Originally Posted by monkey's mom
So let me ask you, when you get to that point would you find it more or less comfortable and respectful for your child to say to you, "I can't understand you when you're like this. When you speak nicely to me, I will listen?"
Wouldn't you rather hear something like, "Mama, I'm sorry you're upset. How can I help you?"
I use the phrase "I can't understand you when you talk in that voice" because I *can't*. DD can get that pitch in her voice that truly pains my ears and all I can get is the whining, not the words. She can say the same exact words - even if they're rude or demanding - in her normal voice, and I will do anything I can for her. If she is unable to do that, then I know that there is a bigger issue behind it all, like she's tired or hungry or whatever, and I will deal with that in a kind, compassionate way. But I know my children, and I can usually tell the difference between the two.
Thanks, though, for implying that asking my child to use a tone of voice that doesn't set my teeth on edge means that I'm being disrespectful or dismissive of her feelings.
I am not saying "you can't feel like that". I am incredibly careful to NOT be dismissive of any child's feelings, after growing up constantly being told "no, you're not really angry/sad/hurt".
I'm saying "please use a different tone of voice". DD can feel however she wants, and express it to me in any words she wants, but the whining sets me immediately on edge and, if continuous, makes me want to get far far away, not help her out. Saying that I can't understand her gives her a chance to reframe her request if she wants to; if she doesn't want to, she can make the exact same request with the exact same words, as long as she is not whining just because . She doesn't have to be "nice" - she just needs to NOT WHINE.
And I may get cranky and on-edge around my kids, but I don't whine at them. I reserve that for DH
- though I do manage to avoid the squealing pitch DD seems to get to so easily. And believe me, DD has absolutely said to me "Mama, I don't like those words" or "those words aren't kind". Also, it is not DD's job to teach me how to manage my needs and emotions (though she certainly has taught me a lot about what's really important), but it is my job to help her learn how to get her needs met and express her emotions in healthy, positive ways.
So, while it might not work in your house, it works in ours, we all feel respected and heard, and I don't have to walk around with foam earplugs in all day in order to avoid bleeding from the ears because of whining.