A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Do I have to yell at my child? Do I have to raise my voice for her to listen to me? I don’t know. I know I’ve seen the results of always yelling at your kids. Yelling becomes nothing more than talking. The house almost seems like a war-zone. But what about a little bit? And what if you don’t have to at all?
The more I walk this journey of motherhood the more I realize that consistency is the biggest factor with training. It starts with myself. My daughter imitates me constantly. Am I being consistent? (Does she see mom smile to the neighbor’s face but scowl when the door closes? Do I applaud her for being gentle yet hit the counter with my fist when I stub my toe?) Is what I am teaching her consistent? (It is okay to do this when mom is tired, but only then! She can’t act this way at home, but with the grandparents it’s another story.) Am I consistent with the teachings of my husband? (Dad lets her stand on the chair, mom corrects her every time.)
There are times when inconsistencies are normal. (Mom can drink from a glass, you need a sippy cup. You need to sit in a booster chair, mom can sit in the booth.) These inconsistencies are things that change with age and understanding. They are not things that are character qualities. For example, if I tell my daughter not to call another girl stupid, it would be inconsistent of me to call her mother stupid in the privacy of my home. And feeling comfortable calling someone a distasteful name deals with character, not age or understanding.
So do I have to yell. There is a part of me that thinks that if I am consistent in my training and example, those will be the big factors in teaching. Not if I can yell louder than she can. Not if I can “shock” the truth into her. But I think that if I do start walking down the path of yelling, it will become accepted, normal- and maybe even needed to be heard.
I know I can get my point across without raising my voice. I require eye contact. I can say something firmly. I can make my face look very serious. And I can be consistent. If I have to put her bottom on the chair 10 times and say gently yet firmly “We do not stand on chairs.” for her to listen and be safe, I will. And only by the grace of God can each time be consistent, gentle, and firm.
Not having to yell makes sense. Never yelling? I can strive for that.