Find the joy in your experiences: Zoom in on your kids' strengths for better parenting results.
It’s easy to sink into a “woe is me” type of outlook when you’re working hard to raise your kids. Kids take most of your time, effort and energy and you can quickly grow depleted with the day-in-day-out grind. Our brains have an ancient “negativity bias,” too, so we’re always trying to “fix” our kids whether they need fixing or not! Take charge and start believing in your kids — use positivity to get there.
“When children feel confident their parent is in charge, they can handle challenges and disappointments more easily,” says Rebecca Eanes in her book, Positive Parenting.
And having a positive mindset can help: Research has shown that focusing on your kids’ strengths is good for you and them. If you can use positivity to help shift your focus to your child’s overriding strengths, you can topple the negativity impulse.
5 Ways to Build Positivity in Your Parenting
- Notice one strength of each of your kids each week. Have a conversation about it. For a little child for example, you can say something like, “You’re a good hand-washer. I like how you take your time and put the towel back, too.” For an older child you might say something like, “You have a lot of kindness to share. I love the way you take time to pet the dog.” Now try to do this once a week for each of your kids.
- Incorporate strength into questions you ask your kids. For example, if your child is nervous about a test, ask him “What strengths do you have that can help you here?” Literally talk about strength so your child can recognize his strengths.
- Manage your irritation and anger. Model self control to your kids. If you have a hard time controlling your emotions, find a way to work on it. Kids can develop the skill of self-regulation if you model it to them.
- Abstain from politics around the kids. Politics make people divisive and irritable. When your kids overhear your derogatory comments, they will share them too.
- Work hard to accomplish goals. You model invaluable skills to your kids when you set goals and persevere to accomplish them. Show your child how to set goals for himself and how to achieve the goal one step at a time.
Source: Positive Parenting (Tarcher Perigree; 2016).
THE FAMILY CENTER (locations in Nashville and Murfreesboro) offers Positive Parenting classes (in addition to other parenting classes). Learn more about them at register at familycentertn.org.