I am a strong believer in the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
“You will find what you are looking for.”
So why not look for the good?! Focusing on the positive is the foundation of all the work I do with parents.
We get so caught up in our day-to-day activities that we often forget to look at all the great things that are happening around us. Unfortunately, our brains are wired to notice the negative. It is simply easier to focus on what is going wrong. Taking note of the negative does help prevent mistakes from happening again, but it can be a real downer! Rather than dwelling on what could be better or what you should be doing, why don’t you pay attention to the things that are already going well.
Your mind is an amazing entity. Look for the good that is happening, think positive thoughts and you can transform your life.
I know, you’re thinking, “Sounds great Dr. Renee, but HOW can I do this?” The fact that you are interested in learning more, indicates to me that you are already on the right path.
Start by looking for the good in your child. I know this is hard when you are exhausted and stretched beyond anything you ever imagined parenting to be. But I promise you, it is worth it.
Take a few moments as you get dressed in the morning, or ready for bed at night, and think about your child. What are some of his positive qualities, traits, and abilities? If you are feeling a little more ambitious, pick an entire day to try to look for positive things your child says or does.
Positive things can be something as simple as ‘sitting in a chair for an entire meal.’ Even if he’s strapped in a high chair, your child is sitting and not climbing/fussing to get out. Maybe your daughter smiled at you this morning. Maybe you took a few seconds to notice, and really enjoy, the sweet, little hand holding yours as you walked to the car. What about how he played with his friend and shared his toys? Or how she called a friend who was feeling lonely or looked sad at school? Open your eyes and look for the positive.
I am often asked, “Should I tell my child about all of these positive things I am seeing?” Then almost immediately, there will typically be one of two follow-up questions: “Will this boost his self-esteem?” or, “Won’t all that complimenting go to her head?”
It is OK to comment and praise occasionally, especially if you can point out a specific behavior/action and you are being authentic. However, just spouting off compliments all day could backfire. Your child might come to expect your input on everything in life (= not be able to think for himself). Or she might begin to tune you out well before she hits the pre-teen years!
Focusing on the positive is more for YOU than for your child. Trust me, your child will benefit because your upbeat mood will have a ripple effect. Focusing on the positive is really more about a mind shift for you. It will help you find ways to be happier and feel a purpose as you go through the everyday tasks and necessities in life.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog. It’s Part Two of Focus on the Positive and it’s going to help you even more with your ability to parent.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.- JK Rowling
I like to think of a theme for each year. It helps give me focus and something bigger to aim for in all areas of my life. My theme for 2016 was “Take Care of the Caretaker“. For 2017, my theme is “Anything’s Possible!”
Like most of you, my 2016 had its ups and downs, and yes, even some upside-downs. However, I choose not to beat myself up about things I had hoped to accomplish but didn’t or about things that didn’t go exactly as planned. I prefer to focus on the things I got right and how I have a chance to get more things right. I love to think about what new and exciting things will happen in my life this year.
Getting into a mindset of “Anything’s Possible!”, I have a New Year’s Wish for you:
My wish for you is lots of fun time with your family- anything’s possible.
More time playing with your children and less time yelling at them – anything’s possible!
More time when your child is well-behaved and less time when he is challenging or defiant – anything’s possible.
More time when your children will be playing nicely together and less time fighting with each other – anything’s possible.
More time connecting with your children and less time in power struggles – anything’s possible.
And my New Year’s wish is for you to spend more time in “Positive Parent” mode and less time in the “I Didn’t Sign Up for This” or “Help! Things are Out of Control” mode because – anything’s possible!
Here’s to a great 2017-
a new year full of possibilities.