“Let me parent out of my best hopes rather than my worst fears” Sarah Bessey
Parenting is the longest shortest time isn’t it? While you are in it, it feels unrelenting. When you look on the past year, you think ‘where did that time go?’.
How can we make the best of our parenting days?
I think Sarah Bessey has something there – hope trumps fear. Focusing on the positives and hopes has a different energy to focusing on the negatives and everything that is going wrong. It can also be hard to do, because as humans our brains have a negative bias.
As Dr Rick Hanson says (https://youtu.be/jpuDyGgIeh0) …
If your child did 5 great things today, 4 neutral things, and 1 not-so-great thing, what would keep you awake at night?
Now, parents who have been doing the job for quite a while frequently know the benefits of the ‘long game’. Being consistent and persistent. Your kids are not going to learn their manners, to pick up their socks, to speak kindly, to manage their emotions, and to share, any time soon, no matter how quickly you insist they do. Getting frustrated with them just leads to a cycle of frustration – parent gets frustrated, child returns frustration, parent gets more frustrated, and so it goes.
This is what I have noticed about parents (and humans in general) – when they focus on the positives, if they try it once, and the child does not respond, they say ‘it didn’t work’. But when they focus on the negatives, and the child does not respond in the desired way, they keep using it.
Parenting is like a dripping tap. Saying the same thing over and over again with very little emotion. Dr Becky Bailey in the USA says that you generally need to say something 2000 times before the kids will get it.
What is less stressful? Parenting with hope in our hearts and a generous amount of humour? Or parenting out of fear, worry, anxiety, anger, and frustration? How do you want to look back on your parenting days when your eldest is 18 years of age and heading out into the world? (By the way, they don’t have to be complete humans at the age of 18, their brains are still developing into their mid-twenties).
Article Written + Submitted by
Narelle Smith | Family Practitioner