If you’re reading this, you might have the feeling that you want to change some of your parenting practices or, perhaps, you're curious about “mindful parenting” and what it could be. Well, congratulations for taking a moment from your day to click on the link. Erin of it’s OK and I are going to be working together over the next 40 weeks (!) on a journey toward more mindful parenting and would love to have you join us. To learn how we envision The Mindful Parenting Collaboration working, please read the introductory post HERE.
How many times have you had something good happen to you only to think, "Well, that was the good news, now where's the bad news?" Do you rehash the negative things that occur in your life? When your family has great plans that the kids are excited over, do you remind them that things may fall trough (like the trip to the beach could be canceled due to rain)? When you child tries something new and almost gets it right, do you say, "Next time try doing it this way," instead of just praising them for trying? Maybe you just carry around doubts in your head about the decisions you've made?
These are all manifestations of negative thinking. Some are more destructive than others, but they all can create negative feelings inside yourself. And negativity doesn't just ruin your day. It can cause health problems and even be the key that unlocks the door to depression and a ton of other mental illnesses. And our negativity doesn't just affect ourselves. Our children are learning from us.
Do you really want Johnny to refuse to learn how to ride his bike because he just knows that he'll fall? Should a child learn to be cautious of every good situation because something bad may happen that could ruin the "good" part? Think of how a carefree childhood can become one filled with fear and sadness due to learning negativity from Mom and Dad. Chances are, things aren't that bad in most households. But learning negativity over being positive in any one instance can set a child up for a hard time.
Even if our children don't learn the behavior from us by some miracle, it's still important. A miserable parent can't cover up their negativity for long. You may not voice it, but your actions can speak louder than words. Thinking negatively can cause stress. And I know that, when I'm stressed, I get kind of bitchy. I snap at the kids and my husband tiptoes around me. Not a very great way to pass a day - or even an entire childhood!
I think that being positive is a very important topic to consider on your journey toward mindfulness. Having a positive outlook doesn't mean you should be singing all day and just having a great time. Throwing caution to the wind isn't the answer, either. But, thinking of ways to change the negatives into positives and even dealing with the negatives in a positive way can be the answer.
Think of this very negative situation: You don't have the money to pay the gas bill and the utility company comes around and shuts you off. Not a good situation! You can't just ignore it and whistle a happy little tune - you have to worry about it. But freaking out and going over all the bad things in the situation (no hot water, no furnace, no cooking) is just going to cause panic in your child AND teach him or her how they should react in a similar situation. But presenting a positive outlook first, "Hey, guys! We can all have frozen dinners cooked in the microwave for dinner tonight. Then, to stay warm, we can all camp out in the living room together." You can have a family conversation to discuss the problem in a positive manner, too. "Boy, we really need to get the gas turned back on, but we don't have quite enough money to do it. Does anyone have any ideas on how we could get money? How about any ideas about how we can deal with the situation until the gas is back on? We can't eat frozen dinners every night!"
So, this week, we need to think of all of the little ways that we act or think negatively and then find a way to be positive, instead. My plan is to just keep an eye on myself and write down whenever I catch myself being negative. It may be hard to recognize, at first, but I think that a few days will be enough for me to get used to seeing it. Then, I want to go over all of mt negative acts and thoughts figure out could have been positive, instead. The rest of the week will be spent getting into the habit of stopping my initial negativity and turning it into something positive. I hope I can come back here next Friday and give you a great report of how my week went!
If you'd like some other ideas of how to remove the negative and replace it with the positive, read THIS POST at The Parenting Passageway.
If you've written a post on being positive/negative, please add it here. We're aiming at having links added by Dec. 2, when we will begin Topic 4. But, if you'd like to add your post to the lanky after that date, you are welcome to do so - everyone must move at his/her own pace! It does not have to be a new post. This is a collaboration and all aspects are welcome. We can learn from each other and help one another on this journey toward more mindful parenting!
Click HERE to this linky to your own post!