Pressing the Pause Button

One of the skills from the Parents Plus Parenting programmes which parents say makes the biggest difference in their family life is learning how to ‘press the pause button’. Essentially pressing the pause button means committing to something different, rather than repeating a negative pattern. This is what John Sharry and Carol Fitzpatrick, the authors of the programme, have to say about it.

Pressing the pause button

When faced with an ongoing problem it is easy to get caught in a pattern of reacting the same way each time. Sometimes our reactions may not be helpful and can even make the problem worse. A good idea is to press the pause button to think of a better way of responding.

1. Press the pause button

Take a step back 

  • Take a step back from how you normally react, especially if you find yourself getting angry or negative.

Be calm and respectful

  • Although hard to do in the heat of the moment, it is important to remain calm. When you remain in control you show your child how you want him to behave.
  • Take a pause and a gentle breath if you find yourself getting annoyed.

2. ‘Tune in’ to what is happening

Why children misbehave

  • Children misbehave for a whole variety of reasons, such as looking for attention, expressing frustration or hurt, or wanting to take control.
  • Sometimes it can occur as part of a battle of wills or a power struggle between you and your child when you both want your own way.
  • Sometimes misbehaviour occurs in an ongoing situation such as a child feeling jealous of a younger sibling or because a child is struggling at school.
  • Children with special needs may act out more simply because they do not have the same level of language and attention as their peers, or because they find specific situations difficult, for example, when their routine changes. Take time to tune in to your child’s stage of development

Example – ‘Tuning in’ during a tantrum

Rather than reacting if your son starts to throw a tantrum, pause and tune in to understand what he might be feeling so you can decide the best way to respond.

  • If your child is tired maybe he needs you to soothe him and help him take a break
  • If he is upset and frustrated maybe he needs you to appreciate his feelings and distract him with something else
  • If he is angry and wants to get his own way maybe it is best not to give in to him, to ignore his protests and wait until he calms down
  • If you are feeling stressed maybe it is best to pull back for a minute yourself and take a few deep breaths before returning to deal with him

3. Make a plan

  • Think ahead and make a plan about how you will deal with this problem
  • What is the best way to respond? What has worked well in the past?

You can find more useful tips and information from Parents Plus here https://www.parentsplus.ie/parents/tips-and-information/

Here is a great article from the Irish Times about the Parents Plus programmes https://www.parentsplus.ie/news/parents-plus-programmes-are-devised-for-and-with-irish-parents/

Pressing the pause button

 

In this extract from Parenting through Covid-19 – helpful hints to keep home life happy Sally Mooney from the Finn Valley Family Resource Centre talks about ‘ pressing the pause button’ – a technique that many parents find incredibly useful. Parenting through Covid-19 – helpful hints to keep home life happy is produced by the team at Finn Valley FRC and Springboard Family Support Project. You can download it at https://www.cypsc.ie/_fileupload/Documents/Resources/Donegal/FVFRC%20-%20Parenting%20through%20Covid%2019%20Booklet%202.pdf

Pressing the pause button

Pressing the pause button, what do we mean by this term? By pressing the pause button and taking a step back from moments of drama we get the

opportunity to see what’s really going on and then to consider the best way in which to deal with it. This results in a calmer parent which in turn leads to
a calmer child, hence improving family life for everyone.

Parenting takes the art of multi-tasking to a whole new level and sometimes, it can become all about getting things done and getting through the endless to-do-lists. This is especially the case now during unprecedented times of the Covid-19 crisis, when we as parents are trying to be all things to our children by filling in the missing gaps left by the absence of friends and teachers. This means at times we find ourselves reacting to our children with anger, frustration, or simple exhaustion.

By pressing the pause button we are taking a few moments to respond. This might mean taking a few breaths, walking into another room for a few minutes or if emotions are running particularly high, deciding to address the issue at a later time or when everyone has calmed down. By doing this we give ourselves time to acknowledge our own feelings and emotions, taking the time to think about how we are feeling and recognising that reacting in anger or frustration won’t help us or our children. Taking this time allows us to calm down and react with the patience, understanding and love that we as parents and our children need.

The Pause Button Technique is a really simple way to empower all parents no
matter what situation they find themselves in; it allows you to press your imaginary pause button, freeze time and consider the consequences of the actions you are about to take, before making a more informed, better choice.

The Parents Plus Parenting Programme states that: “rather than letting a problem happen over and over again, take time to pause and think about the best way to respond”. www.parentsplus.ie

Pause – Press the pause button
  • Take a step back from how you react.
  • Think calmly. What is the best way to respond?
Tune In – Tune in to what is happening
  • What is going on for your children? How are they feeling?
  • What is going on for you as a parent? How are you feeling?
Plan – Make a plan
  • What is the best way to respond?
  • What has worked well in the past?

For more great tips to keep family life happy have a look at the booklet

https://www.cypsc.ie/_fileupload/Documents/Resources/Donegal/FVFRC%20-%20Parenting%20through%20Covid%2019%20Booklet%202.pdf