Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Whispering Win

One of those counter-intuitive parenting lessons that I've only recently actually come to appreciate is that yelling at my kid really isn't the most effective means of changing his behavior.  Sure it works in the short-term, particularly if you really want to put a scare into him, but long-term he appears to have developed a yelling tolerance, which results in louder, more prolonged yelling, and so on and so forth until you're screaming yourself blue in the face while your kid continues to happily dump an entire sandbox worth of dirt on your kitchen floor.

The positive discipline disciples will echo this and will tell you to speak in an even voice and use matter-of-fact language when correcting behavior.  The problem is that that approach is extremely unsatisfying.  I've come to really enjoy yelling and just speaking matter-of-factly doesn't feel like it's actually accomplishing anything.  So I've decided to go in another direction.  I whisper.

Turns out that whispering is incredibly effective with Finn.  He'll immediately (usually) stop what he's doing and really pay attention to what you're saying - since I'm guessing he can't really hear me and wants to make sure he's not being offered a cookie.  Regardless, it's become a very dependable means of halting bad behavior without him just tuning me out.

Of course, it helps that whispering really, really annoys Finn in general.  I mean, he really hates it.  I was walking him downstairs this morning, whispering that we were going to sneak up on his Mommy - to which he reacted by hitting me in the face for whispering.  In his defense, he was still waking up and he did ask me to stop whispering... twice... which I didn't.

But that doesn't make it right.  You'd better believe I was upset.  And you know what happens when I'm upset with Finn.

That's right.  He got a good whispering-to.

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