The power of the PAUSE - Your Most Powerful Parenting HabitMar 30, 2023
Do you know what single parenting habit would make the biggest impact and help you remain more in control in every single difficult situation that arises with your kids?
The answer might surprise you because it’s so simple.
The parenting habit that enables you to remain more in control is the PAUSE.
The pause is when you add space between whatever your child says or does, and your response. That space before you respond holds all of your power. When you pause and make that space longer, you have more control. The pause gives you the time to choose how you will respond instead of reacting.
When we are in the heat of a difficult moment with our kids and we don’t pause, we are more likely to react and move to autopilot. Once we are on parenting autopilot, we snap, yell, and find ourselves in “command and demand” mode before we know it.
Why is it so easy for us to go on autopilot and overreact as a parent?
Because we are hardwired to watch out for threats and react. Our caveman ancestors had to always be watching out for tigers and bears, so our primitive brain is wired to be on high alert for danger. Failing to be on high alert and reacting quickly meant not surviving.
Pausing could have cost us our life thousands of years ago, which is why pausing is so difficult for us and why we have to get more intentional about making it a habit now.
How do I start tapping into the power of the PAUSE, and make it a habit?
If you want to tap into the power of the pause, start by looking for the patterns.
When do you tend to move to parenting autopilot and react most often?
Decide in advance that you are going to pause next time, and ask yourself “How can I best remember to pause next time this happens?”
Some parents use sticky note reminders and others set alarms on their phones, but something else may work best for you. When you ask yourself how you can best remember, your brain will automatically start working to come up with an answer.
The key to making it a habit is through positive reinforcement. Every time you notice yourself pausing before reacting, take a moment and congratulate yourself with a simple “Yay me! I remembered to pause!” That simple acknowledgement turns on the learning and motivation centers of the brain so you are more likely to remember and repeat it next time.
I also encourage you to decide in advance what you’re going to do in that PAUSE.
Are you going to take a deep breath to center yourself?
Are you going to ask yourself “what matters most right now?” or “how can I best respond to this?” What you do in the space in-between the PAUSE will help determine your response.
I hope you find a way to pause today, and I encourage you to test out a couple of different strategies within the pause to find out what works best for you.
If your child struggles with BIG feelings that have you overreacting, I am running a Parent Workshop on How To Parent Through BIG Feelings in Beverly on April 4th. It is free, but space is limited so click here and register soon! If you want to get notified as I schedule workshops in other locations so you can add some new tools to your parenting toolbox and get your most pressing parent questions answered, click here to sign up.
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