The Rewind Tool has quickly become one of my favorite tools in the Teamwork Parenting Approach. This tool gives both parents and kids the opportunity to try something again when, in the heat of the moment, one of us loses our cool. Instead of issuing consequences or angrily punishing our kids when they yell at us or say something they don’t mean, we can simply and calmly “rewind and try that again.” And if WE as parents don’t handle ourselves respectfully the first time around, we can do a rewind-and-try-again too. It’s basically an immediate do-over with the goal in mind of demonstrating and practicing how to handle any real-life situation in a respectful way…as a team.
Have a mentioned how much I love this tool? But what does it look like in every day real life? Here are several ways to apply The Rewind Tool in your family:
- if your child screams at you, you can say: “Can you please rewind and try that again with respect.” (You can make this kind request until they get it.)
- if you scream at your child, you can say: “Wait. That wasn’t respectful. My apologies. I’m going to rewind and try that again.”
- if you both lose your cool, wait until everyone is calm, then go speak to your child: “Wow. Neither one of us handled ourselves in a respectful way. I’m sorry for my part. And the right thing for you to do would be to apologize to me for your part. (Hopefully apologies with forgiveness and hugs are exchanged.) Now, can we try that conversation again so we can respect each other this time?”
- practice The Rewind Tool in non-angry moments so that your kids will be prepared for when you say, “Let’s rewind and try that again.”
Honestly, I don’t even remember what happened or what we were arguing about, but my oldest and I were in the heat of it. He said some words. I said some words. And I angrily lashed out and took away a privilege and then realized that it wasn’t really necessary. We were both in the wrong. Neither one of us was respecting each other. We were angry, frustrated, and disrespected each other unnecessarily. He stomped away to his room and slammed the door. I was mad at him, but I was also mad at myself for not handling myself properly. I took some deep breaths, reminded myself of my position of loving authority over my son, and my role as his teacher. Taking away a privilege was only going to build walls. Instead, I wanted to build his skills (and mine) for how we can better handle conflict in the future. After calming down, I went up to his room and gave him a hug. “Thank you for getting some space before we said more things we didn’t mean. We love each other. And we weren’t showing love for one another in that argument, were we? Do you feel calm enough to rewind and try that again?” When we did it again right away, we were able to practice a calm and respectful discussion in which both of us felt valued, loved, and heard. We were able to solve the problem as a team and find a solution that worked for both of us…none of which would have happened otherwise. I’m loving The Rewind Tool.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Lord, sometimes we just want to be right. Sometimes we just want to exert our Parental Power Pants no matter what the cost. Remind us that we aren’t perfect and neither are our kids. Humble us. Soften our hearts. Remind us of the opportunities that our kids’ mistakes give us to teach forgiveness, acceptance, and love.