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Why “Stop it!” Doesn’t Work

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I’d HAD it! I was sick of this aggravating behavior, day after day. I stopped in my tracks, glared at the little one who was driving me crazy, and yelled at the top of my lungs, “STOP IT!!”

Do you relate to this? Has this happened in your home? It happened in ours.

But this wasn’t an incident from my early parenting of three crazy kids, it was this spring, and the little offender was a red-winged blackbird.

Seriously. I screamed at… a BIRD.

I just wanted to stop his relentless dive bombing of my head every time I ran by the marsh on my morning jog!

Standing there on the trail, I felt angry, but a bit foolish. It was just like when my children were young, and I had screamed “Stop it!” at one of my kids, somehow thinking it was really going to solve anything.

As I jogged on, I realized my anger at this bird was a cover for feeling helpless to do anything about my problem: I was lacking the very things I had needed when I yelled at one of my kids—perspective and a plan. As I continued running, I had time to develop both before I passed him on my way back.

Perspective: I could feel my anger fade into understanding as I embraced the truth, “He’s just being a really good daddy defending his babies.”

Plan: If I picked up a stick and waved it slowly over my head as I approached, it would keep him away without hurting him.

It all worked flawlessly.

After finishing my run, I reflected on times I had approached parenting challenges with perspective and a plan. Even in crazy, difficult situations, I began to feel peaceful and empowered as I responded in ways that I knew were building the values and skills my kids would need for life.  I also realized how grateful I am now for the opportunity to offer parents perspective and a plan for those aggravating discipline challenges with their kids.

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Lynne Jackson
Lynne Jackson
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