I first heard of the Duggar family a few years ago when they wrote their first book. I hadn’t watched their show but I was fascinated by their story. The idea that this family had so many kids drew me in and I quickly found myself wanting to see how they made it work, because I was struggling to get through the day with just the 2 girls!
I requested their book from the library, but after seeing that I was 45th in line (yikes!) I ended up buying the book on Kindle so I could read through it faster. Just like their television show, I was drawn in immediately and ended up reading the entire book in one night. I remember wishing that I had the hard copy of the book so I could take notes!
I learned a lot about raising large families, learning to be content with what you have, how it’s possible to be debt free and a whole lot more – but I came away with the MOST important parenting tip I had ever heard, and I still use it to this day. Michelle was talking about discipline and that she felt yelling was not the way to get to the heart of the problem, so instead of yelling louder and louder she talked softer and softer.
To be completely honest, when I read that I thought she was nuts. No way that could possibly work – especially with two type A hyper girls like mine. At that time Sophie and I would be having a battle of wills daily and I felt that all I did was raise my voice, she would raise hers back, I would yell, she would cry…and it would just go on. Worse, Bella was watching all of this and SHE was starting to yell like her sister.
I decided that the next time I would lower my voice instead of raising it to Sophie. Of course, I had the chance the next day to try this new parenting theory out. I can’t remember what it was, but I asked Sophie to do something, and she was defiant. Instead of raising my voice, I got down on her level and looked her in the eyes. Quietly I asked her again…..and to my absolute shock she did what I requested!
Every time that my girls were defiant, or not listening, or yelling to get their way – instead of getting louder with them I got softer and softer. Something else happened as well – I found myself more patient with them, and I wasn’t getting as upset as I used to when I would yell.
Now, believe me it’s not all sunbeams and roses here, but that little sentence completely changed my parenting style! I realized that by getting on their level and looking them in the eyes I am making sure they are listening and I’m not towering over them giving orders. Instead I am on their level and we are a team getting things done. If they yell (and it doesn’t happen often now) and aren’t listening to my quiet voice, they go to their room until they are ready to listen to me. Because I’m not yelling over them, it also has taken away their need to yell to be heard.
Of course, Bella only has 2 volume levels (loud and louder) so it’s not quiet here….but I’d rather have the loud sounds of giggles and laughter instead of tears and yelling.
I’d love to know if you use this parenting idea, or what works for you when your kids just aren’t listening!