Character Chats

What to do if we lose our composure

This month’s word of the month is composure.

Composure means: calm brain, calm body. It also means, for our older kids: keeping calm, steady, and in control while under pressure.

Composure doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings. Everybody has strong feelings that try to take us over sometimes. Composure is trying to get in there, use your smart brain, keep yourself from losing control of yourself.

Sometimes we lose control

Everybody is going to lose control at some point. It just happens, right? If we’re living and breathing, we make mistakes. Everybody does — parents do, grandparents do, kids do, babies do — everybody loses their composure at one point.

So what do we do if we do lose our composure?

Last week we talked about how we can calm ourselves down before that happens. But let’s say we make the mistake. For example…

Mom and Dad said, “No, you can’t get that ice cream today.” You haven’t been very good, and your lizard brain kicked in and said, “fight or flight.” Then you started throwing things and screaming and running around the house.

All right, it happened. You know you shouldn’t have done that. Now what? The big thing to do is to apologize. There’s a special, powerful way to apologize.

How to apologize

Number one, first thing you want to do, is to admit it. Say what you did.

You start with, “I’m sorry for kicking and screaming when you said I couldn’t have ice cream.” Say what you did, and then say how you can make it better.

“I already kicked and screamed because I couldn’t have ice cream. Is there a chore I can do to try to make it up? How about I clean up the dishes right now and go up to my room quietly?”

Let’s say you lost your composure and you knocked something down at your friend’s house. You didn’t get a chance to play their game, so you knocked it over and you screamed.

Oh, okay, it happened. We know we shouldn’t have done that, right? But we want to do something to make it up, so we do our powerful apology.

Make it a genuine apology

First, “I’m sorry.” But you don’t want to just leave it with, “I’m sorry.” Everybody’s had that experience where somebody just says “sorry” but they don’t actually mean they’re sorry.

When you’re sorry, you want to say it — you want to say what you’re sorry for. “I’m sorry. I lost my composure. I knocked your stuff down. I didn’t mean to.”

Then do something to make it up. “Here, let me help you pick it up.” “Why don’t you take the turn?” “Here, you have the remote back.” “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have gotten so upset that I didn’t have a turn in the game.” Right?

So when you do lose that composure, should you make it up? Say something, do something nice. Apologize, admit it.

Do it right then and there. Try not to wait for like two weeks or so, because then it might be a little bit too late.

And that’s our word of the month.

Thanks, and we’ll see everybody on the mat.
– Master Helsdon