Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Uncategorized

Respond Vs. React (or Why Are You So Dumb?–Part 3)

Welcome back, all. Between less structured summer days and a laptop that needs a li’l TLC, I’m feeling a bit disorganized and out of sorts. Please forgive my delay in getting this post up. As always, I’m hoping all is well with all of you.

happy garden spot
The sunflowers in my yard have morphed into perennials. No complaints from me. 😀

The happiness of most people is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things.— Ernest Dimnet…(from Don Charisma’s awesome blog–EVERYONE should take a minute and check it out. Just sayin’ 🙂 )

This is a great segue into where we left off last time. We were discussing shaming children in public, the possible consequences and a more positive way of responding (vs. reacting) to an incident I observed while standing in line at my supermarket. (Read Part 1 and Part 2, if you so desire, and please remember to come back! 🙂 )

The night before I wrote this post, I was doing a little cleaning on my enclosed front porch, killing some time while I waited to pick up Younger Son at a friend’s. Outside, the wind had picked up, strong enough to rattle the windows.

Behind me, I heard a loud thump. Attributing it to the wind, I turned toward the (glass) front door and startled BIG-TIME to a face behind the door.

Younger Son had gotten a ride home, saw me from outside and decided to have some fun.

“Please don’t do that again,” I heard myself say, in a calm voice that belied the heart beating and the short breaths going on underneath.

Okay, this didn’t take place in public, but I realized practicing my response over the years—with my guys, and with my school kids (lots of opportunities for practice there 😉 )—helped me to not react. (“Are you out of your ________ mind?” Are you stupid, crazy…?”)

I’m far from perfect, but it’s easier to lose one’s cool when one is behind closed doors–when no witnesses are around. If one has managed one’s behaviors under those circumstances, one can hope to have it even more together out in the world.

Here is an effective way to practice: next time your child does something outlandish that catches you off-guard…(drum roll, please…)

Do.

NOTHING.

What????

Okay, so do this instead: take a step back and then survey the situation.

Honestly, unless your child is in immediate and/or imminent physical danger….

Do. Nothing.

While you’re “doing nothing:”

Get your bearings.

Replay the scene in your head,

Imagine how you might handle the situation via more positive words, actions, etc.

If you need to, write down exactly what you want to say.

Rehearse it.

(Replaying the scene and scripting your response has its place—pinky-swear!)

Once you feel confident–or at least have an idea of what you want to say and how you want to say it, go to your child and address the issue.

“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Experience you’d like to share? Please feel free to do so in the comments, or by contacting me privately. You never know who you might help by putting your story out there.

Have a wonderful day and many thanks for your time,

Joanne

© Joanne C Timpano, content and images. All rights reserved.

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5 thoughts on “Respond Vs. React (or Why Are You So Dumb?–Part 3)

  1. Yes, stopping a moment to think before we react can make a big difference in our interpersonal relationships. Yet it’s not always so easy to do. Surprises have a way of making us react first, think later. It’s difficult to reprogram nature, but as you say, it can be practiced.

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  2. Excellent advice!! It’s taken me years, but I try to ‘do nothing’ as often as possible (well, as far as reacting to something silly/crazy/scary my guy/kids/(and now my grandkids) do. They’ve given me lots of chances to practice!! 🙂

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