I had an “ah ha” moment this week when practicing the Don’t Back Talk Tool Card. It happened early in the week when, once again, we were rushed to get out the door. I had snapped at my son for doing something that he could’ve waited and done in the car. (He was putting his new Spy Gear together, glasses, watch, and belt). And when I took a disrespectful tone with him—he immediately snapped back at me with the same tone.
The only difference this week was that I was able to recognize it right away. I got down to his level and said, “You just raised your voice at me and spoke disrespectfully because I just raised my voice with you and was disrespectful to you. I’m sorry for not valuing that what you were doing was important to you. I was expecting you to value my sense of urgency for getting out the door on time.
Of course, very logically he agreed. (Children listen to you after they feel listened to.) I apologized and told him that I was sorry for speaking to him in that tone and that I understood that he was mirroring my tone and me. (Children learn what they live.)
I believe that this is the most important concept to remember as a parent. I apologize if I sound redundant—Your days are not about how your children act or behave but how you as a parent act or behave.
Modeling/example is so important. Children mirror what we do. We cannot expect for our children to control their behavior when we don’t control our own. In other words if you want to know why your children are speaking to you disrespectfully or back talking—then rewind or replay how you just spoke to them. Of course, they could be having a bad day on their own. In that case, it doesn’t help if we snap back.
For the rest of the week I was extra mindful of my tone and getting down to the level of both my boys when I spoke to them. I was then rewarded with a peaceful and respectful week with them. Win win for all of us.
Honestly, keeping a respectful tone was by far more effective then “telling” or by being too “firm” and not practicing “kind and firm” at the same time. Bottom line—the message I was reminded of all week was that you get what you give. It all goes back to one of the Universal messages we learned as children—treat others the way you want to be treated. Classic and true!