My voice has become nullified. It’s a confession I don’t want to have to make. So often I know what I need to do as a mom. I know the attitude I SHOULD have, but my impatient, selfish, and sinful nature takes over. I become lazy, and I allow it to take over. I know that I am responsible for how I respond, but sometimes I don’t choose wisely. I can feel the repercussions. Right now, the consequence is that my voice has become nullified.
My Voice has Become Nullified – How Has that Happened?
Why has my voice become nullified with my kids? The reason is because it often sounds the same in various situations.
When I am angry or frustrated my tone is harsh. I’m afraid to say that I feel like this is where my tone of voice resides way too often. I don’t like that my voice has become dark rather than bright. It saddens me that I have allowed my frustration to have so much power. Whether it’s a large character issue or small nit picky issue, I can have a jarring tone.
When we are rushed to get out the door my voice becomes anxious and falls into that brassy tone. I’m afraid to say that we feel rushed way too often. It’s go, go, go time at our house. Whether we are going to be 2 minutes late or 30 minutes late, I can have a distressed tone.
Parenting is tough. Some kids are easier than others. Some kids like to test limits and push buttons more than others. I am trying to stay consistent as I know the importance of that. There are some behaviors and attitudes that I need to weed out of my children. I want to remove these behaviors for their sake. I don’t want to raise a spoiled child or a child who lacks self control or respect. It does them no good. It does our society no good.
I would say my passion for teaching my kids appropriate behavior while also rediscovering my own struggle of letting my feelings dictate my behavior lead to this one-toned dimension I’ve allowed into my life and voice. This needs to change.
When my kids hear a mom who always feels frustrated, angry or anxious they become frustrated, angry or anxious. My words become nullified.
It’s OK for me to feel mad or irritated. It’s human to have an array of feelings. However, when I settle there in my tone, the kids start to tune me out – even in the important moments.
“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” – Proverbs 13:3
I know adultss who recall their childhood. “My dad would be very calm,” they say, “but you certainly knew when he was serious about something.” I believe my consistent intensity negates the times I need to address the bigger issues – the heart issues. If I become frustrated when my children don’t put their shoes in the designated closet in the front hall (for the 10,000 time), the time my disappointment needs to be heard because of a larger character issue I sound the same as when we are dealing with a distracted, cleanliness issue. I want to reach my children’s hearts for the bigger things. If this is my desire, I need to change my tone of voice in the inconsequential moments.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29
My Voice has Become Nullified – How Do I Change?
Breaking habits and patterns of behaviors is hard. Part of me want to respond to the question, “How do I change?” with “You just do.” While that’s very true, I want to give you some practical advice moving forward.
Discipline in a Calm, Gentle Voice
Our kids will hear us more when we are calm and gentle in our discipline. We should show empathy and compassion saying things like, “I’m so sad you won’t be able to join us for Friday Fun Day. We just love you so much that we need to help you get this behavior under control.”
I find that growing in intensity only raises the potency of my child’s response. If I can stay calm I am more effective.
If I am not mentally ready to handle things calmly, I need to wait. With smaller kids, especially, you don’t want to wait for too long because their memories are short. Give yourself a couple of minutes to refocus on what you need to do before reacting in emotion.
Last night I became angry at my child’s disrespectful and even violent actions. I dealt with the consequence in the morning because I knew I did not want to discipline in my anger.
Don’t Engage in the Battle
If you are like me, you might have a combative child who wants to argue their way out of a situation. There can be a lot of disrespect in those moments. They will talk back. You are lucky to have one of these children. They are strong, bright and might make a great lawyer someday.
However, we need to teach these children to get their voice heard in a way that has an underlying tone of respect. We want them to learn to try and understand before they seek to be understood. I think we could use a little more of that in our society right now. I don’t want to nullify my child’s voice. I do want to teach them to obey (find out why I think that’s so important) and communicate effectively. This is done through example.
Focus on the Positive
I don’t think I’m a natural optimist, although I desperately want to be one. One of my life verses is “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8 (free printable here). As my mental state becomes more positive, my tone of voice follows.
I focus on having a upbeat tone of voice. At first it feels a bit fake. Sometimes I fall into old patterns. I can dictate the entire atmosphere of our home simply by changing my own perspective and tone. It is very powerful.
My Voice has Become Nullified
This post is hard to write and confess out loud. I write a mom blog. Do I even have the right to write a blog when I fail in areas of my parenting journey? I think I do. Being real with you is the only way I know how to blog. I’ve been raw here and here and in many other places.
None of us are perfect. Vulnerability is important so that we don’t feel alone as we raise our kids. I promise to be real. My goal is to help encourage and equip, and part of that is confessing my weaknesses while sharing how I am trying to improve.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” – James 1:19. With me, this impossible. With Christ, all things are things are possible.