Originally posted 8/7/13
What is it about babies and TV remotes? I know that we were not the only family to take an old remote and make it a toy so that our babies had their own, while leaving the functioning remote for mom and dad (in theory that should have worked). In fact, the remote had such an impact on our kids that when it was time to learn the number 11, we had to explain it was a number and did not mean “pause”.
Being able to “push pause” is something that takes a lot of practice, especially if you are in the heat of the moment. It can be a very powerful tool in identifying and addressing emotions as they are happening.
Last week while getting ready for school, my son said that he wanted to walk to school. My daughter protested and wanted to be dropped off. They knew that we could do one or the other. I asked, “Who should make the decision?” They both replied “You.” I said, “You realize that one of you is going to be disappointed, right?”
I was in a no-win situation. I chose to walk and braced myself for what was to come. Of course, my daughter was upset and took off walking ahead of us. I asked her to stop and wait for us. I knew that this was a push pause moment. When we caught up, I said “Are you sure this is how you want to start your day? Are you sure that you want to go to school mad just because we are walking? I don’t think that is how you want to start your day.” Her reply was “But walking is so boring! At least in the car there is music.” So, I got out my phone, she picked a song and we listened to music as we walked. Three blocks later, she was helping her brother cross the street and was ready to take him to class. Her bad mood was diffused, and she was back on track to starting the day on a positive note.
The biggest challenge is being able to stop in the moment and identify when to hit the pause button. Most emotional outbursts happen while you are in the middle of something else (walking out the door, making dinner, doing homework). It takes a lot of practice to bring everything to a halt and address the root cause of what is happening. In many situations you might not be able to stop in the moment. Later in the day you may look back and think, I should have paused that situation. That’s ok, just identifying it, knowing that you could have “pushed pause” is a step in the right direction.
I want to know what you think, have you been successful in pausing a situation to diffuse an emotional outburst? Is there another tactic that you’ve used that works for you? Leave a comment below or send me an email, I’d love to hear your successes/challenges in these situations.
Don’t miss a post – sign up to receive the blog in your inbox every week. Scroll to the top of the page and you’ll see a box to enter your email in the upper right side of the page.
Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.