Parent Communications: The Magic and Power of the Re-Do!

We have a guest post on our blog today from Roxanne Turner.  Roxanne is a Board Certified Life Coach with extensive training in ADHD and executive functioning, focusing on the process of getting things done.

Sometimes it’s fun to be a parent, I love when I get to challenge my boys and make them think a bit harder to get what they want. One evening they came barreling through the door, speaking with raised voices and saying, “You’re probably going to say, no!”

Oh goodie, I was going to have fun with this one. “Hmm…” I said, “It looks like you did the thinking for me, so… it’s no!” Let the stuttering begin. Teehee!

“Let’s talk about your delivery,” I continued. “How do you think I felt when you came barreling through the door, talking to me with raised voices. Then telling me what I was thinking before you gave me a chance to come up with my own answer?”

So, I asked them if they would like to try again with lowered voices and entering more quietly. I sent them out to try again. They got the voices and execution down but again they said, “you’re probably going to say no.” Again, they had missed the mark, so, the coaching hat went back on. The third time was a charm, In respectful voices they asked “can we go back to the Jones house so we can have pizza, play games, and watch a movie.” We didn’t have anything going on that evening, so it was an easy “yes.”

I have been using this strategy of the re-do or the do-over for years. Who knew it was actually based on science? In the book, The Connected Child, Karyn B. Purvis, PhD., David R Cross, PhD, and Wendy Lyons Simmons discuss the power of the re-do strategy. The Re-Do is especially effective with kids with more complex backgrounds and challenges. The Re-Do gives all kids the opportunity to practice “new behavior in a fun and playful way while building self-esteem through success.”[1]

Not only does it provide your child the opportunity to practice and develop new skills, it also helps activate their motor memory. You are catching them in the moment when things are starting to go off the rails, e.g., inappropriate behavior. When you show them and coach them, and have them practice what the appropriate behavior looks like, you are “encoding competency.” “A Re-Do “erases” the muscle memory of the failed behavior and gives the child the physical and emotional experience of substituting a successful one in its place.”[2]

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to redirect the train so your kids can learn what is expected of them and how to achieve it? With kids for whom self-regulation is a big challenge, this is a nice strategy that will give them the opportunity to correct themselves and learn. I have also found it a very empowering parenting tool. I don’t feel like I am helplessly sitting there watching the train wreck. Instead, I can redirect, and teach which enhances my relationship with my kids and turns the situation into a win-win scenario. Are you ready to test out the Re-Do?


[1] [1] Karyn Purvis, PhD., David R Cross, PhD.. and Wendy Lyons Sunshine The Connected Child (McGraw Hill Books, 2017) 97.

[2] [2] Karyn Purvis, PhD., David R Cross, PhD.. and Wendy Lyons Sunshine The Connected Child (McGraw Hill Books, 2017) 98.