Tone It Down!

Sep 10, 2014 by



I (Jerolyn) was waiting in line at the pharmacy the other day, and a woman walked in with 4 children and a teenager. They caught my attention because they were all very loud. At one calm point in the waiting time in this long line, the women looks down at the feet of one of the young girls (She looked to be about 6 or 7 years old) and suddenly and sharply snaps, “Tie your shoe!!” Scared me so much I almost bent down to tie my shoes, and I was wearing sandals.

My heart hurt a little on many levels.

  • If she yells at this young girl about her shoelace, what happens when she does something bad?
  • If she barks like that in public, what happens at home?
  • What attitude is this woman modeling for this child?
  • Who was such a terrible role model for this woman?

Now I confess, I unnecessarily raised my voice at my children when they were young. Every parent has done it at one time or another – and some more often than others. We reach a breaking point, and we temporarily lose our minds. But that can’t happen often, and when it does, we should apologize to our children.

Our words and our tone carry a tremendous amount of weight with the children we influence. Those kids can be our own or our nieces, nephews, grandchildren, neighborhood children, etc. We have the ability to inspire them to great heights or to entirely crush their spirits. And we should take that responsibility seriously.

If our tone is harsh, we need to:

1. Apologize

2. Restate our words in a loving tone. (Even if it is stern, it can still be loving.)

3. Then reflect on why we spoke so unkindly.

Ask yourself:

  • Was I taught to speak this way by the example of others?
  • Am I tired?
  • Am I hungry?
  • Do I have an anger problem?
  • Am I over-stretched?
  • Is there a flaw in my character?

Whatever the reason, big or small, we need to change what is causing us to speak to these children this way. We are their model of how an adult should behave and snapping, harsh tones are not what we want them to mimic. Neither does it convey the love we should be showing them.

Don’t forget how impressionable our children are. They are watching you and learning. Help them to see how a healthy, loving adult should behave.

Do I speak lovingly to the children I influence?

~Jim and Jerolyn


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