Monday, August 25, 2008

Talk Less

Today I have been thinking a lot about how quickly children get over upsets. One minute they are sobbing, the next they are happily playing again. This doesn't count tantrums... I am talking about UPSETS. What strikes me about the difference between upsets and tantrums (besides the 45 minutes of wailing etc) is how much I talk. How much I try to fix. How much I try to empathize, reflecting back the upset. How much talking I do to help Pablo work through it. I started to wonder, what if I didn't talk? What if I was present and focused on his needs, but not speaking in paragraphs about his experience? What if I let him move through it all with my love and support, but without my direct guidance?

It seems to me that the more we talk, the less he listens. We have gotten into a new great habit (thanks to my rockin' partner) of telling him our expectations once when we know he is attentive, and then walking away. At bedtime, we ask what he needs to do before we get to read, and remind him that the reading stops at a certain time, and his time is his to use as he sees fit. He wants to read, so he is generally pretty cooperative with getting ready for bed. If he goofs off too much, one of us will say to the other (not to Pablo), "Boy, I hope we get to read tonight. What do you think Stuart Little is going to do today?" which generally sends Pablo into fits of getting ready. This is such a far cry from a few weeks ago with the nagging and begging and threatening we were doing (much to Pablo's delight).

So, I am on a new talking less policy. For those who know me, you know what a challenge this is. But it is working well so far (aka this afternoon). I think more, become more mindful of my needs in the moment, and give myself what I need internally rather than throwing my stuff into Pablo's upset by trying to solve his issue. I stay more focused and less in his energetic (frantic) space which lets me be more peaceful. Today he got upset and I tried this and he NEVER YELLED at me. He was clearly upset, and expressed it, but never actually yelled. It was kind of creepy, actually. But creepy in a way I could learn to love.

So here's to not talking. Mum's the word. That's all I am saying for now. Done. No more talking. I mean for now. Not like I WON'T talk. Just less. That's all.


  1. Hi again --- so timely! I just wrote a post about practicing noble silence with my children. I've been doing this every day for the last two weeks.

    Well, I have been trying to do it!

    The post is not on my main site; it's here:

    I'm glad to have found your site! (via Cheerio Road)