Positive Parenting ToolboxApr 06, 2011 02:34AM ● By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
What if the urge to simplify and happify your life took on a new and unexpected twist? What if you decided to change how you relate to your children, family and yourself by giving yourself a parenting makeover…
We have found that purposefully removing ineffective tools from a parenting toolbox means pitching any technique that is disrespectful, demeaning or counterproductive to your goal of raising responsible, caring and confident children. Perhaps you, too, agree that old-style parenting tools are no longer working.
Yelling, shaming, scolding, lecturing, inducing guilt and spanking, for example, as well as bribing children with stars, stickers and performance charts, give only the illusion of being effective. These outdated strategies ultimately lead to fear, resentment and lack of self-esteem; they do not build self-reliant, self-responsible, self-motivated children. It is time to trash them and become skillful in using more appropriate parenting tools:
Judgment keeps you from seeing children clearly. If you judge a child as lazy, you are less likely to see ambitious behavior. If you judge him as uncaring, you will have difficulty noticing his benevolent acts. Throwing out such labels reveals each child’s true depth and possibility.
Be out of your mind.
Use silent times to wash away old and useless thoughts. Resist the urge to overanalyze parenting issues. Stop thinking and cluttering consciousness with incessant chatter. Pay no attention to the outdated thought that, “My parents did it to me and I turned out alright.” Listen instead, to the intuition of your heart.
Appreciate the moment.
The best gift to give a child is to be fully present when you are with them, rather than dwelling on past problems or future fears. There is only one moment to see, feel, express, learn, grow or heal with your child. This is it. All the rest is just cluttering up precious parenting moments.
Clean out your present expectations and assumed knowledge of why children do things. Return to wonder and find fascination with what they do. Allowing curiosity to bloom opens the door to awe. See with beginner’s eyes, as if seeing this moment for the first time.
Clean up the daily schedule.
Every child in the world spells love, T-I-M-E. Adjust priorities by selectively picking through social and business activities and getting rid of old obligations and habits that prevent you from investing time with your children.
Cut down on talking.
The first step towards love is to listen. Reduce the need to explain, lecture, moralize, rationalize and convince. Instead, give children the gift of your presence by hearing, rather than telling; acknowledging, instead of convincing; and understanding, rather than jumping to conclusions.
Apologize and begin again.
Do you need to make amends with a child? If so, tell her what you learned and what you intend to do differently from now on. Then, follow through. Unclutter the history of accumulated past mistakes by making a new beginning today.
Free your mind of the notion that there is one truth. You know your truth. Allow children to find theirs. Model the way you live your truth and support young people in their efforts to find and trust theirs.
Give children space.
Yes, protect them, keep them safe and give them guidance. Also, unclutter their lives by giving them space. The more you think you know about how their life should unfold, the less you will be present to the way their life is unfolding now; you will miss what is.
Fix it up.
Do you need to remedy a faltering relationship, unsupervised use of TV or the Internet, or another recurring stressor? Fix your mind first, so that you are tuned into fixing problems, rather than fixing blame.
Punishment doesn’t work.
Replace penalties with opportunities for teaching, holding your children accountable by implementing natural, respectful, reasonable consequences.
Perception of any situation is always a choice. Ask yourself, “Is this way of seeing this problem the one that brings the most light and love to the situation?” Use this present moment to enlighten past parenting perceptions and actions.
A thorough uncluttering of your parenting style can work like a fresh coat of paint, brightening both the exterior and the interior of everyone involved to make family life sparkle. Uncluttering makes room to inject the positive energy and love that produce healthier family relationships.
Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are the authors of the book, Teaching the Attraction Principle to Children, and a free monthly e-zine for parents. To subscribe or obtain information about how they can help you or your group meet parenting needs, visit PersonalPowerPress.com.