Reacting vs. Responding

Have you ever really taken the time to think about how you address your kids? Do you react or respond? Do you know the difference? Knowing the difference is crucial to improving your communication experience with your children. Reacting is what we do when we just want to get our kids away from us. I am so guilty of reacting. Right this minute I am trying to write this blog post, and if my son came up to me I would probably give him a reaction instead of a response. I wouldn’t be worried about WHY he needed me, I’d only be worried about getting him back involved in what he was doing before he came to talk to me. Here are some examples of reactions vs responses to prove my point- how many times have you said these today?

React:  “Stop crying right now!”         
Response: “You look upset, whats wrong?”

React: “What?! You spilled your drink again?!”
Response:   “Uh oh! Here, help me clean up that spill” 

React: “A D+? What is wrong with you?”
Response: “I can see you are struggling in math, how can I help?”

React: “Stop that whining!!”
Response: Use a calm voice when you ask for something.”

React: “I am finished with you. I have had it.”
Response: “I’m getting frustrated, I need to take a minute to calm down.”
I would be willing to bet at least half of us are on the “react” side of things. And that’s okay. Mom’s are learning too, and there are a million different ways to “mom” right. Take a little extra time this week and think about how you can respond instead of react to situations. The Child Mind Institute says that when we yell or react, we are missing out on the positive. “When yelling is the chronic mode of communication, both children and parents are missing out on the chance to form positive, affectionate bonds. And for kids predisposed to anxiety and depression, internalizing these negative interactions may be the tipping point. Meanwhile, blowouts can leave parents feeling guilty, frustrated and demoralized. Adults who express anger in negative ways increase their chronic stress, which contributes to health problems.”

Avoid the blowouts as much as you can, nobody is perfect, so don’t get discouraged!!

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