Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Conditioned response

The inability to accept that people aren't perfect, mixed with a poor and even angry reaction when someone tells you they have messed up (in the effort to be honest)...perpetuates the telling party, to not tell again.  EVER!

Example:  Child comes to parent and is honest that they have messed up.  Broken the rules, broke something, or made a mistake and is now "coming clean"... If that child is be-rated, scolded, or met with anything other than a listening ear, then that child will most likely not ever try that route ever again.  We touch the stove and learn that it's hot, we learn to not touch it again... Child tells the truth and is met with anger and temper?...then that child becomes conditioned to not want to share and "come clean"...

Children (all of us) mess up, and this does not mean that there should be no consequences for their actions.  Yet facing an abusive (emotionally or physically) parent, when they want to be truthful should not be one of those consequences.

I once saw a set of steps that one would follow to correct their mistakes:
1.  Recognize and admit that wrong has been done
2.  Ask for forgiveness from those that were wronged
3.  Make restitution for that which was done... Correct and make right that which was wronged
4.  Never repeat the mistake and leave it behind

Interesting that those 4 steps do not include "expect to be be-rated by someone along the way and/or face the wrath of your parent(s)."

Parents (every day) teach their children to hide and not tell the truth, because they will not listen with a level head.  We should love our children enough to listen without reaction.  Consequences can be decided and explained WITHOUT belittling comments or anger!
Children that learn to avoid being truthful and hide their actions, eventually will do that with a lover and eventually their spouse.  The way kids learn to communicate in their childhood and adolescent years WILL shape the rest of their lives!

Does this happen in relationships too?  YES!... Truth is told, reactions are given and measured,.. and we condition each other to either share openly, or hide and avoid the whole truth.

What's the key?  Be in control of yourself enough to not react.  Keep a level head (no matter what) and remain in control of your own emotions.  Take time to digest if you need to, so that your response is done with dignity and control.  Easier said than done sometimes, yet SO SO important that we learn the skill of "responding with control" instead of "reacting without control." 

Love enough to listen!


  1. Thanks for posting this! Very encouraging!

    One of the tactics I use with my girls is to leave the room for a bit and come back later when I've had a chance to cool down. Then address the situation.

    I can't say that I always do it right but I've learned a lot in the past 9 1/2 years that I've been a parent!

  2. I've always tried to be honest with my children. When I do have a lapse, I apologize and make sure to let them know that I'm only human and that, I too, make mistakes. I am curious, why did you decide to use be raided, instead of be rated?

  3. "responding with control" instead of "reacting without control."

    That line had me interested in looking up the definitions of the words 'Respond' and 'React' and I found it really interesting that in most definitions the word Respond had to do with things that are positive and the word React was mostly speaking of negativity. I had no idea! Thanks for sharing this, I learned something!

    We should respond a whole lot more often than we should react... And we should all learn some self control! Excellent!

  4. Matt, I've enjoyed reading your blog!Your most recent blog I read was on "conditioned Response" After reading that it gave me such a better perspective on how we should respond and react in any situation. One of the things that caught my attention,was when you said "Consequences can be decided and explained without belittling comments or anger!" I absolutely agree! As a single Mom, when discipline takes place, I often find myself in "Time Out! " LOL :) There have been many times where I have to go into another room sit,think and calm down. After calming down I can then approach the situation and explain lovingly to my Daughter why she is being disciplined. Where as, if I approach things out of anger it doesn't solve anything. As parents we are constantly teaching our children. Most of the time I think its really the children who are teaching us.

  5. Hi Matt,
    I strongly believe that God uses others as a messenger to deliver his message. Your message was refreshing and much needed for me more so than ever. The old saying, “loose lips sink ships” vs. The art of listening is my challenge with respects to a delicate matter between me and my son. Going forward, I’ll deal with our matter with a calmness of love, no longer the calm before the storm. This too shall pass, please keep us in your prayers. CW

  6. I totally agree. I rarely bring God into my converstions, only because I review my relationship with Him as very personal and intimate. But for this I will. Personally, I dislike it when people use God as a scare tactic, that we will be punished for our mistakes. I am sure there will be consequences to our actions. But I doubt there will be yelling involved. Why would we treat our children any different? From a different point of view. We all operate on a certain positive vibration. When you introduce a negative vibration (yelling) you are lowering that persons vibration. Relationships with other adults are the same. Why treat anyone in a manner that would lower their vibration. Personally, I would rather some one punch me in the face than say something spiteful in an argument. When you look at a person with compassion it is harder to be angry. Your words can have a powerful impact. If you change your words you can change your world.



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