Inside and loud.
When your child is pitching a fit and raising the roof, the last thing a parent feels like doing is speaking quietly, using a quiet voice. To be heard above the din, one must raise it up a notch, right? Wrong.
You do not want to know how often I did this wrongly. Too many to count, that’s for sure. When your child is not within eyesight, raising a voice is used to get the volume to the next room so he hears. That’s not what I’m talking about. To make a point when you are frustrated, it’s natural to raise your voice. The problem is that “natural” is not wise in this situation. You also do not have to tell me how hard this is. I know. Oh, how I know.
It’s so much easier to see it in other parents than in ourselves. And, it’s easier to control our own volume (usually) when other adults are watching. For the believer, we know there is always Someone watching. It helps to ask that Someone how we should respond. You can ask me how I know!
A few days ago a boy sat in my kitchen pitching a fit. It was one of those I-cannot-believe-this-child-is-acting-like-this moments. You know what I wanted to do? I wanted to respond in kind. The natural me wanted to overcome the clamor with volume so high that he would be certain to hear me. After all, I needed to win because I am the adult and he is the child!
Yet, I knew I had to respond with an inside voice. You know what happened when I lowered my voice? He had to quiet down so he could hear what I said.
Our conversation went back and forth: his voice, loud and demanding, mine, quiet and controlled. I won, not by power or by volume, but by calmness and a quiet voice. As parents, it is easy to use our power and authority to win. Sometimes that is necessary. Many times, however, our response by using inside voices will lower the din just because our kids will respond in kind.
Choosing to win
Winning the battle starts with an attitude of helping a child overcome his anger, stubbornness, and belligerence. Usually these situations involve raised voices. To truly win, dispelling anger begins by not responding in kind. When you want to raise your voice and yell back, take a step back. If you are a believer, ask God to help you. Guaranteed, He will. Drop the volume and the heat. Lower your voice. Whisper if you must. You might be surprised at how quiet a child will become so he can hear you whisper.
The more we do this, the easier it becomes. Practicing inside voices makes us stronger, and models for our kids what we want for them. Remember, what comes naturally is not always the right way to do things! When you fail, admit the failure, ask forgiveness, and move on. You can do this. Use inside voices for the win!