Living with my 4 1/2 year old son Ari (my “Little Handsome”) is like living with a marriage counselor.
Because whenever Ari is around, my Big Handsome and I are always extra motivated to be our best selves.
After all, we want Ari to grow up learning how to be an amazing partner for some lucky gal some day.
As a result, Big Handsome and I are devoted to representing what a healthy, loving, supportive relationship looks like, sounds like, feels like – and quacks like.
Actually – literally “quacks” like.
We developed a fun relationship tool – all about making “quack, quack” sounds – which has helped us to fight less.
Now, before you think this too “quacky” of a concept – let me quickly explain.
Whenever either Big Handsome or I are feeling hurt, annoyed or highly miffed, we say “quack, quack.” This is our recognized code for “You are really bugging me – and/or pissing me off right now – so – please stop and re-think what you are saying or doing.”
We concocted this quirky tool because we recognized that often there were times we didn’t want to talk (aka: argue) too openly about specific adult topics in front of Ari. Plus, we also did not want to risk one of our comments (aka: complaints) escalating into a big bickering session – and have Ari sit through it all – taking mental notes for things to tell his therapist in years to come. (I’m joking – but I’m serious.)
With this in mind, we decided if we were with Ari, and one of us was feeling hurt or annoyed by the other, we’d simply say “quack, quack” – thereby letting the “offending party” know that an offense had taken place – then – leaving the “offending party” to figure out what” offensive” thing they just said or did.
2. It’s a non-specific way to “complain.” Nothing is actually being explained. As a result, the “offending party” has to take the time to think about it on on their own – wonder what they might have said or done to inspire a “quack, quack.” Basically, this tool is a form of “coerced compassion.” The “offending party” has to call upon qualities like empathy, curiosity and contemplation to solve the riddle of the triggered “quack, quack.”
3. These two syllables are quick and to the point. It’s an “enough said” verbal device – which prevents engaging in one of those long circular fights – where you go round and round – repeating the same thing – over and over. Or worst – drifting into other complaint topics – besides the singular complaint topic at hand. When you hear the “quack, quack” you know the offense has to do with something in the here and now – so your attention stays focused on the here and now.4. It’s memorable – so it helps you become aware of how many times you might be saying or doing something annoying. For example, it’s very noticeable if you’re saying “quack, quack” 3 or 4 times in a night. In fact, this happened to us one evening – inspiring Ari to ask, “What’s with all the quack, quacks?” This made Big Handsome and I laugh – further releasing our tension.
5. As mentioned up top, this verbal ploy not only keeps fighting down, it keeps it out of your child’s earshot and vision. If you later want to revisit what triggered the “quack, quack,” you can do it when your child’s not around – and thereby also when your blood pressure has returned to a more normal level. Plus, even if you don’t have kids, this tool is a good one – for all the many reasons above.
Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.