Eve Annunziato

Overreact and You Underachieve June 11, 2008

My daughter is quite spirited, head-strong and doesn’t appreciate the word, “No!”  Honestly, not a word I’m very good at accepting either.   I specifically recall an incident last year, in front of my girlfriend and her daughter, my then 3-year old had an absolute meltdown. There was screaming, crying, and a ton of drama


My response – remain calm, let her go, and ignore the big scene.  Once she finished her fit, I proceeded to explain to her in a low voice, that she made a poor decision.  I expressed to her I was disappointed and consequently she lost one week of gum privileges (it’s her favorite snack!).  Although disappointed, she stopped and began to apologize.  I obviously accepted.  Because I’m a bit of a softy, I informed her that when and if she started to make good decisions; she would then earn her privileges back.  Let’s just say, it took several days, but rest assured she was once again smacking on her “sugarless” gum before too long!


One of my friends who witnessed the entire situation was a little shocked.  A bit taken aback at my response to the embarrassing situation, she asked, “How can you be so laid-back with her?”  She exclaimed, “Don’t you ever loose your cool?”  Yes, I do, but I try REALLY HARD not to react and mimic that type of behavior.  Instead, I purposely respond composedly.  It’s not always easy, but reacting can make the situation worse.  If I did get excited and yell and scream, it would only fuel my strong-willed child’s fire.  Trust me I don’t ever want to justify that type of behavior.  


In the book, Scream Free Parenting, the author, Hal Edward Runkle, challenges all parents to transform their family dynamics:


“Every kid wants to have “cool” parents.  This does not mean parents hip to the latest styles, or parents with no rules whatsoever.  What every kid really wants are parents who are able to keep their cool no matter what.   Kids want parents to remain unflappable even when they flip out….  The ScreamFree way compels you to focus on yourself, grow yourself up, and calm yourself down.  By staying both calm and connected with your kids, you begin to operate less out of your deepest fears and more out of you highest principles, revolutionizing your relationships in the process.” 


There’s a huge difference between reacting and responding to every life situation.  I make a concerted effort when I deal with relationships personally and professionally to try and remain calm at all costs, especially when managing a team of people made up of very different personalities.  In leadership, this can be a challenging discipline but worth the extra effort.  Take a deep breath and try not to overreact.  This will prevent you from underachieving at home and at the work place.




5 Responses to “Overreact and You Underachieve”

  1. These are great words of wisdom. When we react, we more often than not make the situation worse. Eve, I’ve seen you do a great job of using this principle in management and at home! Thanks!

  2. fullofboys Says:

    Eve – just what I need to read and be encouraged by! I am trying to be deliberate with my responses to the boys (still mess up though!). Thanks for reminding me the benefits of remaining in control of not just my words but my outward emotions.

  3. Holly Black Says:

    Wow! Thanks for that challenge. I have been doing a ton of overracting in response to my 9 year old son who seems to think he is 18. So much so that my throat actually hurts from yelling! I just said to Ian last night that whatever we are doing is not working. I surely don’t want to be an underachiver at home so I am going try hard not to overact. I could really use some prayer in this area!

  4. Jenn – I’m glad you’re encouraged. Your dedication and faithfulness to your husband and children have always been an inspiration to me.

    Holly – I understand the frustration hence the post. I’ll be praying for you in this area. You have such a calm spirit and it’s contagious. I know that your sweet nature will always lead you to overachieve as wife, mother and friend. I’ve certainly benefited!

  5. Lori K Says:

    Eve – I SO wish I had read that book when Sam was young. I have never been a person who yells a lot, but I definitely raised my voice way too often. My Mom has taught school for 38 years and has the patience and ability to remain calm in most every situation. I must say that I didn’t inherit these wonderful traits.

    One quick trick that a friend in my current small group just shared last week: give yourself a timeout when your child misbehaves. This 3-5 minute period allows you to “cool off” and handle the punishment in a calm and less heated manner. I like this idea!!

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