The question that sparked this week’s topic:
While I am accustomed to the noise that my children produce (which I don’t
consider excessive), my family often makes comments about it and
seems annoyed by them after a short period of time. How do you deal with
your children’s noise, especially when company is over?
When it comes to noise levels, I am trapped between two worlds. I come from a very soft-spoken family. If we have something to say, we wait our turn and say it softly. If we have nothing to say, we enjoy each other’s company in complete silence. Yes, it makes for awkward phone calls but it’s relaxing, friendly and peaceful in real life.
I married a man who is descended from a long line of preachers on one side, and talkers on the other. My husband is a well-balanced individual, but his siblings got his mom’s chatty gene and his dad’s lungs. It’s fun and crazy and I love them all dearly, but I would NEVER use the word peaceful when his family is on the premises.
My kids? Like curly hair, dark skin and detached ear lobes, NOISY is a dominant gene. They have their quiet moments, but most of my children really enjoy a little chaos and some excessive decibel levels in their daily lives in a way that my sibs and I didn’t, even as children. Coghlans bring life wherever they go, and it turns out life is loud.
Like the questioner above, I suspect my own side of the family doesn’t always love us for our lungs. What could I do about it? What should I do about it?
I tried for many years to keep a tight rein on the noise level in our house, but ultimately I realized that I was not just fighting the gene pool. I was pushing against my husband’s personality and heritage. He does not enjoy chaos, but he instigated much of the noise I was trying to control. I was creating two distinct sets of behavior for our children when it came to noise: Dad is Home VS. Dad is Gone. This is doable, but harder on everyone involved and was frustrating me since I felt constantly undermined.
Finally, I let go. I decided to let my husband lead the noise level in our home. Surprisingly, I quickly found out that he was not oblivious to the noise level. His tolerance we only a little higher than mine. When I let him set the standard, it really wasn’t too far outside my comfort zone. A little, but not bad. I adapted. Now we were on the same page.
Now what about the family and friends who shared my own sensibilities?
Because of my struggle and our children’s divided heritage, they are aware that some people are less tolerant of high noise levels. We have tried to teach them not to just shut up, but to evaluate and adapt to the situation. This is partly a matter of courtesy. It is also a skill that seems to increase with maturity, one that comes more easily to some than to others. I know that we are sometimes very loud, but we try to limit it to times when we are around other loud people. Whether we are in our home or not, if I suspect the noise level is bothering anyone else besides myself, I am quick to correct and our children are generally responsive – because we have trained them this way and also because in spite of how they sound, they do actually have that recessive QUIET gene hidden somewhere in their DNA.
It’s a simplistic answer, and I know that it’s more easily said than done, but that’s often the truth in life. I know how I want to handle the situation, and so I do my best at it, knowing that my best won’t always be a great job. Sometimes our noise level will annoy or offend. Sometimes it will be because our noise is excessive, and sometimes it will be because somebody else has unreasonable expectations or a migraine. Either way, we do our best to love our children and the quieter people around us at the same time, while trying to make it easy for them to love us.
How would you answer this question? See what questions the other moms have to say about noise levels today: