This article was originally posted on November 1, 2010, to Happy Parents = Happy Kids (focusedonparenting.wordpress.com) by Susan Guttridge
This summer, my 6 year old daughter told me that I was a ‘no parent’. When I asked her what she meant, she told me that I say “no” all the time. Could this have been true? I was quite sure that I was a balanced parent – with an equal share of “yes’s” and “no’s”! However, because my daughter was quite adamant that I was in fact a ‘no parent’, I decided to check it out for myself. To keep track and deepen my self-awareness, I used an index card, with the word ‘no’ on one side and ‘yes’ on the other.
What the process did for me was increase my self-awareness. Was my ‘no’ response simply a knee-jerk reaction, or was there a good reason for me to say ‘no’ to my daughter’s request? By the end of the day, I realized that I was in fact a very balanced parent, and the score card opened up a great dialog between my daughter and I about expectations.
If you would like to increase self-awareness about a particular behaviour, try using the score card technique! It doesn’t have to just be used to increase awareness of ‘yes/no’ responses. If you are learning to better handle your anger, keep score on when you handle anger well (staying calm), and when you lose your cool. You can then use the score card to better understand what is going on for you when you are able to stay calm in the face of frustration – and hopefully learn to build on these moments!
What helps you to stay present, to pause before responding? Type your ideas to the comments and let’s all learn from each other.
Susan Guttridge is a trauma-informed Master level Counsellor with the clinical designation of Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCPA). She has 20+ years experience providing individual and group therapy.