish the challenge and using the prompts to write nightly. • In an effort to catch up I landed on the prompt #VoicesCarry and immediately I thought about the moment I was having right then. My 4 year was throwing a tantrum over some ridiculous candy she got from school. I caught myself yelling at her to be quiet and had to walk away and tell my husband to handle it. He isn't a yeller and he is very laid back. I went to my room to meditate and calm down because I hate yelling at the kids. I hated getting yelled at as a kid. It only made me cry more. After 2, yes 2 guided meditations I felt better. She was calm and I was too. She climbed into my bed and went to sleep. I picked up my journal and this prompt had me thinking about what just happened. • As a parent, I don't want to parent through intimidation it doesn't help situations. My relationship with my oldest is great because of transparency and honesty. I don't want my kids to fear me to the point that they are scared to come to me when they are upset or hurt. I want to be that safe place that allows them to be open. At 4 years old I can't talk to her like I do with my 20-year-old. I can't have completely logical conversations with her because logically not eating candy before dinner makes no sense to her. So I need a new approach. Still working on that. Pray for me. • • I just want to remind you to be mindful of what your words, demeanor, and actions say to your children. Also, the behaviors they will learn and believe to be acceptable. Your voice carries intention, love, hate, anger, disappointment, approval, rejection, life and so many other things that are absorbed by their little brains and hearts. When you feel your self-becoming overwhelmed to try to take a moment and step away from the situation. I know I am not the only mom or parent that has these moments. • • #RaisingLittleHumans #MommyMoments #TruthMoment #HonestlyParents #meditatedaily #MomLife #RealLife #motherhoodrising #oureverydaymoments #realparentshit #realparents
A post shared by Jean B. (@jeanbinspired) on Feb 15, 2017 at 6:29am PST
So many moms responded and shared in my thoughts and trials as a mom. The take away for me after that post was that I don't like yelling at my kids and I really felt convicted about being more mindful of the things I say and the words I choose, etc...
As I raise my LO's (little ones) I know from experience that there are things I can change to be a better mom for them. I have been at this parenting life for 20 years now and I am still learning. However, sharing tips that I have learned through good & bad times is very fulfilling for me. I also feel that in our community it is important to have these conversations. We must challenge how our parents did things and find our own way. I am not saying throw it all out the window but we live in a different generation. So we have to teach our kids early before social media or other kids teach them the wrong way. Or before the world tells them who they are, I want to show them who they are. In light of this, I wanted to share a few insights and realizations that I have come to throughout this journey.
Seven Things I Know/Learned as a Mom
- Don't parent with intimidation. I don't want my kids to fear me on a level of being scared to talk to me. Or feeling like I am a crazy woman. Fear and respect are totally different. I never heard my grandmother yell but I always respected her and would jump anytime she asked me to do something for her. I am not saying that getting serious with your kids in moments where it's necessary isn't ok. I am saying that I don't want my kids to be scared of me.
- Do not compare your kids to each other. For 15 years it was only me and my oldest daughter. Now that I have more kids its one of those things that you catch yourself doing. I try my best not to say things like "You should act like your sister" or "stop crying, your sister is being a big girl and you aren't." these types of things are never productive and they don't help the kid that is acting out change their behavior. If anything it will make them resent you as well as their sibling for always being compared to them.
- Affirm them with positivity. Then teach them how to do it themselves. (I thank my friend for this reminder) My 2-year-old started saying the other day "I'm a bad girl" and I didn't know where she heard that from. I have never said those words to her. So immediately I thought, I need to change this. So I told her NO you are not a bad girl, you are a sweet girl, you are a good girl and she repeated it back to me. I realize I definitely need to make this a daily practice.
- Respect their personal space. I don't remember the article name but I read once that you should not force your kids to hug family members or strangers if they tell you they don't want to. If your kid hides behind your leg or if they out right say "no", let them be empowered to make that decision. You never want them to second guess their own natural instinct. As an adult, you know when someone's energy is off, how would you like being forced to hug someone you didn't know.
- Setup routines. I must admit I didn't do a great job of this with my youngest. I am working on it now but it is really important to have a regular routine for them. I am not saying things won't change or that there isn't any room to deviate a little from time to time. But it's important, they need to have some structure to their day and night. Not only is it good for them but its good for the parents. It helps everything run so much smoother.
- Apologize... As parents, we feel we don't have to say sorry when we make a mistake. You have to teach them early. When my husband unintentionally hurts one of the girl's feelings I always remind him that he can't just give them hugs. He has to say sorry and acknowledge that he was wrong. You just don't want your little girls (or boys) growing up thinking that if a person hugs them after messing up that that equals sorry and they have to just forgive them. No, if someone can't say the words "I'm Sorry" then how sincere are they really being. How much do they really believe in the words they are struggling so hard to speak. Teach them to require more from people.
- Choose your words carefully. even when they are not around. the words you say to describe your kids or their behavior have power. Words like bad, loud, cry baby, etc... Even words that are seemingly innocent can place labels on your child and give them a complex. In the end, just be mindful of what you say, how you say it and how it makes them feel.
What are some realizations that you have come to as a mom? Areas of change that you had to make in order to not repeat some of the mistakes our own parents made. I want my children to be better at doing life, at parenting, at loving and every good thing in between, than I was. I don't want them to repeat my mistakes. This is why I am transparent with them and why I am not afraid to admit I was wrong. Give them a voice and let them speak. Hear them out sometimes. We have to listen to them and never dismiss their feelings because they are young.