Wow – Chapter 3 of Building Better Families is absolutely filled with some thought provoking quotes. This is the third article on that chapter and I am only half way through it.
Today I was really struck by the following quote,
“What you do screams so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”
For some reason this reminded me of when my oldest was about 11 years old.
Someone flipped a switch and my kind and caring daughter turned into an alien. We couldn’t be alone together for more than 5 minutes without screaming at each other. I still don’t completely understand what happened, but it was so bad that I didn’t even want to be around her.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming her – but she is our oldest and I had no idea what was going on or how to deal with it.
It was so bad that my husband would ask if it was okay to go run a quick errand because he didn’t want to come home to us fighting, again. But he did, again.
Strangely enough the thing that turned it around for us was Victoria Stillwell’s show, It’s me or the Dog on Animal Planet. (This was many years ago when we actually sat down and watched television together.) Victoria uses very positive training techniques and the one thing she told dog owners over and over again is that they needed to change their own behavior before their dogs were going to make any lasting changes.
In other words, you are part of the problem.
I thought about that for a bit and decided that maybe it would work in our situation as well. If I changed how I was reacting to my daughter’s behavior, maybe her behavior would change.
The final blow came when we were arguing and my husband asked that famous question,
“Who started it?”
We pointed at each other and said, “She did!”
Reality check – time for me to be the adult.
So I tried very hard to change how I was reacting to her and guess what? It worked.
Not immediately of course, but over time things got better.
Fast forward to today, when she is a teen. I not only love my daughter, I truly enjoy spending time with her. I can see a future where we are not just family, but real friends.
So it is true that how we behave as parents means far more than anything we say. We have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
As Matthew Kelly says,
“Children will gladly follow where you are willing to lead them yourself. They become skeptical and questioning of those who simply stand still and point them down a path.”
I guess I better make sure that what I am doing is screaming the right thing.
If you missed the other articles in this series here are the links:
Start Here This article is about why I started this project in the first place.
Introduction I don’t always read the introductions to a book, but I am glad I read this one.
Chapter 1 When was the last time you were inspired by something?
Chapter 2 Enjoy your family right now.
Chapter 3 – Part 1 Parenting is not about 1 great success
Chapter 3 – Part 2 – What word do you measure your parenting success by?