Parenting from the Heart: Thinking Positive Thoughts about Your Child
Staying positive about your children helps the family avoid unnecessary worry.
New beginnings help all of us to build strength and a positive view about what life will bring. I once wrote about a young woman who told me how much her father helped her by not worrying about her. “He always thought I would do fine.” What a gift we offer ourselves and our children when we can free ourselves of fears.
A father told me how he worried for months about how his son would adjust to school. “The first day my son said goodbye in five minutes, and I realized I had wasted all that time being anxious about how he would do.”
We can’t force ourselves not to worry. At least I can’t! Our ability to imagine what will happen in the future is one of our wonderful human capacities. However, the human tendency to imagine the worst shuts down our ability to inspire confidence.
We can start by catching ourselves when we start to think catastrophically about our children’s abilities to make their way. When we catch ourselves spinning a negative scenario in our minds, we can substitute a positive one: “I bet he can find the strength to handle this situation.”
Substituting positive thoughts also helps when difficulties do arise. If your child says that “No one played with me” or “I missed you during the morning,” sympathize and ask for specifics.
What part of the day did she feel sad (after snack? during playtime?)? Tell her you had those feelings sometimes as a child too. Ask about activities she enjoyed, people she wanted to play with, the highlights of her day. Then you can problem-solve about what to do in the difficult moments.
If we all practice having beautiful images of the new school year, we will create clouds of good feeling to support each other.
Susan Isaacs Kohl, is director of the White Pony preschool in Lafayette. She is the author of The Best Things Parents Do (Conari, 2004) and four other books and numerous articles for parents.