Helping your kids choose their response

Emotions are a bitch. They make us who we are, but can certainly get in the way sometimes.

Have you ever wished you would have been more in control of your emotions? Have you ever wished you had chosen a better response?

Choosing responses has been a topic in our house as of late and I, for one, am glad it’s come up.

The details don’t matter — at least not as much as the fact that the situation that arose led to a discussion with our little one about choosing how you respond.

Stephen Covey said it best in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People when he wrote,

“Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.”

There is simplicity in that mindset. Yet, it’s so difficult for most of us adults — let alone kids — to maintain.

In the end, though, arming your child with the ability to choose their response is akin to gifting them a superpower in this day-and-age of knee-jerk responses and troll-like troublemakers.

Better yet — and if you’ve read anything I’ve written in the past you know I don’t take kindly to my daughters having to prove themselves over and again and work 2x harder than their male counterparts throughout their lives — teaching your child to choose their own responses gives them the ability to see through their emotions and act in the way you’ve raised them.

In our house, we want our girls to consistently act and make decisions based on the values of acting at all times strong, smart, and kind. When emotions come into play, values are kicked to the curb.

As mentioned at the outset of this post, emotions are a bitch. If we can help our children control them when they need to be controlled, then they have a power that can make only the most positive of differences.


Ben Larsen

Written by: Ben Larsen

Ben is one of the founders here at First Time Father Project. Follow Ben's trial-by-fire parenting here with columns, essays and more. Learn more about him here.

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