I’m sure we will have many discussions with E about HOW to say things the right way. “Yes Mummy” with a smile means a little something different than “Yes Mummy” with an eye roll and a sigh. However, even saying something nice in the wrong tone can really limit the strength of the words you have chosen.
There are times that you particularly need to be watchful of this effect are when you are feeling hurt, angry, and sometimes even sad. Yelling has a time and place. If I am about to do something life threatening without realizing it, I certainly want you to yell a warning to me. That is the point of yelling, to grab someone’s immediate attention–to make them hesitate. However if you go around yelling all the time, whenever you get upset, soon your yelling is not only less effective, all the words you say lose their meaning behind your noisy front. The same goes for whining, mumbling, and even talking really fast (which I often do). All of those tones and speeds we use when we talk reflect on what we are saying. They all serve a purpose but you need to be choosy in how you use them. All of this I know, as E grows up we will have to teach her.
Before you speak–especially in less than calm situations–I want you to hear in your head how your words are going to sound. Are you nervous? Take a deep breath so you can speak slowly and clearly and be understood. Are you angry? Not only is it important to not say words you will regret, its important to speak the ones you choose as clearly and directly as possible. Do you need something? Can you make the request without dragging out the end of your words in a whiney tone? I should very possibly practice what I preach with some of this too.
E is currently going through a whiny, talk funny phase. If she wants something but knows the answer will probably be no she asks in a whiny but quieter than normal voice. I merely tell her I cannot understand her and until she talks properly then I wont know what she wants.
Another example is when I ask her a question or ask what she has been up to she will answer in a quiet whiny voice if she doesn’t really want to answer my questions. This is very frustrating and yet at the other end of the spectrum she will get over excited and shout things out. It is so refreshing when she just talks normally.
E is only two, well three in a weeks time, so I know she doesn’t understand everything to do with how you speak to people but she knows that she shouldn’t whine. Yet again I hope that this is another phase that will pass and I will come through at the other side with only a few more grey hairs to report.
I am however aware that there will be many more conversations with E about how to and not to say things. Its times like this when I appreciate what my mum must have had to put up with when I was a whiny little girl – I can’t imagine I was though….