An "outdoors" voice is fine on the playground. Indoors it creates havoc.
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Read this story to your children if their voices sometimes sound too loud. The story was written by a young boy, Max B., whose grandma kept asking him to quiet down.
The Missing Voice
Once upon a time there was a little boy named Jacob. Jacob was a good little boy. He did everything that his mom and dad told him to.
One day Jacob was very screamy. His mom said, "Where is your talking voice?"
"I don't know," answered Jacob.
Jacob looked everywhere for his talking voice.
He found a howling voice, like his little baby sister Carol makes when she wants some food or her bottle.
He found his screaming voice. That's the closest voice to him when he doesn't like something, like when his baby sister knocks down the tower he built with his blocks.
He found the voice that's just too loud. He used that voice when he's excited.
He found his whining voice that he used when his mother wasn't listening to him.
He found the animal voices. He found his pet cat's purr, a quiet purr for when he wants someone near him. Then Jacob goes to him and plays with cat toys by giving the toys to the cat.
He found his cat's meow. The meow was a scary meow, like a whiney voice, for when he doesn't want other people near him. When he's eating his food he doesn't want anybody near him.
He found his pet dog's voice. "Ruff, ruff," Jacob says when he's pretending to be a dog.
Jacob went out for a walk.
He went to the trees in the mountains, because he lived in the mountains. He found squirrel and mice voices. "Cheep, cheep" and "Queak, squeak."
He heard the voice of the wind that went "Woooo, Wooo," as the wind blew the trees, and the trees went "Chih, chih."
He couldn't find his talking voice.
Jacob went back inside the house. He looked again everywhere, and still couldn't find his talking voice.
Then Jacob heard a sound. He looked toward the ceiling. The ceiling is high, and everywhere else he had looked was low. The voice was right near where the dog's voice was, but the dog's voice was not high toward the ceiling; the dog's voice was low on the ground.
"What's that voice?" Jacob thought. "Maybe my voice went there, to the ceiling, when I had been sleeping in my bed."
Jacob looked closer. He reached up and put the voice in his mouth. It was his own talking voice!
Jacob was happy because he found his own talking voice. Now he could talk without screaming, and without whining. He could say "Hi!" and "Bye!" and say everything he wanted to say. It was a quiet voice, a medium voice, that was not too loud, just right.
And Jacob felt very happy.
Susan Heitler, Ph.D., a Denver clinical psychologist, is the author of From Conflict to Resolution on psychotherapy and The Power of Two on the secrets to marriage success. A graduate of Harvard and NYU, Dr. Heitler's latest project is the online marriage-skills program PowerOfTwoMarriage.