I am a pretty optimistic, positive kind of person. You know, the glass half full type. I do notice though, that I am pretty hard on myself, especially when it comes to my parenting skills. I thought it was a professional hazard of the Parent Educator.
However, the more I teach the more I see that I am not the only one who is tough on themselves. It seems to be a recurrent theme with the parents that I counsel. I often hear them saying, “You are not going to believe what I did today..I am such a bad Mom.” It occurred to me that all this negative talk was not good for Moms. They needed to be more positive about their parenting abilities.
In my workshops I spend so much time encouraging parents to try to see their kids strengths. I try to help them focus on the positive aspects of their child’s behavior instead of the negative. I realized that I needed to start with the Moms themselves. They needed to see themselves in a positive light. They needed to find a way to see that they were good Moms. Once Moms have that confidence they feel like they are an effective parent. Their parenting will be more natural and easier.
Not only that, the best way to see the good in someone else is to start focusing on the good in oneself. If we focus on what we, as Moms, have done right, in our day, we will more likely see all the things our kids do “right”. If we are kind and non-judgmental to ourselves we will be more kind and non-judgmental with out kids. It is a simple exercise that can transform the way we parent.
Here are some examples of how this can work:
Instead of being negative:
- “I was impatient with my dreamy son.”
- “I was late for carpool.”
- “I didn’t even get to the bills today!”
- “My house is a mess!”
Try being positive:
- “I was impatient with my dreamy son but when he came home I was pleasant. I sat down with him at the table while he ate his snack.”
- “I was late for carpool but I drove safely and did not speed because I was running late.”
- “I didn’t get to the bills today, but last month all the bills were paid on time. I know I will pull it together this month too.”
- “My house is a mess, but I know where everything is.”
It might sound silly but it really works. Once we start focusing on the positive our world starts to look a lot brighter. Our moods get lighter. It is contagious in a good way. It is a simple but great way to nurture ourselves and our families and be a successful Mom.
Adina Soclof, works as a Parent Educator for Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau facilitating, “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen” workshops as well as workshops based on “Siblings Without Rivalry. Adina runs ParentingSimply.com and conducts parenting, teacher and clinician workshops via telephone nationwide. Adina lives with her husband and four lively children in Cleveland, Ohio. For more information on online classes visit her website at www.parentingsimply.com.