I’ve been thinking lately that I need to be slow to speak for another reason: I’m interfering with my children’s ability to solve their problems.
Typically, I hear a scream from a child, and my reaction is to come investigate immediately. After all, the screamer is not solving a problem correctly, and there is undoubtedly an instigator who has also done something wrong. They need correction! My suspicions are confirmed if I wait a second, because then I hear “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Now I know something happened, and I want to know what it was.
I am noticing that, if I can restrain myself, often (though not always), the screamer and teaser resolve their problem without my even coming in the room. I’m wondering whether delaying my response will help the screamer to deal with the problem on her own. Maybe she’ll use her scream to effect change instead of to alert mom for help, but I do see that as progress. We have further to go, but I’m interested to think that being quick to hear and slow to speak has value in this context as well. For now, I’ve been ignoring the fight, and waiting to see how they resolve the issue. Isn’t that what I am working towards?