Talk Less.

April 21, 2011

talk less

I read it on my all time favourite parenting blog, Parenting Passageway, (I swear I am not paid to promote this blog it is just good, very very good.) and I’ve been pondering the idea ever since.

I talk quite a bit.

I spend a good deal of my day talking to (at?) my kids, trying to get them to listen and understand. I try to explain things in some vain attempt to have them conform to my ideas without struggle or discontent. Often I feel like I am talking to thin air. Talking becomes whining, whining becomes shouting and suddenly I am further from the whole ‘queen of my home‘ thing than ever.

Talk Less.
It’s such a simple thing.

If I take a breath and think about whether I really need to say what I am about to say…. nine times out of ten I decide I could say nothing.

If I talk less then I whine less.
If I talk less then I shout less.
If I talk less then perhaps when I do talk it will have more impact.

If I talk less I listen more.
If I talk less I see more.
If I talk less I know more and I assume less.

If I talk less I find that I do more.
I simply do it.
I don’t shout at someone else to do it.
I don’t moan about having to do it.
I just do it, and it’s done.

Talk Less.

I need to print it out and stick it all round my house.

It’s not a natural first response for me, but I’m working on it.

{Image above created by me – click here to download printable pdf}

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Marita April 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm

So hard to do isn’t it. I’ve been encourage by various therapists to talk less with my girls and when I do talk to simplify what I say. It is a real challenge.

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Meegan April 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Kate,

Can you please shrink yourself and sit on my shoulder, whispering in my ear, this wonderful statement of yours all day?
I need to Talk Less. A Whole Lot Less.

Timely post (for me at least).

xo

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Carla April 21, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Oh wow do I need to do this. As a therapist, sometimes I forget that I don’t need to come home and ‘counsel’ my entire family all day. Talk Less. My new motto – thanks :)

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bubble936 April 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm

but its very difficult to talk less…

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umatji April 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

oh yeah – so sick of the sound of my voice and the sound of everyone elses as well -send me to a silent order PLEASE!
xx

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Francesca April 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm

A thoughtful post, thank you. And I love Parenting Passageway as well. She is a sage.

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Caz April 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm

So wise – but so hard to do!

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Zoey @ Good Goog April 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I struggle to say what I want to say to the toddler in a concise way that she will understand and so I fear I end up rambling on and I doubt she actually understands any of it.

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amandab April 23, 2011 at 7:31 am

Pinned you!

I get sick of my own voice, sick of knowing that neither Miss 4 or husband listen. Yesterday I was so down because even the family beyond this house don’t listen. Maybe I don’t choose the right words. Maybe I should talk less, and give myself the time to find the right words.

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Martine April 23, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Great advice. I long ago gave up long winded explanations, for the reasons that you mention but also because kids don’t need them. Now for example, if I have to say no, it is “no” followed by one short line of reasoning, and then nothing else , end of story. When I stop responding they now know the argument is over. For a long time there we tried to parent as if children were entitled and capable of processing laborious explanations…..hopefully now we are beginning to see that sometimes all a child needs to hear is simply “no”.

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Bron66 April 30, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I definitely need to talk less!! No-one listens anyway. My talking has been getting louder and louder too and I’ve noticed the louder I have to talk the louder they do and before I know it we are all shouting at each other. It’s awful! It is becoming a real habit so thanks for reminding me!

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Sunny May 3, 2011 at 3:08 am

Along the same lines, as my son grows, I have worked to arrange my house so that there is less forbiden stuff for him to get into. I would rather get rid of “treasures” than spend my whole life telling him “no. no. no. no…” When I say no, I want it to be something important.

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Deb G May 5, 2011 at 9:12 am

I needed to read this. Thank you.

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Neen May 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm

yes I also needed to read this and I feel the same as Bron66. thanks for sharing!

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Becca June 5, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I’m working on this too! My sweet little boy is such a chatter box and I’ve always wondered why. And then I realized every time there’s a quiet moment I tend to engage him in conversation. SO who’s the chatter box? lol

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Kat June 5, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Do I ever need to learn this! Like you I escalate from talking to reasoning to exasperation and finally shouting. And its happening too often. I am going to stick this on my fridge.

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Seana Smith June 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm

This is a great reminder. we worked hard on talking less, talking more clearly, with eye contact and at childs-eye level when my eldest son was doing masses of early intervention. It’s a good tactic for raising my children’s understanding of non-verbal cues as well as eye contact/visual referencing. Also used to whisper a lot, must get back into that.

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Emily June 16, 2011 at 5:33 pm

YES! This is so important for my patience, but also for kid’s comprehension. Children (especially those with a history of middle ear infections) need all the help they can get to understand instructions. Stripping away all of the extraneous factors, such as background noise (turning off the TV), visual distractions (encouraging eye contact) and information overload (too much talking) has such a positive effect on their ability to concentrate and comply with requests. Talk less = better instructions = higher likelihood that they’ll do what you ask = happy mummy! Thankyou for introducing me to parenting passageway – I’ll be reading more of their suggestions!

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Kimberly June 26, 2011 at 8:11 am

Love this! You just hit at the core of my frustration recently. I just stumbled on this but am very happy I did. Talk less. I get it… thank you :-)

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