New York City 327 300x199 POSITIVE PARENTING   EMOTIONAL TURMOILThere are times, despite how positive I want to be, that I’m in a very negative space.  When this happens I do my best to try to pull myself out of it. The first thing I look at is to see if I am in the condition of HALT. (The acronym means Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. I didn’t invent this term. I learned this from some very smart people). Once I’ve determined if one of these terms may be in existence, I act on it immediately. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m angry, I work hard to try to get my emotions under control. If I’m lonely, I’ll call someone on the phone or go somewhere where there are some people. Finally, If I’m tired, I take my ugly self (I’m not that ugly) to bed. This is something I’ve been doing for such a long time that it has become second nature to me. It is important that I look at me first when I’m in any uncomfortable condition.

I learned over these years of practice that when my kids’ emotions are out of balance, it’s usually because one of these four things may be in play. As positive parents, we have to be able to recognize the difference between our kids’ behaving bad or if their under the influence of HALT.

There are other times when my emotions are so far out of balance that I’m in a state of emotional turmoil.  All of us as adults have gone through this experience many times in our lives. This can include a breakup with a significant other or not having the money to pay an important bill. Each of us has different ways that we react to this emotional imbalance. I can remember many times in my life, I decided to act out and I became that bull in the china closet. I regret those times. 

Over the years, as a result of practicing halt, I’ve learned that it is necessary to identify whether or not the emotional turmoil is created by me or someone else. This is important although it usually never eases the uncomfortability of being in that state.  With this information I can move to solve the problem. If I’m the one who created the turmoil, I have to take the necessary actions to make things right. If I’m not the cause, I must be careful not to over react. Some of those times when I acted as the bull, I reacted without thinking.

As a positive parent, I try to teach my kids that when they’re in the middle of an emotional experience, it’s important to not be the first one to react. It’s important that we teach them to continue to do the next right thing and sometimes that would include doing nothing. I was taught by those same very smart people that I must exercise my right to keep my mouth closed. This is important because once it’s out there’s no way those words are getting back in my mouth. This is not easy because defending one’s manhood/womanhood can be very overwhelming. There are many times when my ego wants to take control but by waiting just a few moments, my mind can get clear enough to remember what it was like to be the bull.

The bottom line is that as positive parents we have to be careful of how we react during difficult times. One thing is for sure. They watch us more intently than they listen to us.



  • I wish you would have posted this a couple of weeks ago! LOL! HALT. I like that, a lot. Although I am by nature a very verbose person, I find that when I’m frustrated or in any sort of emotional turmoil, I tend to totally shut down. I’ve been told by my husband and other people that my silence is far worse than any tirade. But I’ve found for me that if I say the first thing on my mind when I’m hurt or upset it’s usually not very nice and you can’t take those words back. I try to watch the message that I’m sending to my children as well on how to deal with adversity but sometimes it’s so hard not to give into those base instincts. Great post, definitely got me thinking!

  • Thank you for your great comment. There are times when I really have something to say and if I say it at the time I want to say it, it never comes out the way I want it. The same person who taught me about HALT also taught me it’s important to pick and choose when and where I make my stand. That was important for me because I can use that time before I speak ( and it doesn’t matter how long that time is) to totally organize my words and make the decision if I should excercise my right to keep my mouth closed. Thanks!!:)

  • This is one of the first things I learned as a new mom. It has helped me more times than I can count! H(ungry) A(ngry), L(onely), T(ired) children react differently to normal instruction. First clue! Then onto remedying the correct situation!

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