The One Chance I Give My Kids Before I Lose It

My son says he can see it in my eyes. They start to dilate with rage.
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My girls say they can tell by the intensity of my footsteps coming down the hall to break up a scuffle.

I can tell because I can feel my face get hot, and I’m fighting the instinct to take every privilege known to their little lives away.

It’s that moment when they’ve pushed the envelope too far, said too much, or frankly, have just caught me running on fumes.

In that moment, I give them one chance before things get real. {Real like getting grounded, folding mountains of laundry, losing screen time for a week, or worse . . . whatever evil is conjured up in my mind in the heat of my rage . . . one time it was cleaning the cupboards under the sink which was the very grossest}.


I especially like to give them this chance when they are back-talking, or having a bad attitude in general.

Here’s the chance:

“I’m going to let you try that again.”

Sometimes I follow it with:

“Because here’s where things are going to go {insert outline of impending consequences}.”

And then I let them try again, and I respond accordingly.

They can change what they said to me, adjust their behavior, fix whatever needs fixing {before I do the fixing}.


It gives them a chance to slow down, think it through, and make a change. I’m not going to lie, it gives me a chance to slow down too.

It teaches cause and effect.

It teaches revision.

It allows them to practice better communication.

If they choose to commit to the path that’s getting them in trouble, they’ve been fully warned, and they’ve got no one but themselves to blame.

In general, I’ve found that the situations deescalate quickly. For all of us.

Let’s also be real, it gives them one more chance before I go nuclear. For them, that’s the best reason there is!