Ever feel like a punching bag in your own home? When I’m faced with eye rolling, furniture kicking, hands over ears, screaming in my face or a disgusted tone of voice, I do my best to respond without throwing a tantrum myself…which is not easy for me. Here are the phrases I practice and use like a script to keep from throwing my daughter’s toys in the trash or cursing like a sailor.
“I wonder why you’re not listening to me…”
“I’m turning my ears right off to that.”
“I don’t listen when people talk to me that way.”
“Wow. You seem really angry. Please don’t take it out on me.”
“I’m sorry you’re mad, and stop.”
“I’m happy to listen when you’re calm.”
“I’m starting to get angry. I need some space to breathe and get calm.”
“I won’t listen when you’re yelling.”
“That was rude. Would you like a do-over?”
“Please try that again with a respectful voice.”
I want my daughter to feel powerful and know how to stand up against violence. But when she uses her power to yell, kick or fight back when I’m simply asking her brush her teeth, it’s a misuse of her power. I believe it’s my job to teach her how to treat me and others. I try to be super flexible in all other areas of my parenting, but this is a battle I will pick every time. She cannot disrespect her parents. Period.
How do you keep your girls strong and ready to fight for themselves while also keeping the peace and expecting respect?