When we react emotionally to our kids’ behavior, we create unnecessary drama in ours lives.

You are watching: Pick up the gauntlet

In Hal Runkel’s book, ScreamFree Parenting, the warns united state not to pick up the gauntlets our children throw under at our feet.

A “gauntlet” to be a glove worn by knights in middle ages times. As soon as one items threw his gauntlet down, that signified an invite to a duel. If the other knight picked it up, he shown that he welcomed the challenge.


Our kids invite united state into conflict all the time, yet that doesn’t median we need to accept.

It’s not that your children want come fight with you. They desire to make sure they deserve to trust you. They shot again and again in countless different methods to validate this trust. They ask themselves, “If I lose it, will Mom shed it, too? If she does, then who will be in control?” and also “If no one is in control, then how deserve to I feel safe?”

Here’s an instance of a gauntlet: years ago, once Dalia was three, she told me she want to take it gymnastics course like her large sister, Marissa. Like countless kids, both of my girls adjusted their minds about such things…oh, every 5 minutes or so. For that reason, i made sure Dalia took a psychological class.

She love it! She jumped ~ above the trampoline, did somersaults, walked on the balance beam, and also came out of the class smiling and talking about all the funny she had had. Once she told me that she wanted me to sign her up because that the class, we agreed the she would take eight classes, after which she can decide even if it is or not she wanted to continue.

The following week, in a whimper, Dalia said: “Mommy! i don’t want to walk to gymnastics!”

A gauntlet! walk I choose it up? No way!

I can have very easily, though. I can have said, “WHAT?! room you kidding me? we talked around this already! you love gymnastics! Remember last week exactly how much fun you had? I already paid for eight classes and also you’re going whether you prefer it or not!”

Instead, ns took a deep breath. I calmly reminded her the she i agree to take it the eight classes. Then, in a matter-of-fact, but positive tone, ns reviewed all the things she walk the mainly before. I can see the wheels spinning in she mind together she quietly recalled she experiences. By the time we landed on the gym, she to be again excited and ready come play.

Dalia learned in that minute that she might trust me to follow through with our agreement and also that no lot of her whining would change that. She likewise learned that ns was no going to permit her to call the shots whenever she felt favor it.

Sounds simple, right? It’s not. It can be an extremely tempting to choose up the gauntlet and run through it. The can additionally feel very natural to come to be angry and also want to reaction by ignoring, shaming, or yelling.

But with practice, letting the gauntlet just lie over there on the floor if you continue to be calm and also connected come your child becomes easier and easier.

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What types of cases make friend the most reactive? What is your typical method of gaining reactive? have actually you ever resisted the temptation to pick up the gauntlet? What happened? Please sign up with the discussion and also leave a comment below.

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Hooray because that Pam & Dalia! I’ve likewise noticed that if you pick up the gauntlet and also have a conversation that keeps re-hashing the issue, the boy will get more & an ext upset. But arguing an alternate activity helps re-focus your attention. Favor if girlfriend can’t go to the park because it’s raining, and also you accomplish with resistance around that, rather of continuing to argue about the park and also the rain, suggest other points to execute like baking, the town hall a movie, play a plank game, etc. Indigenous my endure as one aunt, godmother, and also kids’ photographer, offering choices like this is helpful. It’s probably additionally to my benefit in those situations that I’m not a parent, due to the fact that it doesn’t cause the very same reactivity in me!