Parenting Tip: Relax – Don't Do It – When You Want To Get to It


Refrain from responding to your child's misbehavior in the heat of the moment.

What do the lyrics of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s one hit wonder have to do with parenting? I teach couples all the time to take a time-out when they get upset with each other. I tell them that they can not get anything resolved when upset. So take some time to cool off and pray. Then come back to the table to discuss how to resolve the conflict.

Why don’t I teach this more to parents? We parents need to use this same rule with our kids. When our kids disobey (and especially when they embarrass us), we need to call a time-out before we decide on any kind of punishment or resolution to a conflict. In the heat of the moment we are going to come up with absurd and unhealthy consequences for our children’s negative behavior.

Recently I got all worked up with my son Cole and I did not take a time-out before coming up with his consequence. In the heat of the moment I grounded “from life” for one month. That’s right, my exact words were, “You’re grounded from life for at least a month!” What horrible act would cause for such a consequence, you ask? As I’m writing this post I truly can not even remember what it was that he did to cause me to lay down that consequence. How pathetic of a parent am I (don’t answer this question)?

I did eventually come to my senses and spoke with Amy about the consequence I laid out for Cole. After she stopped laughing at me and mocking my poor parenting skills, she helped me see that one day was sufficient of a consequence. Take a time-out. You’ll save yourself a lot of grief from your spouse, and oh yeah, you might actually parent better as well.

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