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From Reacting to Responding: The Power of Pause in Parenting

May 08, 2024

Ever had one of those days where it feels like your little ones are pushing every single button you have? Trust me, you’re not alone. Whether it’s refusing to put on their shoes or a full blow meltdown in the supermarket, kids sure know how to test our patience.

But before you react in the heat of the moment, what if you could hit the pause button on your emotions? That’s what we are looking into today – moving from reactive parenting to responsive parenting by harnessing the power of the pause.

What is the pause?

The pause is that micro moment when you choose to step back mentally, breathe and evaluate the situation before responding. It’s a timeout for adults, and it can change the game.

Why the pause is a game changer.

  • Awareness: It makes you aware of your emotions, giving you a chance to acknowledge them without letting them control you.
  • Choice: Instead of acting on impulse, you get to choose how to respond to your child’s behaviour.
  • Clarity: A pause provides clarity and can help you differentiate between your child’s needs and wants.

How to implement the pause.

  1.  Count to five

When a situation escalates, count to five silently in your head before responding. This brief gap can provide you with invaluable emotional distance.

  1.  Deep Breath

Inhale deeply and exhale fully. The act of intentional breathing can centre your thoughts and calm your emotions.

  1.  The Mantra

Recite a mantra or affirmation like “This too shall pass” or “I am in control of my actions”. Keep it short and meaningful.

  1.  Visualise

Picture a calm scenario, like a beach or field. The imagery can act as a mental reset button.

  1.  Reengage

Once you’ve taken your pause, you’re more equipped to address the situation in a calm and rational manner.


Your Reflection Corner

What mantra or affirmation can you come up with that will help you the most in challenging situations?

Can you recall a recent parenting situation where taking a pause could have made a difference? What would you do differently?


The power of the pause is real, my friends. It transforms us from firefighters rushing to put out emotional blazes, into architects thoughtfully building the emotional space our children live in.

Let’s give ourselves that grace, the gift of a moment, to turn our reactions into thoughtful responses. Because that’s where the magic of parenting truly lies.

Until next time,


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