Sunday, April 08, 2012

More on Preflection and Pausing

The other night my husband and I had a long conversation about parenting, specifically about reacting in anger (something I do with my daughters much more often than I would like to admit). My big takeway from our discussion was to continue to think about why we react in anger (we being all adults) and what we hope to gain from it.

The more I think about it the more I believe that when we react in anger people don't hear us. I think that is true whether we are talking to children or to adults. Think about it, when someone is yelling at you, are you truly able to hear what they are saying or do you just respond to the emotions involved?

There may be short term reasons for reacting in anger, such as if a child is doing something dangerous and needs to be stopped quickly. However, if we are hoping for long term learning and changes in behavior or thinking then we are more likely to be successful if we respond more gently and thoughtfully.

The challenge, for me at least, is to remember this and employ the preflection in which I so strongly believe. Responding in anger when I am frustrated is natural. Pausing, thinking, and then responding is harder, but the only way I can focus on the long term.


Sue VanHattum said...

I definitely have the same struggle here. (My son is 9.)

Michael said...

I totally agree that anger does not help. As a substitute teacher I never yell, but once in a long while I get a student who doesn't respond to me. What to do then?

luckeyfrog said...

Our counselor is using a strategy with one of my kids.

Stop- realize you're letting anger take over, and stop yourself.
Think- think about the options for reacting that you have, and what their consequences will be
Act- act in a way that is respectful to yourself and others.

It's really helping him... most days!

I always have to figure out what works. I have one student who needs me to raise my voice a little for her to pay attention to it. I have another student that shuts down if I raise my voice at all. The motivations are so different for every kid!

Jenny said...

Sue, there is something so reassuring in knowing that others face the same struggles. Thank you.

Michael, that question is so much more complicated as a substitute because you don't really know the students. I think that your response depends upon what you mean when you say a student isn't responding to you, if they are not doing anything dangerous and are not too disruptive (that line in the sand is up to you, of course)then my vote would be to ignore the issue in that moment. Then, hopefully, to follow up with a conversation when you and the student are not the center of everyone's attention. If they are dangerous or too disruptive, it's a whole other issue.

luckeyfrog, I may have to try that Stop, Think, Act strategy for myself! I have students who could benefit as well, but it sounds good for me.