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I think Carrie Contey was the person from whom I first heard this and I think it’s brilliant: When your kids are bugging you, or they’re getting into trouble, or they won’t do what you need them to do, underreact. They’re totally not expecting that. And their reaction may just be to do the thing you need them to do because they are so shocked that you’re not doing what you usually do (yell, freak out, overreact).
I’ve been trying this in our house and it sure does seem to throw my kids. But it’s just enough of a disruption in our normal communication patterns to get everyone to change channels and tune in to what’s going on. And, as parents, that’s what we really want, isn’t it?
As for how this shows gratitude toward others, look at it this way: a happier, easier home life with less yelling and more connecting is something for which we can all be thankful.