Love Conquers All

My head was brimming over with ideas, yet I couldn’t actually shape them and round them up into a post because  I am nursing a head cold right now. So I did the next best thing. I called The Force. I asked my son – if he had to write a parenting post, what would be the first thing that came to mind? And pat came the answer, as if he was waiting for me to ask him:

Love Conquers All

“How about when parents need to convey something… they need not be harsh.  If they say it “lovingly” things can get done so much more easily.”

I asked, “Can you elaborate?”

He said, “Yes. Often, older people assume that they must raise their voices to get things done or give advice. We are happier to listen when it comes as normal conversation.   If reasonable there’s no reason why we would even rebel. Sometimes we can’t even understand why you get angry!”

That’s the truth.  Let’s talk about that, then, today. Some love. Some kindness.

Reflecting each other

In a sense, it is gratifying that our children mirror our behavior most of the time and it is worth it to model the behavior we want them to adopt. When they see us raising our voices, they get the message that perhaps doing the same will get them what they want. Sometimes we consciously control ourselves, especially when we’ve had a grueling day at work or a generally frustrating time. Sometimes we don’t and in our irritation, unconsciously take it out on whoever comes in contact. When children want something, they want it now and keep on at it until they get it. Rather than cool down and say “please give me a few minutes, okay?” and receive an “okay” (most of the time, anyway), we tend to show our annoyance – and let me not even give you an example. You know what I mean.

I am guilty of doing that. Although I very rarely raise my voice, I am not immune to reacting in an irritated manner especially when I have work deadlines and am racing against time. Since my Mother lived with us, it helped us keep a check on our reactions, take a deep breath and then say things. As a student of psychology and a teacher of over four decades – and a great one at that – she had the experience of handling children of various ages and knew how to handle them. I am usually cheerful and believe that getting angry or irritated is a waste of energy, until my son came along.

Oh, but children test the patience and turn angels into… um… non-angels.

Practicing what we preach

Looking at the big picture, though, it is worth it, to practice what we preach to our children. For instance, if we want them to know that shouting is a no-no, we must avoid shouting. If we want them to learn that yelling back and forth is not done, we mustn’t either.

I noticed that my son would never do anything he was told to do in a stern way. If the same thing was said lovingly, he’d immediately jump up and do it.  I realized that scolding him for something never brought forth a reaction. We’d get the freeze. Being nice always did, with positive results.

This reminded me of my own childhood when my uncle would get mad at me when I didn’t grasp a math concept the first time while studying. The madder he got, the more frozen I became. It would be like a wall was building up, blanking out my mind. To make things worse, I would end up crying, and my uncle would get up and go off in a huff. And forget about it in a short while. I wouldn’t.

My son does the same. When I get irritated, he just goes silent and looks at me, and I get the feeling he’s tuned out. And because he doesn’t react on the spot, it makes me madder. I get frustrated and with a “what’s the use talking to you” move on to the next thing. Ten minutes later, very calmly, he’ll apologize and say that he didn’t look at it the way I did – that he’ll be careful the next time and try to do whatever it is I was ranting about. He’ll apologize again, hug and smile to see if there is a responsive smile. And of course, I feel guilty as hell.

The same thing happens when my husband is teaching him something. While he’s not short-tempered, he does get annoyed when something seemingly simple doesn’t get through, resulting in that blank mind.

Literally, from the sublime – to the ridiculous

When it progressively looks like it is getting worse, I quietly intervene with a glass of water, place it on the table and exit.  This gives pause to the situation and he cools down. He then sits with our son, explaining why he got irritated, giving him time to come back from the blank state, talking softly, calmly.

Obviously we all have our own views about how to get the best outcome from our children and raise them to be good human beings. Most of this comes out of our experience.  And most of the time, it is mutual learning – for us and for our children.

Vidya Sury is a happy work-at-home Mom who relishes the joy of parenting and growing up with her son. She is a freelance writer, business blogger and social media enthusiast and loves DIY, Coffee, Music, Photography, Family, Friends and Life.  She believes that Happiness is a DIY Project. She blogs at www.vidyasury.com and tweets as @vidyasury.

 

  • Jyothi

    So true. Both the hubby and I were hot tempered , are we were kind of like perfectionists. The yelling was such a common thing at home. The kids are now immune to it. They taught us this lesson too, I guess a bit too late. Love is the only way to get through to them now. 🙂

    • Right you are, Jyothi! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  • Just as all we want is love, that is all they want too. Lovely post, Vidya, and a reminder to self not to get impatient. I try, but don’t always succeed. Will try harder.

    • Arundathi. 🙂 Reminders are always welcome, aren’t they? My Mom used to call it “revision” – we already know certain things but in the spur of the moment, spontaneous reactions are not always ideal. I always considered myself the serene type…until my son came along. Then I had to seriously raise the bar with my patience levels. Thankfully I’ve succeeded. Thank you for your comment – I loved your post and your blog!

  • Hi Vidya! How right you are. I am guilty of the,”Give me a moment to finish,” and then get sooo frustrated when nothing but constant talking comes from the babe’s mouth while I am trying to concentrate on figuring something out (usually fixing the blog). Tell me, how do you train the adults not to mirror the behavior, because my husband yells across the house and allows late night tv and it drives me crazy. Ask your son for me – I’ll bet he has the perfect common sense answer.

    • Julie 🙂 Now don’t you dare laugh – but he just said “Do as you would have done unto you”. I wrote something called the “Rewind” technique earlier – and that’s what we used with him when he was much younger – so he could literally rewind and start again…nicely. We consciously follow that now, except, we say what we don’t mean…and then say what we mean. My husband, Sury does that too – yell across the room – and my son just walks over, stands near him and says “Daddy” in a reproachful tone. Sury instantly cools down. Somehow, over the years, Sury and I have developed enough sync. to say the same things independently. It wasn’t always like that. 😀

      Hugs and thanks for coming over.

  • those imps can sure teach us a thing or two. our house was a war zone in the mornings with son languidly enjoying his breakfast and me running around as if my ass was on fire and shouting at the top of my voice waking up people on the next street even. that stopped one day when son told me in a very matter of fact manner, “amma, calm down, we have enough time , if only you would stop shouting” 🙂

    • I know exactly what you mean, Bindu! Whenever I get worked up, that’s exactly what I hear. My son just quietly comes into the kitchen, humming softly and gets ready to pack the dubbas and I instantly calm down. I feel sheepish. Well, it is only on the days I make stuffed rotis that I get worked up. You know how crucial that extra 5 minutes can be!

      Only thing is, I don’t shout. And there’s always Sury to diffuse any tense situation by joking.

      Oh yes, those imps can certainly teach us a thing or two. 😀 Thanks for commenting!

  • Very true Vidya. “Turning angels into non-angels” big time. 😀 I always thought that i had abundance of patience till the time my son came along. It is really difficult sometimes to control the irritation but very pertinent pointers to keep in mind for the next time.

    • Thank you, Jas! 😀 It is why I think I am growing up too, in many ways, all over again! Loved your post over at Rachna’s!

  • Joy

    I love it all, Vidya! If adults might learn the same communication techniques as well…we all have inner children that respond well to courtesy and respect.

    When we remember the center is love, we can choose to create instead of react. Soon, creation becomes our “auto-pilot” response dissolving reactions. A wonderful place to connect and create from 🙂 Thank you for the message, the examples you have shared and the tips you provide!

    • Dearest Joy – I attribute part of my calm to the great company I keep. I am blessed my son chooses not to lose his temper and is aware that there’s more to be gained through kindness than wasting energy reacting. You’ve expressed this so beautifully! But then, you always do! Thanks for being my friend!

  • Rachna

    Vidya, you don’t know how much your post resonates with me. I completely agree with what you say. I know it in my heart too, but there are so many times that I have lost temper. I am not proud of it but sometimes tjey throw tantrums or we are tired or pre-occupied. I am trying to be a better mom.

    • I am right with you, Rachna! 🙂 Experience is a wonderful teacher 😀 Thank God we’re blessed with wonderful children! 🙂

  • Beautiful Vidya!
    That Vidur of yours certainly is smart and thoughtful. I found myself raising my voice to my children when they were teenagers. I learned the hard way that I caught more flies with honey. Now with my 15 year old I just don’t have the problems I did with the older ones. Loved this post as usual! And glad to have found Parentous, too!

    • Betsy, you’re the true Zen Mama. Some of us are lucky to stop, think and change the way we relate. There have been times when I wondered if things were okay, because Vidur is such a sweet kid. But then, I am also glad he makes the choice to be kind, rather than lose his cool. I am so glad you came by, too! Hugs!

  • Excellent article, Vidya! Having grown up in a “yelling” household, I can assure you it did anything but make me want to behave. I have raised my sons in a non-yelling environment, and can attest to your words that approaching a situation calmly and in a normal tone of voice produces much better results than raising voices and negative emotion. When they were very little, it was easy, but became a bit more challenging when they were in their teens. We made it through, however, and I am so happy when I see my son reasoning with his son in a calm, loving way.

    • Terri, I can’t ever imagine you yelling. You’re far too kind 🙂 As a child, I’ve seen the shouting going on at cousins’ houses and always marveled at how civil my own folks were. I remember hearing far too many “good girl!” remarks coming my way – but it wasn’t just me, you know? It was literally nurtured by my folks. 🙂 So many factors. Love you for coming by. And you are always an inspiration to me.

  • I wonder if it is that easy to be patient with them? With my own son, I have experienced, first I tell him calmly, peacefully. And the matter doesn’t enter the brain. Forget the brain, I doubt it won’t enter his ears. Then I start yelling and he makes a face saying, you don’t have to shout. As if I am the one who enjoys shouting and he listens without repeating. These days I can feel my nerves breaking with the shouting I am doing and yet has to continue to do to get things done. I told him 6 times yesterday to note down his reading log and he didn’t open it so far…my hands had been itching to take out the log and give it to him, but I wanted him to learn doing it himself…
    And in the mornings, he says amma don’t rush me. If I don’t rush him, he is going to take all the time in the world and really really doesn’t even bother to look at how late he is. What happens in the end? He just cries that he is late.
    But I agree, most of the times, things get done when told smoothly, not with my own son though.

    • Rachna Parmar

      Latha all of us those happen to me. If I don’t yell, they just don’t listen. It can be so exasperating!

      • Hugs, Rachna. It is funny how, the more they grow up, the more we learn 😀

      • Rachna, I can’t like you any better. Each time I start to feel guilty, you are there by my side to say, we all do it. You really don’t know how much relief that brings to me 🙂

        • It is the truth, Latha. 🙂 Oh, the relief of knowing we are not alone is in itself a huge consolation 😀 Hugs!

    • Latha I get what you’re saying. When Vidur (son) was very young – he would drive us crazy by being playful and running around the house all the time. This HAD to stop or we’d all be going nuts. The solution came like a miracle to me. One great habit he had was sitting and eating without spilling a crumb. I would sit with him – I know it is bad manners to talk while eating – but sometimes, necessary. One day – I was telling him what a good boy he was with eating…why didn’t he do the same with other things without driving us up the wall? I explained the whys. We made progress. Then – for the forgetting part, I stuck little lists in strategic places. With loving humorous messages (my son’s one for affection, you know). He seemed to like that – and soon, we had things running like clockwork at home. Another thing is – explaining the consequences of doing something and not doing it – and asking them to choose. It has worked for me. Now he’s like a teacher to me sometimes with his calm nature. 🙂 Hugs. it all works out!

      • I like your idea of sticking notes. See, how forgetful I am. I read your comment, but didn’t reply that day as I wanted to do it later. And now I totally forgot abt the sticky notes part. I remembered to reply to you though. 🙂 Now, I will keep it in mind. I also liked the part where you interrupt with water or something. But thing is, here it’s a reverse case. Hubby is very short tempered and was thinking, if I will get the yelling instead of the son for the interruption..haha 🙂 Hugs to you too for the sisterly advice 🙂

        • Oh Latha – we have the same situation here. I try to keep the balance by Having A Talk with the hubby every other day. Collaborative stuff works rather than trying to do it alone. I’ve experienced that…a problem that seems rather large in the head shrinks when it comes out and is shared. One thing I’ve noticed, fathers like these talks “about our son/daughter” 😀 I’ve asked quite a few people in the course of waiting at school. Those gatherings are real parentous! 🙂 SO much learning from each other. The thing about the water is to quietly make sure it is noticed – no words. 🙂 Hugs!

  • Vidya,
    you are a beautiful role model for your son.

    As parents, this is indeed a difficult task MANY times…

    Love Youuuu more than white tigers. X

    • Kim, I had a wonderful Mom. But I often think that I am the one that’s growing up – blessed with a nice kid. 😀 I am lucky. Love you more than a lake of lotuses!

  • I feel like your son was looking at me when he said that! I frequently am guilty of snapping or reacting irritably for no good reason with my kids!! Such a good lesson to learn and conveyed so well!

    • Roshni, I’ve gone through that – in fact, it was a phase when life was way too hectic. And two minutes after I snapped, my son would tell me he understood how I felt – and I’d feel instantly guilty. I have learned that they understand far more than we think they do! 🙂 Thanks for chiming in!

  • I loved your quote, “Looking at the big picture, though, it is worth it, to practice what we preach to our children. For instance, if we want them to know that shouting is a no-no, we must avoid shouting. If we want them to learn that yelling back and forth is not done, we musn’t either.” You’re absolutely right Vidya! Great article! Thanks!

    • Victor, I am grateful for all that I learn from spending time with children. They know so much, and can be so compassionate and logical. This has helped me see my son as an individual person rather than someone to be pushed, or pulled :D. As I said earlier, I had such a great example in my Mom. I really appreciate you coming by. Hugs!

  • For all the best intentions, Vidya, we do lose our cool at times. With the older one, it was a steady deterioration with both yelling at each other till I learnt that one of us had to be the parent 😀 With the younger one, it was easier not to yell, because he was so maddeningly calm and good tempered that it made me feel like a monster if I did!

    I am now so eager to meet Vidur. He sounds like a thagappan swamy, if you know what I mean and reminds me of the younger one a lot when he was a kid.

    • Zephyr – your comment is just perfect! My aunt calls him the thagappan saamy 😀 And I feel exactly the way you described with your younger one. 😀 You know – this morning, I don’t know how it happened, when the alarm rang, I cut it off and slept. You know how those early morning dreams are. Well, I had a lovely one today – we were somewhere on holiday.

      Some internal alert must have set off – and I opened my eyes to see it was 7.20 am. I smiled. Then I woke up completely, panicky as Vidur had school today. I swear, I felt miserable. I quickly shook him awake whispering the time in his ear…and he jumped out of bed. Not a word was spoken. I kept expecting him to say something – but nix. He just quickly went about his stuff and was ready to leave at 8.05 as usual.

      At many points, I was kind of holding back the tears. He could have scolded me. But he didn’t. Finally, as we set off, (I was planning to visit a friend who lived near his school), I asked him if he got annoyed because we started the morning later than usual. He just smiled and said that getting angry wouldn’t have retrieved the lost time. And add that all is well that ends well. Zephyr, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve said that to him. And when I heard him say that…. I felt blessed. 😀

      He looks forward to meeting you too! Hugs!

      • Rachna Parmar

        I would love to meet Vidur too, Vidya! He is such a delightful boy very much like his mom :).

        • Rachna, please, please bring your boys and come over!

  • Good post… screaming and shouting never got anything done specially with kids… Love works wonders… thanks.

    • Thank you, Desi Traveler 🙂 you’re right, of course!

  • Yelling is gratifying for a second when you have to vent out frustation..esp with my toddler I know I shouldn’t shout at her so most of the times I go to the bathroom and yell and come out ready to face yet another tantrum!

    • Sirisha – 🙂 I used to do that when I wanted to cry! But hats off to you for not yelling at the little one! Whenever I wanted to yell, I would recite slokas loudly. Or sing “ae maalik tere bandhe hum” 😀

      • I ll remember that too..awkward going to bathroom so many times..hehehee

  • Thank you Vidya for such a lovely post, I could not read this yday was out the entire day. This is so true and I can relate myself in this, while I was working full time,I use to really be shot tempered though I still am but then I never realised and now I can sense all this luckily. Thank you so much for this one, your son is really an intelligent boy to sense all this and talk it out with you. I loved this – “practice what we preach to our children” :)!

    • Anamika, thank you. 🙂 The great thing is, our kids will always listen to us, if we talk to them in a normal way. But in the rush of life, we often have to sound pushy, nagging… and while they usually get used to it, even they get irritated sometimes. I’ve followed a strategy – I always tell my son I want to talk to him. And his mind is ready to hear what I have to say. Telling them something when they’re busy never works. 😀

      Hugs!

  • How true – children mirror what we do always, esp the shouting / cursing part !!!
    I’ve mended my ways when I realized the elder one is copying it verbatim and plays the role of mother to her younger sister. Sometimes, its too much of a restriction for me, not being able to convey my real emotions. But in the long run, I’ve helped my daughter to learn things right.

    • Hi Uma! Yes, it is very very tough to keep our responses in check. But the one thing I’ve learned is – we may say something 20,000 times; it is the one time our child hears it that really matters. :-). I have a very close friend (her name is Uma, too, coincidentally). She has two daughters and in the 15 years I’ve known her, not once have I seen her get even remotely angry with her kids. I used to be amazed and always think of her when my BP rose sometimes. And of course, most of us are fairly serene people….until we raise our children.

      Thank you for your comment. You sound like an amazing Mom!

  • Lakshmi

    Great article… I too strongly believe in practicing what we preach.

    • Hi Lakshmi! That is definitely one of Life’s most important lessons! 🙂 Thank you for commenting!