The Power of a Pause Button

I can still vividly remember the first time I saw a commercial for TiVo (the orginal DVR). My mind was blown. I simply couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that I could pause live television; that while watching a football game, I could stop the action when the ball was in mid-air, go grab a snack from the fridge, plop back down on the couch and hit play….and the action would resume right where I left off. Whaaaaat?

The ability for the pause button to stop live action changed our television viewing habits forever.

I’d like to encourage you to begin using the pause button as you parent. Hitting pause allows you to stop the live action for a moment or two (even a day or two) and pick up where you left off at better time. The pause button shouldn’t be used as an avoidance technique, but rather a tool in your parenting tool box to reduce the number of times you say something in haste, react in the heat of the moment, or feel pressured to make a quick decision that actually requires a bit more time.

When you are in a heated discussion with your teenager, and you feel the temperature rising…hit pause. Say something like, “Son, let’s take a 5 minute break on this topic because it feels like it’s headed a direction neither of us want it to go.”

When you are feeling pressured to give your child an answer to an opportunity they presented to you 2-seconds ago…hit pause. Say something like, “This is a big decision, so let’s not make a hasty one right now. I know we can’t wait too long, but let’s give ourselves a few hours to chew on it. This way we all more likely to feel good about the decision we make.” 

I often say that nothing on the planet causes more knee-jerk reactions than raising kids. Reacting is part of parenting. But I’ve noticed over the years that in the heat of the moment, the best way to react is often by hitting the pause button.