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Home » Positive Ways to Talk and Listen »

Pause and Think Out Loud (Before You Say No)

Girl: Can I have a sleepover? Mom: I need five minutes to think about it.

Pause. Then, Consider Your Child's Idea

"Just taking the time to stop and consider your child's idea can make an enormous difference. And don't be afraid to be wrong. Kids love correcting their parents. There is an enormous pressure parents feel to 'be right' and that's just not necessary."

Michael Thompson, Ph.D.

Co-author, Raising Cain,Senior Project Advisor

Give yourself a moment to think about what your child is asking. Even if your final answer will still be "No," you might say, "Let me think about what you're saying for a minute and get back to you."

Pause to consider your child's question. This forces you to slow down and helps you not to make a snap judgment, even if the answer is, "No, we are not getting a bunny." Pausing makes your child feel heard, because you have stopped to consider her opinion; it also diminishes the chances of a power struggle.

Share your thinking out loud. Your children will enjoy being included in your thought processes. If your child asks for a sleep over, you might say, "I know you want a sleep over, but your grandmother may want to see you this weekend when she visits. Let me talk to her." In this way your child knows how you arrive at your decision.

NEXT: Accept the Feelings

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