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I CAN’T HEAR YOU
Because Whining and Screaming Just Bounce Off My Ears

 

2015 CHK I Cant Hear You v2

 

Ours is a very loud house.

For one thing, it’s an uber-modern, glass and wood and concrete bunker. Not a lot of rugs, or window treatments, or anything else that might dampen sound. (Whoops.)

For another, six people, two dogs, and a cat live here.

We make a lot of noise, even in the best of times – every footfall echoes and reverberates, but add the TV in the family room and the cat whining for water and the dogs barking at passers-by and the kids screaming at each other and us screaming at them to stop screaming …

Well.

Mr Big Ideas has taken to wearing ear plugs much of the time.

The problem with the ear plugs is that he now often can’t hear ME.

Unless I’m yelling and screaming at him.

Now, I come from a family of yellers and screamers, so I understand that much of this is my problem, that I am perpetuating a cycle of yelling and screaming.

And to be fair, Mr Big Ideas is willing to cop to his own part in this problem – he does his fair share of bellowing, too.

He just thinks I do it more.

You know what that makes ME think?

I’ll become the quietest, calmest, most effective Mama EVER. I will stop the yelling. The kids will stop the yelling. And then YOU, Mr Big Ideas, will be the only one still yelling. And THEN YOU’LL SEE WHICH ONE OF US YELLS MORE!

As you can tell, this hasn’t been easiest thing for me to get a handle on.

I’ve tried mindfulness. I’ve taken a few mindfulness classes offered to parents at our school, and most days I manage 15 minutes or so of mindful breathing using the guided meditations at insightLA.

I’m a big  fan of mindfulness in short doses.

I enjoy breathing. In solitude. (What Mom wouldn’t?)

And on the days when I manage my 15 minutes, I do much LESS yelling and screaming, absolutely.

But not ZERO.

And while my own attempts to be mindful and calm IN THE MOMENTS of stress and conflict have improved tremendously in the last year or so, I have noticed a little problem with this method:

Man does it seem to piss other people off when you stop and take five deep breaths to stay calm when they are being big jerks.

All that said, I love the IDEA of mindfulness, even if I’m not the world’s best practitioner, and I’ve tried to get my kids into it, too.

Dan Siegel’s great book,  The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind has been a great help. All of his books are grand — truly.

But still, we needed more.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a pretty neat solution. Jury’s out on the long-term effectiveness of this plan, but so far, so good —

The moment anyone around here starts whining or screaming, I say:

I Can’t Hear You, Because Whining and Screaming Just Bounce Off My Ears.

Strangely – and completely unexpectedly — this seems to have the IMMEDIATE effect of making ALL the kids stop and re-think how they are approaching me.

Sometimes I have to say it twice, or three times, but I am telling you, eventually, it works.

They stop. Re-set. Take a breath.

And talk like normal people.

You wanna know the coolest thing about all this?

Keeping my mouth busy SAYING

I Can’t Hear You, Because Whining and Screaming Just Bounce Off My Ears,

keeps me from SCREAMING

OHMYGODSTOPYELLINGATMEIAMGOINGNUTSAROUNDHERE.

Win-win.

Right?

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

Even when I DO find myself yelling or screaming at the kids, they now say the same thing to me:

We Can’t Hear You, Because Whining and Screaming Just Bounce Off Our Ears.

And you know what?

Being called out like that really works.

I actually stop, reset, re-phrase, re-approach.

EVERYBODY WINS.

Even Mr Big Ideas has been slowing down on the ear plugs.

In fact, I’ve even heard him saying it a few times … maybe he can hear what I’m saying around here after all …

I Can’t Hear You, Because Whining and Screaming Just Bounce Off My Ears!

 

*Full disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. Affiliate programs help support the content of this blog. 







I'm Just Looking for Some Grown-Ups to Talk To ...

Categories: Stay Sane and Tips / Tools / Tricks.

Sarah Kate Levy

Once upon a time I wanted to be a novelist in NY. FOUR KIDS LATER I'm a
screenwriter in LA who blogs about parenting, partnering, and the decline of civilization / my home.

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