Let’s Use Our Inside Voices

I’ve been exhausted lately. I fall asleep at 8pm when Avery does and then spring awake at 4:30 am every single morning, toss and turn, then fall back into a deep sleep right around the time Savannah wakes up. Why does this happen? Does this happen to other people?

The other night as Avery was prolonging bedtime using every trick in the book (“I’m thirsty, I think I need a bit of water, now a little more, I need to go potty, I’m hungry”) I normally tell her the kitchen is closed once she’s already in bed, but I finally said, “You know what? Fine. You can have one piece of bread.” Avery: “Okay! With butter!” Me: “Fine. With butter.” Avery: “With the crusts cut off!” Me: “Yes. No crust. Got it.” Avery: “And with sugar on it.” Me: “Hell no.” Hell no? Really, Emily? She’s three. Is this what it’s come to? Am I slowly turning into Miss Hannigan?

 

 

Miss Hannigan

Cut to this morning at 4:30 am,  I came across this article from HuffPost Parenting:

“There is a serious consequence to using harsh discipline with toddlers, as sobbing mothers of “rebellious” teenagers will attest to, which is that negative core beliefs might be planted. These negative beliefs, and their associated negative self-talk, can really hold a person back throughout his or her lifetime…The reason physical punishment isn’t the best choice with toddlers is that when toddlers are disciplined this way, they can go into a defensive mode…They might stop spilling their drink if they get shouted at each time, but they also might develop negative self-talk that they are incompetent.”

So my first thought is, well I don’t need to be told that physical punishment is not appropriate for a toddler and I don’t “shout” at her every time she spills a drink so I guess that’s 1 point for me. My second thought is, sometimes I do lose my patience, but am I being so “harsh” as to create negative self-talk in my child? I do snap at her from time to time when she does things that I’ve told her multiple times not to do (especially when it comes to interacting with her baby sis) and I say things like, “You know better!” or the rhetorical “Why would you do that?!” but am I making her feel like she’s a bad person and now is she going to carry those “negative core beliefs” with her for the rest of her life and have low self esteem and it’s all my fault? (deep breath)

But on the other hand…shouldn’t our inner voices be a little bit negative to keep us from doing stupid stuff? Talking to you, people taking nude pictures and storing them on your iCloud. Allow me to be your inner voice on this one, for the love of your Mothers, please stop doing that.

Side note: I originally typed “Looking at you,” instead of “Talking to you” but it seemed less like I intended it (as a figurative phrase conveying my disapproval) when I followed it up with “people taking nude pictures and storing them in your iCloud” which made me chuckle. Note to self: always proofread.

The HuffPost article reminded me of this quote:

The-way-we-talk-to-our-children-becomes-their-inner-voice

This is an excellent reminder and it’s also a LOT of pressure. So I guess the trick is finding the balance between saying “Hey sweetie pie, it’s a bad choice to push your little sister off the couch, but I want you to know YOU’RE not bad because you pushed her, it was just bad that you CHOSE to push her off the couch. I love you. Give me a smooch. Check on your sister while I go take a xanex and get you some bread covered in butter and sugar” and “What the HELL are you thinking pushing a baby off a couch?! Seriously! Jesus!”

My inner voice is telling me it’s probably all going to be okay. (Mom, is that you?)

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2 thoughts on “Let’s Use Our Inside Voices

  1. Come talk to me when your eight year old son calls you a “whore” because you’ve said “boo you whore” to friends, all-too-close to your little pitcher’s big ears… I’m gonna give you a pass on your “hell no”. My four favorite words on parenting: “Judge not my friend”.

Hearing from you always makes my day:

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