WHOOO? WHOOO? WHOOO? WHOOO? How many times a day do parents and families walk around the house sounding like an owl saying, Who did this? Who left the scissors out? Who forgot to turn off the tv? Who did that? Who left their toys on the stairs? Who left dishes on the table? Who left the cap off the toothpaste?
I can hear myself, almost as if I am floating above myself watching and listening. It is such a habit to say, Who did this? There are times that I have to catch myself in the act as I am saying it. It is rare, as I have so much awareness around this topic, but it still happens once in awhile.
Years ago, when our girls were very little, I started studying mindful language. We knew our words have such power. It was so important for me to shift the way we threw words around so our girls would feel safe. We wondered, was it possible to say things in a different way? Was there another way to talk that might feel better and help our communication to sound loving rather than blameful, shameful, and scary?
One day, when the girls were watching television, I was cleaning and heard their show in the background. I was inspired by an animated short on Disney Jr. called, Lou & Lou Safety Patrol. I used to hear them announce, “SAFETY VIOLATION.” I thought, wow, that sounds nice. It’s more of an observation than a judgment. I could use that if I saw something left out and change my words, which would then change the energy behind our interaction.
I decided I would borrow this statement if I saw something the girls left out. So I gave it a try. I would see a pencil on the floor and instead of saying “Who left this sharp pencil here on the floor,” I’d say, “Safety Violation.” Immediately, they looked around to see what I was referring to and picked up the pencil and put it away.” That was it, worked like a charm. It also made it not personal. I didn’t have to decide who did it and why. It is possible to achieve the same outcome that we desire by describing and observing an action or behavior rather than placing blame on who did it.
I know that typically the intention here is to teach a lesson to a child like how to clean up after themselves or leaving toys and things around the home can be a danger when walking. I get it. There are just so many healthy loving ways to get our point across, rather than harming our family’s well-being and spirit to make a point.
Ironic, right? Initially we claim to be concerned about “danger” yet there is so much “danger” in creating shame and blame. Often times we are more worried about physical danger than emotional danger, but we must be mindful of both.
It has always been my intention to create a home based in nonviolence and I think it sounds kinder to see something and mention it in a way that allows others to raise their awareness, rather than make them feel bad or wrong or shameful.
Brene Brown once spoke about the difference between saying her child made a mess, but her child was not “messy.” I would go a step further and not call anything a mess. Instead we can state how it makes us feel. If I see toys all over the floor or things left out, I tell our girls how it makes me feel. I say, “I am really overwhelmed. My energy feels so crazy because there are so many things all over the floor. “Can you help me pick them up so the crazy vacuum can even fit in this room?” Or, they would tell me that they are in the middle of a story and every toy had a purpose. So I could say, “I see you have a great story going and we need to vacuum, can you help me figure out how to solve this one?”
You can raise awareness too by offering to help. They will learn to clean up by seeing you do it. “You can say, it’s time for dinner and I see all the awesome artwork tools still here and papers all over. Can you come tell me if you are finished creating so we can set the table? Can you help me decide what is trash, recycling, or you still need for your project?” It is completely possible to speak to our loved ones without one ounce of attack or criticism.
Our girls are 11 & 9 and I know they appreciate our mindfulness. Sometimes parents are even intentionally trapping their children by asking WHOOO, when we know in our hearts who did it. This can be especially harmful if you only have one child.
My husband likes to joke and if I forget and ask who did something that I know he did, he would blame a friend whom we haven’t seen for a few months, and he is 39 J I used to say, “Who left this knife out on the counter?” and he would giggle and say, “Vince.” Thank goodness he chooses to be easy about it and remind me in a funny way. We can do this with our children too. It’s so much more fun to learn to be mindful with love and humor.
Why is there such a need to ask in this way? If love, kindness, respect, & building self-esteem are our priorities, we need to become more aware of what comes out of our mouths.
How can such a small change be so important, you may ask? By seeing our child as someone who is learning and not someone who is messing up, defiant, or misbehaving we can change our relationship. We can remain connected to them even as we guide them to learn about themselves and life. The second we create an unloving blameful environment, we are instantly disconnected and have lost their trust. Trust allows us to have influence and let’s your child know they can count on you.
So the next time your child leaves something out or does something potentially unsafe, try this great approach & teach them that you will simply give them this “Secret Message” they have to decode. Make it fun. Teach them to be a detective and look around to find something out of place. See how easy it is to maintain positive attitude and turn it almost into an educational game instead of another fruitless, low vibration, yelling match.
“I choose to see this differently. I choose to see this with LOVE.”
|Sending love and light to everyone on this beautiful day!
Wishing you health, happiness, peace, joy, abundance, prosperity and LOVE♥ on this day and always!
With love, appreciation, & gratitude,