Positive Parenting

It Starts with You
Positive parenting starts with you, the parent. Think of your child as a sponge that soaks up everything, your words, your habits, your mannerisms, your attitude, what you watch on television, what you listen to, all of it.

Even before your baby exits the womb, it is literally bathed in who you are. The subconscious mind takes in all of the signals from its environment: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, taste, smell and energy and begins to look for patterns. A child learns to operate in the world by watching his/her parent’s patterns. Your patterns become your child’s patterns. Hence, the first task when becoming a positive parent is to become a positive and aware person.

Here are a few ways to begin:

  • Become aware of your habits and reactions. Which ones are positive and which ones are not so great?

  • Assess your home. Is it a positive joyful environment that you enjoy being in? What steps do you need to take to get it there? Make a list and get into action.

  • How much television do you watch and when you do, what are you watching?

  • What do you listen to?

  • When you get frustrated and upset, do you breathe or do you react?

  • Do you make time for yourself to recharge your battery and keep your stress level down?
  • Having a child can be a huge motivator for upgrading your habits. What we procrastinate doing for ourselves becomes effortless when we are doing it for our child. Demonstrate the value and importance you give to your family by committing to become a more positive you. Values are just words until they are lived.

    The Stress of Parenting
    Okay, let’s be honest, parenting can at times be frustrating. You want your child to listen and they ignore you. You want your child to do their chores, but they watch television. You want your child to do all of the right things, but they make mistakes. You want the ideal, but you get reality, and reality can be a huge trigger for anger, stress and annoyance. Then, when you get upset with your child, you feel guilty.

    There has to be another way, and in positive parenting, there is. It starts with your expectations. The frustration, anger and stress come from expecting a teenager to want to clean the yard or from expecting your 6-year-old to listen to and act on your requests while they are watching cartoons. While you, as an adult, have the patience and courtesy to listen and follow directions this is not something that is natural for children. A new approach is needed. Think about what motivates your child. Think about what gets their attention. Use this to your advantage when creating rewards and discipline. Give up the stress that comes from expecting them to be something they are not. Work with what you’ve got. See your child for who they are in all of their humanness. They too are having a human experience with the same emotions, excitement and disappointment you are. Become their partner, seek to first understand them and the way they operate before you can be understood.

    Presence
    As part of that understanding, know that the one thing your child wants is for you to be present with them. To be fully with them in body and in thought, enjoying them, laughing with them, experiencing life with them. Time manage what you need to time manage to make yourself, all of you, available to your child. Positive parenting begins with honoring the value of family and you do that by gifting yourself to your children. As a parent, your spiritual practice becomes experiencing the divine through the present moment with your child. When you do this, you will begin to notice all that you are grateful for, all that you are blessed with and all that you love. Positive parenting then becomes effortless.

    On Children
    By: Kahlil Gibran
    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
    and He bends you with His might
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.



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