H☼T Topics – Family Friday: When to Keep Your Mouth Shut

I bet you are really eager to learn about this!

I am sure that this is not something many people are going to be excited about… but my guess is that some of you have experienced a little extra strife in your life because you just couldn’t hold your tongue. Let’s be honest to say that we all could do a better job of holding back some of the thoughts in our heads. Not everything we think should be spoken!

This post is by no means to say that someone should suffer in silence. And if there is abuse going on, then there is a very different approach that needs to be taken. This post is for people in non-abusive relationships. If you do find yourself in an abusive relationship please head over to this site to talk with me (for free) to see how to take next steps safely.

I am DIGGING the number 5 this month… so I am going to give FIVE times when to keep your mouth shut with your family…

#1 You should keep your mouth shut if your partner or child has not responded to you for a while during an argument.
I guarantee you… THEY HEAR YOU. The fact that he/she is not responding is not because they are not listening to you, it is probably because they know the next thing out of their mouth is going to harmful. He/She may have also reached their point of frustration and have shut down. When people get to this point, they are not able to have productive conversation and not able to logically take in and consider what you are saying anyway… it is time to stop talking when someone has reached this point. Nothing you add will be helpful… even it it is said lovingly. If someone is shutting down, it is time to give them space and QUIET. Come back later to check in when things have cooled off.

#2 When someone tells you to stop talking to them… even if they say “shut up.”
YES… even if they tell you to shut up. I know from experience at my job that it is really hard to stop talking when a child tells you to shut up or even yells at you to stop talking. There is this feeling that wells up inside of us that says, “I’m in charge here and I will not allow you to disrespect me or have the last word!” And so… we say something… and it just. gets. worse. When a child tells you to stop talking, they are essentially saying, “I’m overwhelmed and cannot process anything you are saying right now. I need some space, can I please be alone for a few minutes to calm down?” BUT… their emotional and verbal development is not that sophisticated yet! So it comes out in a way that we adults consider to be rude. And… it may be that an adult has a moment where they are overwhelmed too (gasp!)…
If you do not want to risk letting the person think it is okay to talk to you like that you can say, “I see you need space. Let’s talk when you have calmed down.” And later when you talk, you can let the person know that saying “shut up” is not okay and that there are other ways to ask for some peace and quiet.

#3 When the point of your next statement is to win.
When we enter into an argument with someone, there is clearly a point of view that we are trying to advocate for and convince the other person that it is the correct point of view. Arguments have a tendency of getting pretty heated… and we often say things that we regret (whether they are true statements or not!). We humans are pretty good at figuring out the perfect thing to say to shut someone else down… but that often involves inflicting pain. Chances are, if your next statement is one you think is going to seal the deal… be the final blow… trump the conversation… or give you the victory… it is likely something that should not be said (assuming you want to avoid verbally attacking people and causing hurt and lack of trust). When winning is our goal, people will get hurt. We can absolutely let our view be understood, but if the goal is to come to an understanding and work together to let BOTH parties win, your relationships will be much happier! Sometimes this means you need to keep your mouth shut and come up with a better response. I’m not asking you to give up your morals or ideals, just suggesting rethinking how you communicate.

#4 If you disagree on a punishment being given to your child by your spouse.
Children are observant, smart, and calculative. If they see their parents disagreeing on something, this information is carefully considered and logged away for future reference. They then know which parent to go to for things they want. This also encourages the child to choose a side and to have a negative view of one of their parents. If you are disagreeing with the way your spouse is handling a situation, you can place the child in a time out and go to another area of the home to discuss how to best handle this situation. Being a united front is so important. Your children feel more safe and secure when they know their parents are a team. They are also more likely to follow through on the desired behavior(s) if both parents are in sync.

#5 If your parents just don’t get it.
This point can be for tweens, teens, young adults, and “seasoned” adults. 😉
Regardless of age, parents will always have more “experience” in life than you. Their default thought will be that they are more wise and have a better grip on your situation. This may be true… and it may not be true (no offense all you ‘rents out there!). Here is something that is true… GOOD LUCK convincing your parents that you know better than they do. It just isn’t going to happen. In fact, the more you push your point, the more irrational they are likely to think you are. If you run into a major disagreement, just stop talking (end the convo nicely). Now, they may have some good wisdom or advice for you… consider their points seriously. If you still disagree, when you are in a calm, logical state, put together a solid case for your point of view. Write it down! This way you can show them you really thought this through and then you have something objective and grounding to fall back on during a frustrating conversation. Many times this part isn’t even necessary… proving yourself through your lifestyle and life outcomes can diffuse their arguments and opinions… it just might take time (years even…).

So which of these is the most difficult for you? Which could you start implementing in your life? Comment below to share your struggles or share a story of success!

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