I'm a bit of a yeller. And I'm not speaking colloquially, here. (how bout that word? dang.) I'm not saying I'm a coward or something, but rather that I tend to raise my voice frequently. I come from a long line of brief verbal outbursts, both angry and joyous, followed by periods of relative calm.
It seems effective, yelling. Everyone stops choking their sibling or riding mattresses down the stairs or feeding crackers to the baby and listens. The only problem is that I feel like I just fought a 3 year old and won. Not that they're disturbed by it. In fact, the basic raised voice has become the gateway drug to my kids, and now they require the shrill lady-prophet tone, or, on special occasions, the gym coach bellow. But is it effective, really? Or am I just the loudest for now?
Lately I've been watching the Duggars, you know, the conservative Baptist reality-TV family with 19 kids. You can feel however you want about them being patriarchal or misogynistic or slavedrivers or whatever, but I love them and this is my blog, so there. There are a lot of amazing things about this family, but the one that is rocking my socks is the lack of yelling. Holy moloney. She has like 10 kids under 10 and she talks in a sweet little baby voice all the time, and it works.
So I've been trying it, you know, bending down to be eye level and touching their face and speaking very gently. I think they're confused, or maybe scared. It seems to work all right, as long as I'm willing to stand up and walk to the scene of the crime. There's the challenge, though. It is much easier to yell futilely from another room or another floor and hope for the best, or at least a diversion.
I'm in the window here, I think, of forming our patterns for life. They're still little enough, I tell myself, that I can probably fix this. OR, I will decide to pick a different battle. Time will tell.