Actions Speak Louder Than Words

October 19th, 2010 by Dionna | 16 Comments
Posted in Carnival and Special Series, Eclectic Learning, Gentle Discipline Ideas, Successes, and Suggestions, Gentle/Positive Discipline, natural parenting, Respond with Sensitivity

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I wrote a Facebook status awhile back that said:

Need motivation to stay calm the next time your toddler spills something on the carpet? How about remembering that she will MODEL your reaction later! Don’t yell or get upset, spills happens!1

It’s hard to be a role model – I know! As with everything else in life, it takes practice.

Kieran loves being a role model for his younger cousin, Rhonin.

Today’s post has an assignment: for the next 12 hours or so, I want you to focus your energies on modeling the gentle, kind behavior and reactions that you hope your family will model for others.

  • Muffle any criticisms that want to bubble over – both criticisms of others and of yourself.
  • Keep those eyes focused gently on your child – resist the urge to roll them to the heavens when she does something annoying.
  • Speak gently, even when your partner speaks harshly.2
  • Try not to yell if your little one “misbehaves.” Take a breath, become aware of your anger, and come back to the situation when you are able to see it through your child’s eyes and respond with patience.

Tonight, after this experiment in awareness is done, come back and share a story from your day. Was it harder than you thought? Easier? Did you notice a difference in the way others reacted to you? Did you save yourself an argument that you usually have with your child or partner?

Let’s see what some focused kindness, patience, and awareness can do in our lives.

On your mark, get set, go!

  1. The update linked to a post I wrote for Hobo Mama about helping parents assume the best intentions from their little ones. In other words, sometimes we attribute “misbehavior” to kids, when really they are not trying to behave “badly” or get on our nerves, they are simply exploring their world and living life.
  2. You don’t have to be a doormat; you can say “I feel sad and anxious when you speak to me with anger in your voice, because I’m worried that it will lead to an argument.” Sharing your feelings in a non-judgmental way might get a better response than accusations or responses-in-kind.

16 Responses to:
"Actions Speak Louder Than Words"

  1. Rachael   RachaelNevins

    OK, I’m in. Critter in preschool most of the day. Which means that I’m “off the hook” most of the day, but that the evening could be intense.

    • Rachael   RachaelNevins

      Well now, everyone was as relaxed and gentle as could be this evening. No need to model anything, because apparently we’re just a model family (ha! ha! ha!).

      Will be checking back at this post on Thursday, when I’ll be with the Critter all day long. I keep thinking, yay, Thursday! Music class! Which is what we usually do on Thursday … but this week, we’re going to the dentist instead. Awesome.

  2. MomAgain@40   karentoittoit

    It sounds like a better place to be than staying in anger. Will definitely try it! Thanks for the practical advice! :D

  3. kelly @kellynaturally   kellynaturally

    Thank you Dionna, this is a good reminder. Starting my 12 hours now…. is it cheating that bedtime is in about 4 hours? ;)

  4. Ruth

    I wish you had suggested this on Sunday morning!!! I won’t tell you what happened because I wasn’t focusing on being my kinder gentler self!!! I will try and model that tomorrow night at praise team practice!!!
    Great idea Dionna!!!

  5. Cassie

    So I did pretty good today, but it honestly had to do with the great sleep I had. In general I want to be a gentle, patient parent, and I don’t generally have a hard time achieving it. Only when I am tired and hungry. Oh wait, I have a baby and toddler. So I guess I’m tired and hungry most of the time so it’s a daily struggle.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Tat & Cassie – nodding right along with you about sleep – for everyone, (but especially for my husband) ;)

  6. Tat

    I’ve been trying to practice this for a while now, not only in the last 12 hours, but I have to admit that some days are easier than others. And I agree with Cassie, sleep has lots to do with it.

  7. Olivia   OliviaStreaterL

    I love this!!!! My 12 hours are starting now! Though I have also been trying for a while. Sometimes I do better than other times… It is great to have a reminder and “support” for trying!

  8. sara

    what a timely post!
    d was the recipient of waaaay too many eye rolls and annoyed-mommy “ughs” yesterday evening.

    i mean, the poor guy is cutting two molars and i’m allowing myself to become frazzled because he’s driving me bonkers!
    just typing that sentence is making me shake my head at myself!
    the poor guy is in pain and he’s frustrated for all the reasons he should be and rather than taking a breath and realizing that i have two basic options (gathered or undone) i just come undone and there it goes: the viscous cycle.

    it’s a good reminder to muffle when bubbling over, choose a gentler tone than the one that’s on the tip of my tongue when i’m frazzled and to cut everyone (myself included) a little slack!


  9. Will try this starting tomorrow :). I tell myself, you need to be calm and kind and calm ha ha. But thank you for the reminder!

  10. Dionna   CodeNameMama

    By the way, I tried this again yesterday with many more successes than challenges. Kieran and I had the *whole* day to ourselves, b/c Tom had basketball last night, and it was a great day!! So much is my state of mind.

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