Not saying anything, not ‘adding’.
There are times in life when a response will make things worse and not better, when adding another sound or word will actually escalate an issue and or problem. What do you do when adding more to the moment will actually make it explode? When what you are doing is actually making it worse? You can make the choice to not say anything.
Sometimes what you have already said or done is enough, and you cannot add more to the situation to make it any better. When you have said what needed saying, done what is needed to be done, sometimes the best thing to do is to then stop talking, and not “add” anything else to the moment. Consider it like a scale, you are searching for balance.
My husband does this, I will have sorted something with the child but he wants immediate action and wants it to be fixed. He doesn’t like to wait! He means well, only wants the child to feel better, but instead of leaving things as is, he will say something else, he will “add” to the moment. What happens is the gentle balance that I found will be upended and the child’s emotional scale that I found a balance with will become unbalanced and we can then be looking at another experience of dis-regulation.
There will be times when you come to an uneasy balance, a moment where the child is calm enough, where not adding and not saying anything else will be the most powerful tool in your toolbox.
Sometimes we can simply just overthink a situation, wonder what extra thing we can do, or what we can add to make it just that much better. There will be times that the best thing you can do is just to not do anything, to stop while you are ahead, step back, take a breath and don’t add anything.
What if you could add more? Then waiting five minutes, stepping back and being quiet to see where you are is also a great tool. Taking a few minutes out of the stressful situation to consider and adjust, can be of more benefit than offering more tools and or more strategies. Not adding anything extra for 5 or 10 minutes ends up being a time to plan, and calm down before re-entering the fray.
So next time you have done your best and have come to a time of calmness, even if you think it may not last, take a moment to just stop and to “not” do anything more. Take the time to step back and not add another tool, not add another word, and to just not add. See if in that space of quiet you find that maybe you don’t need to do more, and use the quiet time to find your balance along with allowing your child to find theirs.