f one of my boys does something upsetting, I sometimes overreact. I say too much, too quickly, and expect too much of a just-right response from them. In my wiser moments, along with using the two-pronged approach that I wrote about yesterday, I remember one of the few parenting acronyms that I use--'WAIT' and ask myself, 'Why Am I Talking?'
Such a simple question, right? But also a good one. There are lots of reasons that we talk as parents, and many of them have nothing to do with true communication.
WAIT brings us back to a sense of purpose. What is my purpose here? If I realize that I'm talking to let my son know what I'm upset, I can probably serve my purpose best by saying one or two clear things rather than twenty minutes of scolding.
If I'm talking because I'm caught up in my emotions, I would be more effective if I took care of myself for a while.
If I'm talking because I want to teach my son something important, I need to remember that teaching happens when someone is receptive. Being short and sweet is more likely to work than being long-winded and cranky!
What do you think of WAIT? Let me know how it goes if you try it.
My life and work are guided by the these core understandings: that all beings (including me!) are capable of transformation and joy, that healthy parenting matters profoundly, and that simple practices can support each of us.