Karen’s Parenting Mini-Course Part 1 – Stop and Think

I’m Karen. Welcome to my Parenting Mini-Course. This Simple Solution is to Stop and Think and let your children know you’re in control.

I want to be a good parent and have a happy family life. Where do I begin?
I’m going to start off by giving you a gift, and here it is: it’s the gift of time. When our children are misbehaving or aren’t cooperating, we don’t always need to solve the problem straight away. We can Stop and give ourselves time to Think before we agree, disagree or give-in. If you want to take time to think things through, simply say so. There’s no need to feel pressured.

So I don’t have to deal with problems immediately?
It’s fine to wait until later to discuss just about anything. We don’t need to tell our children off immediately when they’ve done something wrong. We might put a swift end to the bad behaviour, but we have plenty of time to think through how to resolve it. If fact, it’s not only okay to Stop and Think – it’s a great thing to do.

You’re saying when my children misbehave I should do nothing?
If it means we avoid jumping in and overreacting, accidentally making things worse, we’re doing everyone a big favour! It’s that moment of reflection that gives us the chance to prevent so many problems escalating and be the parents we want to be. And there are plenty of wonderful things we can do instead. They’re all part of the Simple Solutions in my Parenting Mini-Course.

But it’s hard not to react immediately!
Don’t worry if Stopping and Thinking doesn’t come naturally to you – it doesn’t come naturally to most of us! But I promise you’ll be delighted when you manage to do it. There’s absolutely no point in trying to resolve problems or have rational conversations when everyone is stressed. There’s even less point in arguing, shouting and saying things we might regret. Family life is so much easier when we wait until later, when everyone has calmed down, instead of getting sucked into a shouting-match vortex with our children.

What about when my child does something horrendous?
If we know the right thing to say, say it. Otherwise, Stop and Think. I’m not suggesting we let it go and do nothing at all. I’m simply saying it’s better to wait so we don’t get wound up and make a hash of it.

And when they bicker and I can’t stand it anymore?
Stay out of it, unless we think one of them might get hurt. It’s best not to respond to bad behaviour immediately unless we have to, because they might only be misbehaving to get our attention.

So if I wait and do nothing, I’m actually doing something?
When they’re upset, they may be too wound up to think straight. And if we jump in and get annoyed, they may only resent us instead of learning from it. Thinking and resolving things later – not overreacting or ignoring problems – shows our children that we’re reliable. It also teaches them to be thoughtful when they have problems. And if we discuss issues later, in private, we don’t run the risk of humiliating them in front of others, so they’ll be much more likely to listen to us.

If you take nothing else from this video, take this:
When you’re about to lose it with your children, Stop and Think. Take a deep breath, count to ten or go to your bedroom. Then have a reasonable conversation about it later.

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