90 Seconds of Good Parenting

stopwatchHow do we apply epiphanies from stroke recovery to parenting? Easy, we now make our children count to 90 when they are mad. (Forget that counting to 10 shit…it doesn’t work; but 90 seconds, that’s a really long time.)

At the end of last year, Tom and I both read “My Stroke of Insight,” the amazing book by Jill Bolte Taylor describing her stroke and her subsequent recovery. One of the tidbits that really jumped out at us was her describing her left brain recovery and her realization that a lot of negative personality characteristics came from the left side of her brain (i.e., the internal voice that nags you for days after you get busted for a speeding ticket.)

We set about applying her insights to kid anger management. We passed on Jill’s observation that the body purges chemicals related to anger from the bloodstream in about 90 seconds, so if a person remains angry for more than 90 seconds, they are emotionally choosing to let that anger continue. (Yes, this is an important lesson for Mommy as well). So now, when our lucky offspring get out of control, they have to start counting to 90. And you know what? it really works!

Furthermore, if there is an issue that they just can’t let lie, we talk them through having the right side of their brain tell the left side of their brain to give it a rest. They actually respond to the physiological explanation of that little voice that won’t let it go…smart little beans.

As my sainted Mother likes to say, “I’m glad you weren’t my parents!”

Photo by Erica Marshall of muddyboots.org. Used under a Creative Commons license.

2 Responses to “90 Seconds of Good Parenting”

  1. Erica Marshall

    I too am a fan of the “Stroke of Insight” book. I picked it up because my Dad had a stroke a few years back that left him unable to speak, but I got much more out of it than just an understanding of his condition. I found it’s message of living more on the right side of your brain as inspiration, just as you obviously have.

    I don’t, specifically, remember the 90 second thing, but it’s something I’ll have to try to practice. My left brain works overtime way too often!

  2. Michele

    I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. It’s funny how unexpected the inspirational qualities of the book are…I expected to have strokes and stroke recovery illuminated for me, but not to receive any tools for how to live life more happily.

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