Changing the Shark Music: Reframing the Way I Approach My Children’s Behavior

April 3rd, 2015 by Dionna | Comments Off on Changing the Shark Music: Reframing the Way I Approach My Children’s Behavior
Posted in Consensual Living, Gentle/Positive Discipline, natural parenting

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Shark Music

I’ve been reading through No Drama Discipline this spring with the Natural Parents Network volunteers, and one of the sections that was so true to life for me was about something they call “turning down the shark music.”1 Here’s how it works:

Imagine watching a video where the point of view character is walking on a smooth, easy path in a beautiful forest. Through an opening in the trees ahead, you can see the ocean, wide and wondrous. As the person moves toward the water, a calm, classical piece plays softly in the background, leaving you with a feeling of peace.

Now imagine watching the same video, but this time the music is the “shark music” from Jaws.

It completely changes the feeling of what is about to happen, doesn’t it?

As parents, we can have that same mental shift when we’re approaching our children. I’ve been retraining myself to do this at home, especially when it comes to sibling scuffles. Let me give you an example.

The scenario: my kids are playing in the next room. I hear what sounds like a scuffle, a physical alteration. A boom and a shriek send my heart racing, wondering what medical expense we’re about to incur.

How do I respond? I have two choices:

  1. I can run in, panicked, and shout – “what happened?! Who is being rough? What is going on?!” in that slightly accusatory tone parents can sometimes get with the older sibling.

    Or . . .

  2. I can take a moment to breathe and calmly walk toward them, “is everyone having fun?”

When I choose option #1, one or both kids feel defensive, one or both usually wail or yell, and my heart doesn’t slow down for quite awhile.

But on most occasions, even if someone has been hurt, when I choose option #2, the kids decide that yes, they are indeed having fun. No one feels like they are going to get in trouble, no one feels accused. My approach sets the tone for the rest of the interaction.

Have you noticed that your responses to your children’s behavior helps create a positive or negative interaction and teachable moment? Share your experiences in the comments!

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Photo modified with permission (words added) from Jeff Glass via Flickr Creative Commons.

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