Preparing for tough situations

This video addresses the importance of anticipating and managing challenging situations to ensure family wellbeing. It introduces the concept of "acutes," situations that can quickly escalate, and provides the PRO strategy: Predict, Recognise, and Organise a safe escape. Viewers are encouraged to think ahead, recognise danger signs, and have strategies in place to manage their behaviour and avoid resorting to violence. The goal is to maintain safety and emotional control in potentially volatile moments.

A woman speaks:

Most of us know the situations which are going to be testing for us. This might be going to visit your partner's family or whānau. It might be being in a social situation with your friends. It might be about coming home late or the next day after being out late. It might be picking up your tamariki (children) for an access or custody visit.

We have a name for those situations. We call them acutes, which really means that things can move very quickly. One of the key challenges in family wellbeing is to get ahead of the game. It is about being able to anticipate situations and have thought ahead about how you will behave in these situations.

You can use a simple word, PRO, to remind you of steps to take. PRO stands for: (P)redict the situation you are likely to be in. (R)ecognise the danger signs, (O)rganise a safe escape. Let's unpack these further. Predict a situation you are likely to be in, that is likely to create these acute moments of risk.

I don't know about you, but it's often easier to recognise afterwards how we should have acted in the moment. In fact, we are pretty good at what we call post-mortems. Going back over the situation and thinking to yourself, I should have done that differently. Have you ever given yourself a hard time afterwards, about what you should have done instead? You are not alone. 

Pre-mortems help us to think ahead of what is going to be challenging situations, and then plan for how we might manage ourselves in those situations. It means we are not starting cold; having thought ahead gives us a real edge. I like the saying, "failing to plan is planning to fail."

Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation and start to recognise the danger signs. It might be feelings of jealousy, feeling uncomfortable, or finding ourselves getting revved up about the situation we find ourselves in. At that point, we need to carefully manage ourselves and remain in a place where we are not reactive and are able to calm ourselves back down. Remember, the only person in charge of us is us.

As always, the important thing is to keep you and your whānau (family members) safe. Organising a safe escape is about being able to remove ourselves, even for a short time, from the immediate situation. This will give you time out for the moment. It also gives you time to make sense of what was going on, and what we were reacting to.

Consider using PRO today, as a strategy to keep you and others safe. Remember, predict the situation you are likely to be in, recognise the danger signs, organise a safe escape. Your challenge is to start identifying and predicting the situations where you are likely to make a bad situation worse. Then generate two to three strategies that you can use to manage your situations without resorting to abusive practice and violence. Also, know what your danger signs are, and talk to others about a safe escape.