Keep Calm and Carry On: The Broken Record Technique
Liz Pearce, Children’s Museum of Richmond
Lite 98, Parent Talk
When children are young, power struggles can be a real test of your parental authority, to see what happens when the day to day routine is changed up a bit. When your children are teenagers, power struggles are more complicated, because your child is able to reason and negotiate with you. In both situations, a child is practicing his skills for the real world, and parents should always remember this – getting our children to adulthood is the goal, and creating responsible, thoughtful adults is our job.
Calmly, and with an even, unemotional voice, state the behavior you wish to see, in specific terms. This should be short and sweet, with no room for arguments. “Your chore is to load the dishwasher. You may go outside to play after you load the dishwasher.”
1. Choose your words so that they are specific, brief and focused on the issue, not the child - "The toys need to be put away. After you put away the toys, you can see your friends." OR "You need to put on a different shirt before I drive you to the mall."
2. Stay calm, and in control. If you lose your cool, the technique won't work, and the focus of the incident will be on the emotions, and the things that are said. Keep your voice at a normal speaking level. Concentrate on speaking slowly and clearly.
3. Breathe between each repeated sentence, or count silently to 5 between each repeated sentence.
4. If you find yourself losing your grip, take a break, leave the situation if possible, and come back in 2 -3 minutes.
5. Practice, practice, practice - this is easier than it sounds, and in the heat of the moment can be very difficult. Find a friend and practice with them.