You know, when the kids start getting loud and things start getting to the 'out of control' zone, I tend to try to 'stay calm'.
And trying to 'stay calm' usually winds me right up VERY FAST. Something about it ... maybe the direct comparison to the 'not calm' or the implication that I am already losing my cool, or that the situation is challenging, or... I don't know. But 'stay calm' as a statement or a self-reminder just causes the pressure to escalate.
Anyone else feel that way? People say 'stay calm' in situations where calm is not the natural condition, thanks! Emergencies, say.
Now, I stay calm in most emergencies, but mainly because I have an idea of what to do for most of them. And I'm rather a thinker type, so that helps.
But if I really need to stay calm, telling myself to do so is relatively pointless. Worse, I think it tends to create more internal pressure.
Today, I decided to try 'staying quiet' instead. When things got loud, or angry, or generally wild (post-Christmas toy addiction behavior, sugar overloads, etc.), I went to 'quiet'.
Quiet voice. Quiet touch. Quiet engagement. Having each child come to me individually, and talking very quietly in their ear about what they needed, what happened, what we're doing next, etc. And when someone inevitably interrupted with what they needed, quietly reminding them that I can only handle one person at a time, and asking them (quietly) to wait until I'm done... huh. Guess what, everyone listened. Nobody whined or yelled about being put off (or not in front of me).
I also discovered a new phrase, that makes intuitive sense even if it makes no logical sense: "I can't hear you when you talk loudly." Also: "Please speak more quietly so I can hear you better." And "I can't hear you, can you try again more quietly?"
I do have a hearing loss, and it is in the screeching/whining range. It is actually more difficult to understand them when they are yelling/screaming/whining (even when the screamies are happy screamy). Too loud tends to pitch them up to where I can't hear well. So, quiet tends to drop them lower, back into the range I can hear well.
So far, so good. Granted, only one day. It is part of NVC, I'm sure, but one part that had slipped away from my grasp lately.
That said, I tend to get louder when my kids outgrow my parenting, so ... no real surprise there. I get more agitated, frustrated, and angry. I get more 'yelly' - more loud, more hair-trigger, more prone to angry words and stubborn, rigid, emotionally locked up... pretty much everything my kids do, they learned from me. Sigh.
But. Eventually I do notice (again) that the child I'm parenting hasn't been around for a couple of months, and I'm trying to apply old methods to new child (developmentally). No wonder it fails! Who are you and what have you done with the younger version of you?
Start again. And start again as I did with the new version of them at any age - observing, interacting, being face to face. Making eye contact, making physical contact (gently), asking, reflecting, expressing what my own problem is (instead of expecting them to remember that), and then developing the new sense of who they are, now, and what they need, this time.
Quietly doesn't hurt. Mindfulness exercises are useful on that, too. Wherever you are, be there. Be here now. Live in this moment. All times are one time, all moments are one moment. Whatever phrase speaks, use it. Being here right now makes it easier to be quiet, too.
Carrying on. Tomorrow we start again, and it will once again be today when we get there.