How a Pause Can Create Space for our Children to Learn from Natural Consequences

My 6’2″, 200-ish pound husband fell into the dishwasher the other night.

{Yeah…it sounded crazy when he first told me, too.}

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Long story short, he was plating our kiddos’ dinner. One of them opened the dishwasher to put away a dish, then stepped away to ask a question…and….

BAM!!!

Plates.

Food.

Everything flew all over the kitchen as my husband took a step backwards not realizing the dishwasher was open.

The kids were in shock!

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After seeing their father take a few deep breaths to compose his level of frustration, the kiddo that made the mistake asked if he was okay and apologized for not closing the dishwasher door.

Clean up ensued, a conversation on safety happened and all was well in the Stampley world.

The morning after…

I was taking dishes out of the dishwasher and the same kiddo said, “Mommy, please make sure you close it when you’re done. If not, someone can get hurt. I almost hurt daddy last night.”

Let me tell you – I was one proud wife and mommy, you hear me?! Why?

  1. The lesson was learned with a natural consequence.

  2. No relationships were compromised by yelling, fussing, punishing, timeout, guilt, shame, etc.

  3. Kiddo expressed empathy, concern, made amends and is now sharing the safety tip with others.

….and all is still well in the Stampley world.

Now, can I say that I would have been able to handle this situation with the same poise that my husband did? I sure would hope so. Nevertheless, I do feel challenged to continue to prioritize pausing before responding and to being mindful that my initial response does not absolve me of the responsibility to consider it’s impact on others, including my children.

The bottom line…

There is power in a pause. When we create space between our children’s behavior and our reactions, oftentimes, they fill it with their own learning – rather than us doing the thinking for them.


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