Reacting is a learned trait.
When you react in front of your child, by yelling etc., you’re sending him or her the message, “This is how we deal with things in life, we react.”
Children don’t know there’s any other way to handle intense or emotional situations, so they follow your lead.
Then when (s)he hits a “hot” developmental phase, or misbehaves and acts out, (s)he uses what’s been modeled.
(S)he yells, tantrums, or doesn’t listen. (S)he resorts to what (s)he’s seen others do.
So we yell at him/her to “stop it.”
And we correct behavior in ways that don’t share ‘what to do instead.’
We stop hearing to the protests to ” Listen Mom”, or “Please, don’t send me to timeout” or to “Please understand.”
And the circle begins again.
We know there is another way. We know that Responding exists, but we aren’t sure what the steps are to get there when we’re stressed and/or angry.
The funny thing is our quest to find the steps to respond and not react is the same quest our kids have when they misbehave. The kids are looking for the step-by-step process needed to handle intense or emotional situations, just like you’re looking for the step-by-step process so you can go from reacting to responding.
Once you realize that you and your child are both looking for the “steps” to change, you become instantly empathetic. You see that reacting when your child misbehaves is not productive any more.
Congratulations, you’ve just taken step one in UN-learning how to react.
The next step is to find the words and methods to support your new understanding.
That’s why our book, Stop Reacting and Start Responding, is so loved by parents around the world. It shares the practical step-by-step ways to respond as you handle the daily situations you face when raising kids. For more information on how to Stop Reacting and Start Responding read the book, the articles, the blog, and check out our audio-seminars. Everything at Proactive Parenting is filled with the step-by-step methods you need to help your child take the step-by-step journey to change his or her behavior.