Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Action vs. REaction

I have always been a highly reactive person. No wonder I was dubbed Sarah Burnheart as a child by my mother. I was so full of drama and overly reacted to nearly everything. Now as an adult, I'm finally understanding how annoying that must have been for my mother.....since my own daughter has adopted my reactive response to everything in life as well.

Given that I have unknowingly passed this trait onto my daughter, I hope to now curb it.....and the only way to do that is to be more conscious of my own behavior and not react to every little thing my children do that upsets me. This is a difficult task as one might imagine. I need to go back and retrain and recondition myself to take a more laid back and nonreactive approach to dealing with my kids. They are afterall only modeling the behaviors they witness on a daily basis. And if I'm overreacting to them, they will only overreact to me and everything else that happens in their life.

How do I go about this? Lots of deep, deliberate breathing, emotional preparation for situations that may arise throughout the day and mental methods of coping appropriately. Not easy....especially when there are a million things going on at once. It's not always easy to remember to use my calm voice and not punctuate everything with my hands.

Instead, I have been trying more to ACT. If I don't want my children to do something, I try to DO "no" instead of SAY "no". An example would be if my son isn't getting his way at the store because I won't buy him something that he wants......instead of saying "no", I gently take the toy away, put it back on the shelf and walk away. He will usually follow, crying, but he'll follow because he doesn't want to lose me. No words are necessary, a child's need to stay securely near their parent is motivation enough for them to keep up. I also try to prepare my children ahead of time so they know what to expect when we enter a store, such as doing a return vs. browsing the aisles vs. looking for something specific. That way, they know it's not a free for all and we are at the store for a specific reason and once we have fulfilled the goal, we are leaving. It works most times.

It's amazing what we pick up from our parents and then pass onto our kids......it's not just genetics; it's behaviors, too. Life is not so troubling that we must create more stress through our reactions to things. Reacting to a stressful situation only gives that stress more power and control. Life is best when it's free of worry, fear and anxiety. Breathe!

Until next time.....

Thanks for reading!


  1. Thanks for this insightful post. Especially that last line...

  2. You're welcome, Celeste. This fast paced world makes it so hard to remember to relax and breathe. It's so nice though when we take the time to do it though.