Hear No Evil

28 May

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling to parent my middle child (nine years old) lately. But, I feel we had SOMEWHAT of a breakthrough the other day, and I hope it helps us resolve our seemingly endless series of conflicts.During what was a particularly hostile exchange (mostly from her end, I could swear), I decided to whip out my iPhone and start recording our fight on voice memo. To be fair, I knew I was recording the argument–she didn’t. But, that was the point. After a few minutes, I pressed “play,” and boy-oh-boy, the look on the poor child’s face as she listened to what could only be described as her own voice screeching, screaming, and yelling at her Mother (me).

untitled (43)I got the idea after my own Mother told me about a time when she and my Stepdad were arguing over the phone about something, and the answering machine (this was a long time ago) had clicked on and recorded everything.

It was a reality check for my Mom, who had to finally admit he wasn’t ALWAYS the problem.

So, back to my conflict. Later that night, my daughter came up to me and said she was glad I had recorded her and that it made her think about how she spoke to me.

Sometimes, it’s hard to know what the other person in the conflict is experiencing because, well, we hear ourselves one way, and it’s often different from reality. By recording the conversation, we can actually become objective listeners and hear ourselves the way others do.

I’m not recommending this for all conflicts, of course. But, perhaps, it can be useful for those perpetual conflicts we all experience. You never know–maybe how you REALLY sound is different from the way you think you sound.


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