Are You Using This Power?

In her book Bringing Up Bébé, the author Pamela Druckerman talks about *Le Pause—*The Pause—as the secret to French parenting. Druckerman describes it in the context of sleep training, but le pause can actually be a great strategy for parents in all facets of their kids’ lives.

When your son trips and falls, do you need to rush over? Or can you pause, and let him figure out how hurt he is first, whether he wants or needs to cry?

When your daughter comes over and starts to tell you something, do you have to complete her sentences? Or can you pause, and let her struggle with the words and work through what she is trying to say?

When your teenager announces that they are quitting the basketball team, do you have to start arguing right away? Or can you pause, and listen to their reasons and what they want to do instead?

When your kid home from college scratches the car, what if you didn’t get upset? Can you pause, and consider how it was almost certainly not intentional?

The famous psychiatrist and philosopher Viktor Frankl talked about how between stimulus and response, there’s a space. “In that space is our power to choose our response,” he said. As parents, we have to use that space. We have to choose our responses wisely, not reflexively. We have to suspend judgment, listen, and think things over. We have to practice le pause.

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