The skill: Give yourself time to think

Robin Booth
A free video tutorial from Robin Booth
International Parenting Expert, Coach and School Principal
4.5 instructor rating • 8 courses • 20,281 students

Lecture description

Nearly all parenting problems are caused by one of two things:

  1. We act without thinking
  2. We think without acting

When we are put into situations of being rushed, we tend to make decisions that are not well thought out or appropriate.

So instead of making a decision, and then frequently changing your mind later on, learn this skill on how to give yourself time to think.

I am sure the last thing you wish for is a child who just keeps nagging because they know you will just change your mind later on.

Learn more from the full course

Alternatives to saying "No! Don't, Stop!" without giving in

Moving from surviving to thriving by putting in place any type of boundary, in any place at any time, with all ages.

02:29:38 of on-demand video • Updated March 2018

  • How to say NO! in a way that is respectful and empowering.
  • What to say instead of "Don't do that! Stop it!" that actually makes them feel good about themselves.
  • A section just for skills to use with toddlers.
  • A section focused on how to say NO when it comes to money.
  • Put in place a range of boundaries without giving in to your children.
  • Unlock the resentment and sour faces when you say NO to your children.
  • How to get their children to come up with their own solutions instead of complaining how unfair you are.
  • Get your child to stop doing what you don't want them to do, without angry fights and guilty feelings of punishment.
  • Be able to pinpoint why you say NO, understand what need of yours you are protecting, and how to transform that into everyday breakthroughs.
  • Use emotionally intelligent skills that only therapists use because no one knows how to teach them.
English [Auto] Give yourself time to think all parenting problems are often caused by one or two things. We act without thinking or we think without acting some way deep inside many parents is the belief that they should be the heroes for their children and have an answer to every question that is asked of them. Some parents also believe their children won something and they don't quickly say no and put a boundary in place then their children will keep looking for a weakness and keep whining and persisting until they get what they are wanting. Many years back when I was a primary school principal the learners frequently asked me for things. Sometimes it was to change a school rule or to let them go out early on that day or even if they could paint a whole school building and in most cases the first thought that came into my mind was Are you kidding me. There is no way that that is going to happen. Luckily I could use some of the skills we have already covered. I used describing the challenge. The challenge is is that if you leave the school early then all the other students will also want to go home early or I use that substituting a yes for no. Yes you can paint the school building as long as you are supervised by a teacher and fundraise to cover the pain cost by yourselves. But there were times when I just couldn't see a way to make it. Yes all the reaction inside of me was so deep that an answer of no seemed like the only possibility. But I soon realized that I was only saying no to many of these things because at that moment I just could not see a possible solution or for some reason I felt rushed that I still had to give them an answer right away. I needed some more time to think what would happen if I spend some time thinking about a possible alternative solution. Maybe I could find a creative way. Maybe if I slipped on the problem a new solution could surface and then I would be able to turn that no into a yes but I needed time. So in that moment the skill of giving yourself time to think was born. So instead of just closing down the request can I sleep over least tonight. No that doesn't sound like a good idea. Give yourself time to think. Can I sleep over tonight. Let me think about that. I will let you know my decision in 30 minutes. Now if you can put yourself in your childs shoes again imagine that you have just asked for something and your parents says no. Let me think about this for a while. At that moment there is still hope. Maybe it will work. Maybe mom will make it happen. So as a child you wait with anticipation and you keep waiting but your parent doesn't say anything. Twenty minutes goes past 40 minutes goes past. Maybe they have forgotten so you ask again but now they are irritated with you for asking. I told you I needed to think about this but this doesn't help you want to know the answer now. So the key to using this skill really successfully is ensuring your child knows by when you will get back to them with your answer. Let me think about this and I'll let you know in 30 minutes. Of course you can make the time longer. My suggestion is that you do not make it longer than 24 hours and if you don't have an answer in 24 hours then at that time you can just let them know that you still don't have an on site and that you will get back to them in a further 24 hours. At a core level you are demonstrating to your child that you are taking the request seriously and that you have not forgotten about what they are wanting. Although this point upon getting back to them may seem small and trivial. It is actually the most important part of the skill. So instead of can you buy me this toy as my early birthday present. No we did that last year and you complained later that we did not get you a present on your actual birthday. Give yourself a chance to think. Let me think about it. I know we did this last year and I want to carefully think about it again. I will let you know by tomorrow morning after I have chatted to dad as well. OK. At first many parents shared with me that they thought this skill was best use when they didn't want to hurt their child's feelings by just saying no. They wanted to use the skill not to think about how to make it work but about how to let them down gently. So even though they said Let me think about it the children came to understand that the statement was just a way to postpone saying no till later. Let me think about it all you know shortly that just means no I'd rather you just said no. When I heard this I suddenly realized that these parents had not understood the real power of the skill. The skill is not to postpone the saying of no it is a request for some time to really think about how this could be turned into a yes. When I say to a child let me think about this. I put all of my energy into looking for a solution that I can see at this moment. I want to give this my best chance and see if I can find a creative way to make it work. I can see how to make it work. But let me think about it and see if there might be a way I'll get back to you in 30 minutes. It can take time to find creative solutions for you and your child's needs to be met. So why rush it. This is a powerful skill that is often the rush to answer the question that brings out the old patterns of negative statements. I love the sharing of one parent who can add onto the skill set by explaining that she often found herself rushed into making decisions. Either she was too busy cooking or checking homework or multitasking a whole lot of other things. And when her children asked her for something because her mind was focused on something else it was just easier to say no. But this didn't really help. As a few minutes later when she had finished her tasks she realized that she had rushed her answer and now wanted to change her mind to a face so she invented the skill of. I'll answer all your questions in a minute. So instead of shutting down the conversation and just say no can I go to a mixed party. Maybe I can sleep there. Or you can drop me off. No there's too much going on at the moment. Maybe next time she said I will answer all of your questions in one minute. Then she could give herself and her daughter her full attention. If you find yourself saying no to one moment and then change your mind the next because you hadn't thought it through carefully. You are in effect training your child that all they need to do is keep asking you and they will eventually get what they want. A child who continuously nags has learned that at some point their parent will give in and change their mind. So they have learned that nagging will get them what they want. But the skill of giving yourself time to think increases the chances that your decisions will be intelligent and therefore more appropriate and enduring. Take a look at your list. I'm sure you can use this skill in each and every situation where your child asks you for something. Just remember to also include by when you will get back to them with an answer.