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The 5 C’s Series - Part 3 of 5: Clarify and Choose

Now that you have practiced catching yourself and have found your place of calm you are ready to take the next step and practice clarifying the situation and choosing your response when dealing with others.

In any situation, take a moment to look around, what do you see…agitation, anger, aggressive language or behaviours?

Behaviour has purpose, which is often misunderstood and labeled as attention seeking, manipulation, or controlling. In reality, there may be factors such as: medical, sensory, embarrassment or shame, anxiety, lack of impulse control, constipation, chemical imbalance or some other unmet need causing these reactions.

To clarify what type of support is needed, try putting yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself, “Why are they reacting this way?” “What does this person need?” To help you clarify, think about what has been helpful in the past to de-escalate the situation or make the situation better. This will help guide you in consciously choosing your next move.

Remember to keep yourself fully present, in the moment, thinking through your Person-Centred mindset. Save the ‘consequence threat’, in the heat of the moment, as ears seem to disconnect when emotions are high. Remember, words are powerful. Not only what is said but how it is said.

A most humbling moment for a mom was when her children pulled from under the table a recording device they used to play back how she sounds when she gets "on a roll". Think about what would your replay sound like?

After the situation has stabilized, stop to reflect what IS working; what’s NOT working; what’s important FOR this person (health, safety, feeling valued); what’s important TO this person (likes, personal interests, comfort); this will help you maintain healthy interactions in the future.

Work the formula backwards. Wise choices and decisions need to be made with information we know or gather in the moment. Have your wits about you and ask “what could be causing anxiety at this time?” See what is really going on, have understanding and clarity about numerous possibilities that could be causing the problem, choose the best course of action, and provide support that is kind and authentic.

In summary, as we know, the best way to keep emotions stable is to catch ourselves, move quickly to the feeling of calm, and enter into a space where I say “I can do this, I have a few ideas”. Life is not perfect. What counts is genuine effort to “do my best and rest with the rest’.


Have you missed the first 2 "C's" of the Series? Read them here:


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