The “Womp Womp” Element
Her words were not discernible, they were nonsensical in nature and I’ll never forget the sound of her voice, “womp, wompwomp.” During my childhood, if someone muffled their words, my friends and I would laugh and say “womp womp womp.”
Today, “womp womp womp” has a whole new meaning in my life. It is what daughters hear when mothers “RANT”.
NO MORE Ranting !
I had the pleasure of conducting multiple focus groups with high school girls and their mothers for the last couple of months. I enjoyed the groups immensely! I was able to learn so much about myself and so much about the mother-daughter dynamic. One common theme that came up in almost every session was what I call “The Rant Factor.”
The girls consistently used the word, RANT. The Webster’s Dictionary defines rant as, talking in a noisy, excited, or defamatory manner; and to scold vehemently. When I asked the girls how they defined the word “rant” most of them summed a rant to be: “When my mother goes on and on and on and on…” Sound familiar?
When the girls in each group repeatedly stated how much they despise when their mother rants, I rhetorically asked the obvious question “why”? The girls stated…”It is annoying and I tune her out”
I have to admit that during these group sessions , I had flashbacks on how I have been guilty of “The Rant Factor.”
Three tips to stop “The Rant Factor”
1. Stop Cold Turkey
STOP now! You will completely shock your daughter. When you “Rant” your daughter isn’t listening to you and is becoming more frustrated. Instead of absorbing all of the information that you are trying to share with her, she is “tuning you out”.
2. Control your Emotional Response !
The emotional bond that you have with your daughter fuels the Rant! We want so much for our daughters and want them to pursue their dreams, celebrate their journey, and fulfill their goals. We want all of those things without her EVER making a mistake.
3. Become more conscious of the level of your emotional response.
A.Prepare ahead and practice
Prepare and Practice scenarios. In Deborah Smith Pegues’ book, Taming the Tongue, she speaks about choosing words ahead of time to prevent a breakdown of communication to help manage an emotional response.
B. Shorten your response
Create a concise two sentence statement reminding your daughter of your expectations for her and say it …ONCE!
C. Listen to your daughter
Sometimes our rants are a “knee-jerk “response and unjustified. Listening to what your daughter is saying and trying to understand and empathize with your daughter’s position is important. In the Third Edition of Messages: The Communication Skills book, there is a technique called “Reversal”.
The rule for “Reversal”
- Each person chooses their opponents viewpoint and argues on behalf of their opponent. The object is for each person to really view and understand the other person’s thoughts and feelings. For the mother-daughter dyad I think utilizing the reversal should be an internal assessment. Really consider your daughters point of view and how life may feel from her lens.
You will not accomplish your No Ranting Policy overnight but as long as you DECREASE your ranting …you’re on the right path.
McKay, M, Davis, M & Fleming, P. (2009). Messages The Communication Skills Book: Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
Smith Pegues, D. (2005). 30 Days to Taming your Tongue: Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House Publishers.