We often tell people what to do, rather than just showing them. We say to our kids, “That’s not a good choice” or, “Just calm down!” Here’s the thing: Never in the history of telling someone to “calm down” has “calm down” ever worked.
Telling someone how to behave is never, ever as powerful or transformative as showing them what you want from them.
Think about the last time you told your kid to just “calm down!” How effective was that? What was their response?
The hope, when we yell or hiss “Calm down!” at our kids they will, indeed calm down. The hope is they might even look at us and say, “Oh, you’re right, dad, I didn’t realize that I was losing my mind. You always know just how to get me to calm down. I’m just so glad that you know how to parent so well.” Think about it from a relationship standpoint. I can testify that never in the history of my spouse telling me to “calm down” has “calm down” ever worked. But we continue to do this with everyone, including kids, all the time.