You would be surprised how much good can result when a parent counts to 10 before responding to a child, especially in a tense situation, according to child behavior specialist Betsy Brown Braun.
When such a situation arises, pause. Don’t react. Don’t say anything. Avoid making any immediate threats, judgments, or punishments. Just wait.
The space created by that pause will help you think about your response, and will lessen the likelihood of a “misfire” on your part that could compound the problem.
It is not uncommon for parents who are quick on the trigger to regret what came out in that first rush of reaction.
Hasty judgments, harsh consequences, or dire threats are very hard to take back once they’ve been delivered.
For that reason, it is far better to head them off before they are said out loud.
The simple act of pausing and counting to 10 can buy the time necessary to react appropriately.
The pause can help a parent get closer to a response that is deliberate and wise.
So take a breath, count to 10, and use that time to think through what you really want to say and how you really want to react. It will make most situations much easier to handle.