One of the items in the last episode about fighting depression with gratitude was to switch a negative thought you might have into a positive. I wanted to broaden this concept and apply it to our kids for this episode 92.
It is really important for our children to hear what they are doing right. Focus on the good things your child does, not the things they aren’t doing.
For most of my career, my job was to find the mistakes that companies are making in their online marketing or business operations and fix them. I have trained myself over years and years to find the things that aren’t working. This is a dangerous skill to bring to your personal life. If you are routinely looking at what doesn’t work in your relationships or with your kids, you will continue to find things that don’t work and be focused very much on the negative. Sure it can be helpful to find things not going well and try to fix them, but you are still constantly looking at what is in front of you as broken.
Our kids are not broken. I admit I am guilty of this. For example, in our house when I come home from work, the first things I see are toys, clothes, or other items that are on the floor or not where they are supposed to be. I can’t even count the number of times the first thing out of my mouth is “why is your toy in this room on the floor? Where does your jacket, shoes, backpack, doll, or whatever supposed to go? This is a constant theme in our house. These words may even come out of my mouth before I say “hello” or “how was your day?”
I’m going to guess I sound like quite a nag. The reality is that nagging and complaining every day doesn’t seem to motivate kids to fix the problem. Of course another tactic is punishment. However I don’t believe this works either.
What if someone tells you that you are doing something right? Do you think you would be more motivated to continue doing it? I’m not talking about saying to your children “I’m so proud of you” or “That makes me so happy”. These are the kind of words that create situations in which your child requires your praise in order to do something.
The comments would be more something like “Thank you so much for putting your backpack away. It probably feels good to know where it is for tomorrow.” or You were able to get on your shoes without me asking. You should feel good about that”. I said this to my daughter the other day and then that evening overheard her telling my wife “I put on my shoes this morning without dad asking.” She then did it again the next morning. While a small step, it was a step.
These kind of events happen the time. We are so concerned with timeliness, cleaning, etc. It is clear that my children respond better when I am positive. They will be more inclined to mirror the positive habits we re-inforce versus complaining and nagging what they aren’t doing.
I’m not saying it is going to be easy. Focus on The Good Things Your Child Does, Not The Things They Aren’t Doing.