This is so easy to say and a little bit harder to do because we are often trying to parent against a style of parenting we were raised with. So, this doesn't seem natural.
This one little powerful tool can improve your relationship with your small children, with adult children, with your spouse, with co-workers, with your in-laws. Here's how it works.
- When someone is angry or frustrated they are in an emotional state of stress that takes brain activity to the brain stem. The brain stem is reactive. It deals with "fight or flight." Brain stem mode is a bad place to be when two human beings need to communicate,
- Training yourself to lead with SINCERE empathy in stressful situations actually triggers your brain and the other person's brain into moving thought from the brain stem to the frontal lobe. That's where problem solving and rational thought take place.
- Getting into the habit of using one empathetic phrase makes this whole process easier because you (the person in control of their own brain) are less likely to engage the other person in a battle of wits or words that will only escalate "fight or flight." My favorite is a simple, "Oh Man!" but almost any neutral phrase will work if it is said with sincere empathy.
- Don't even let yourself go to sarcasm. Stop. I know! Just don't do it!
Here's a link from Love and Logic to check out: The Instant Empathetic Response