The Sit Down – An Alternative Approach to Blowing Up Or Shutting Down

When today’s parents were kids or when our parents were kids children might have been told occasionally to sit down and shut up. The idea that children are to be seen and not heard is one that still creeps into families even when parents try their hardest to respect their children.

There may also be a tendency on the adult’s part to say things we’d later regret, take actions that are not in line with our values, or in some other way blow up.

Here’s a new and refreshing look at the idea of sitting down (and blowing up). Your children will love it (or at least it will be a new twist and they’ll be pleasantly surprised).

Scene set up: The house is a mess (or on its way to a mess), the children are having way too much fun doing things that you find irritating, you have too much to do, you’re tired – maybe even not feeling well, and maybe you have company coming over.

The usual action: Yell, complain, get angry, cry, feel hopeless, say something you’d feel bad about later, etc.

The replacement action: Sit down. In the middle of the room. And just sit there. Breathe deeply and if you need to cry go ahead. Follow your breath and allow it to cleanse you of the moment’s overwhelm. Welcome your children to examine and crawl on you as you simply sit down. Keep breathing. When you decide you can move past this moment and return to doing what you need to do ask yourself, the Creator, or the Universe silently what your next step should be. Listen to the answer – it’s likely to be very simple and something you can follow that will help you maintain the release and peace you just created for yourself and your child(ren).

What you’re doing: Making a powerful choice to change a potential nasty situation into an exercise in patience, love, and presence.

What can stop you from trying this: Thinking about what other people think and thinking that you don’t have enough time. To those thoughts you can simply say – what other people think doesn’t matter – this is my life I’m living and there actually is plenty of time and my time is much better spent this way than all stressed out.

Potential results: You transform a potential blow up into an opportunity for reflection, relaxation, emotional responsibility, positive modeling, and connection.

So… have a sit down!

Click here for an audio meditation of the Sit Down.

The Sit Down is part of Navigating Emotions for Parents — an ebook collection of exercises to help parents meet emotions in new ways.

If you are experiencing anger more often than you’d like or find the intensity to be hindering your relationship with your child and/or others around you, here are some additional resources that may help…


Are you struggling as a parent? If so, I’d like to share something with you: a story and some hope. If you would like to change how you respond when parenting feels intense, I invite you to consider this ebook or challenge.

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