How often do we see parents reaching out to slap their child for his behavior instead of hearing the child out? Often, I’m sure! Why; even we are sometimes guilty of reacting instead of responding.
It’s easier and spontaneous to REACT, while it takes patience and a deep understanding of your own child to RESPOND.
However, what happens is that when we react, we are unconsciously putting up a wall between us and our child. The child, who gets punished and shouted at once, will think twice before coming to the parent either with a complaint or with concern.
We REACT not just to our child’s mischief but also to what we perceive as mischief. So for example, you are at your child’s school and the teacher says that your child was caught sleeping in class or talking to his friends in class; your immediate reaction would be to look at your child and say; “Stupid kid, why can’t you pay attention? Why are you so naughty? I should punish you.” You will then go on to tell the teacher to punish your child.
What you could so instead ask your child, “Were you sleepy? Did you not get enough sleep at night? What happened? Maybe you should have asked mam for permission to go wash your face.” Or “Was there something important for you to tell your friend? Would it not have been better to wait till the class got over to talk more freely? Don’t you think what you did was wrong!”
What happens with the second approach is that your child will be more willing to open up to you and to reach out to you when he is in trouble or needs help. You are opening up and keeping open all means of communication with your child. Isn’t that what we aim for… a transparent communication channel between our parents and our children!!!
REACTION spoils the situation while RESPONSE enables a better and deeper understanding. So RESPOND…do not REACT!!!