Respond, Don’t React


Choose to respond and control your emotions by starting with a pause.

A reaction is an immediate, emotional response to an event that has just occurred. There is no time to gather one’s thoughts or to bring emotions under control. Consequently, many times the reaction is irrational, disproportionate, and ineffective as a teachable moment.

A pattern of emotional reactions to problems can destroy a family’s culture of communication and trust in one another. It makes it far less likely that our children will trust that they can bring their problems to us and seek out our help.

If we regularly react rather than respond to difficult situations, we are teaching our children to do the same thing. (Remember, the awesome power of example.)

To respond requires that we PAUSE and take a moment to formulate a less emotional and more rational response to the situation. By taking time to gather our thoughts, we allow ourselves to be more intentional in the way we address a particular situation.

Responding creates a positive culture of communication within the family, a culture built on trust. Choose to respond rather than to react. It’s easier said than done, but it is possible.

Where you begin:

I. Pause

  • Stop, gather your thoughts, remove the emotion and then respond — optimize the teachable moment.
  • Fight the urge to react. Bite your tongue if need be.
  • Be intentional in the way you respond. This is an opportunity to teach.

II. Common Language

  • Don’t forget your family’s common language – your values. It will give you guidance when you respond.

III. I’m Sorry

  • Reacting is inevitable. It is human nature, but when it does happen, say “I’m Sorry,” and hit the restart button to respond the way you should have.

IV. You Are The Example

  • The way you respond or react is providing the example you will see in your children.

Start with a Pause: Respond, don’t React

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