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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Over-reacting vs under-reacting

Many years ago, a family moved into our neighborhood and they attended the same church as my family.  This family consisted of a mom and dad and six children, including 13 year old twin boys.  These boys were tall, smart and handsome...and totally out of control.  They caused teachers to quit in tears.  They disrupted each and every activity they were involved in.  Their peers loved their antics and the adults shuddered when they entered a room.

I was in the foyer of our church one Sunday, taking care of my toddler and one of the twins came up to me and said something I'll never forget.  He said, "I like you.  You don't put up with our crap."  From this boy, that was quite a compliment.  :)

Children like attention and often will go to extreme lengths to get it. They seem to know just what "buttons" to push to get a reaction from us.  The best way to deal with this?  Instead of over-reacting, try under-reacting.  This will throw them off guard.  You're not ignoring them.  You're just not responding in a way they anticipate, defuses the situation, and puts you in control (at least of you).

Next time your child does something to intentionally provoke you, try under-reacting and see how he responds.  It won't be what he's expecting and you'll be surprised how quickly he realizes that he doesn't have the power over you that he thought he had.  It's a very liberating feeling.  :)


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