When your child has a problem, do you spend a significant amount of time dwelling on the problem, talking about the problem, and talking about the situation that caused the problem?
Is your child and her “wrong-doings” a frequent topic of conversation when you speak with friends and family?
Do you spend more than 50% of your time thinking about what your child isn’t doing right, or wishing they would do something different or better?
These are hard questions to ask yourself, and it may be even harder to be honest about the answers. But, if you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be unknowingly raising your child in a way that could keep him from reaching his highest potential. No parent wants to have that kind of an impact.
So, if you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, it may be time to evolve in the way in which you are parenting your children. It may be time to tap into the parenting wisdom that is in your heart, rather than parenting by what is in your head.
Let’s take a look at three ways you can take modify your parenting approach that will help your children reach their highest potential.
1) Think about your job as parent in a totally different way.
Having a desire to see change is a good start, but desire will only get you so far. If you want to see real change, you have to take some sort of action. You actually have to change something.
If you find yourself constantly scolding your kids for all of the things they’re not doing, can you try finding something they are doing, and compliment them on it?
If you are multi-tasking when your child is trying to talk to you, can you stop, get down to their level, and look them in the eyes when they speak?
We are so busy, that we often don’t take time to consciously appreciate our kids. We move about our day mostly unconsciously. Make it a point to try something new and notice what you see as a result
2) Change yourself before you even think about changing your kids.
Kids model what they see. If you want to see real change in your kids, you’ve really got to become the model for that change.
If you want your child to be true to his word, you’ve got to be true to yours. When you tell your child you will pick her up at a specific time, do you follow through? If you want your child to speak calmly when he is upset, do you do the same?
Much, if not all of the behavior you see, you taught them, whether you realize it or not. Make yourself, not your kids, the focus of the changes you wish to see. It won’t take long before your children follow suit, and you will be teaching your kids to align their actions with their words.
Be conscious of the commitments you make, and be sure to follow through with them in a way that your children will notice.
3) Become more conscious of your thoughts and expectations of your children.
What do you really think about your children? What is the monologue running through your mind when you think about your kids? Is it mostly positive or mostly negative?
Many of you will initially respond to this question with a knee-jerk reaction and say that your thoughts about your children are mostly positive. But, if you really spend time noticing your thoughts, you may be surprised that you have more negative thoughts than you care to admit.
Why is it important to be aware of your thoughts about your children? Our children absorb our thoughts, and our thoughts about them often become their thoughts about themselves. Children tend to see in themselves what we see in them.
There is a passage in the book “Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsch that illustrates this point beautifully. It goes as follows:
“If others notice that you see them as more, they will feel safe to show you what you obviously already see.”
Take some quiet contemplation time to realize what your thoughts are about your children, and then pay attention to your thoughts as you go through your week. Bringing your thoughts into your awareness is the first step toward changing them.
These three steps, thinking about your job as parent in a totally different way, changing yourself before you think about changing your kids, and becoming more conscious of your thoughts and expectations of your children, while simplistic in nature, can put you on the path to a higher level of parenting. And this will begin to create real change in your family.