I guess I am a hard person to figure out – or so I have been told. A couple of my kids’ friends told them that I am “hard to read.” They can’t figure out if I am angry or not. I think it all stems from having to deal with my children – especially my boys. Both of my sons are challenging, and I learned early on that it was often best to pause before I reacted to bad behavior (much to my mother’s chagrin). I needed to figure out in my mind what the best strategy was in dealing with the moment at hand. The first reaction needed to be no reaction – no emotion, just a calm demeanor. That in itself helped to slow down the situation. Then as I moved along I could figure out how I could help to diffuse whatever was going on at the time. Don’t get me wrong – I was no doormat. I was firm when I needed to be – took away toys, grounded them, restrained them if need be. If it was a safety issue, I needed to react faster but still quickly decide the best course of action. When Asa was about three, he decided it would be fun to run away from me in a busy grocery store parking lot. He stuck his tongue out, put his hands up to his ears and yelled, “Nanny Nanny Boo Boo!” I was terrified he would get hit by a car and started to go after him – but he kept darting away. Then I stopped and stood still. Which caused him to stop and stand still. Slowly I was able to get closer to him until I was close enough to grab him and throw him in the car. THEN I went ballistic and told him if he ever did that again, he would get into a lot of trouble, Mister! There have been times where I am sure that other people saw me as a bad parent because I would not react when my son Jake yelled in public, kicked at things, or created a scene – I would just get him out as quickly as I could. The worst thing to do with Jake when he is agitated is to yell at him – it just escalates the situation. I am sure it appears to others that I am not dealing with the behavior when I actually am – by removing him from the situation and THEN diffusing the behavior in a calmer environment. And the main reason I do this is because I love my kids so much and I want them to succeed in life. For success, they need a calm parent – who is also firm and able to decide fair consequences for bad behavior. I think my kids trust me – they know I will always love them even when I don’t like what they do. To me THAT is being a good parent.