Do you yell more than you would like? Are you the fun parent or the grouch? Would you like to change your ratio of work-time to play-time?
I can help you become the parent that your kids deserve to have.
You can see how important it is to the lives of your kids to be a positive parent. Like me, you received no training as a parent other than what you witnessed growing up. That’s why, at unexpected moments, we revert to acting — and sounding! — just like our Moms or Dads did.
Plus, you only recently thought of the concept of being a positive parent. So this may be something new.
So, before we begin, here’s an important preparatory step: you need to be a little kinder to yourself. Parenting is hard work, probably the most pressure-filled job you will ever have.
I can’t explain why we all think that we should be better at it and that we can easily improve on what we saw growing up. Then, when it doesn’t come that easily, we think there’s something wrong with us. “Maybe I’m just bad at it.”
In those heated moments when the going gets rough, it’s even harder to take a step back, to zoom out, to think calmly about what you need to do next. It can feel like a set up for failure.
Back up that dump truck of shame. Beep. Beep. Beep.
What is the easiest way to turn this around?
One way is to start being a positive parent.
First the good news: Even though your worst moments leave you full of regret, I haven’t met a parent yet who didn’t have some positive moments each day.
Let’s start with finding them. Each positive emotion gives you a building block to start with.
Positive emotions come from witnessing the beauty of something, a moment of feeling grateful, when you feel a sense of awe, or when you make eye contact in a moment of connection with someone. These experiences don’t need to be with your kids or your partner.
In fact, you can create positive emotions from flexing any of your superpowers (character strengths) such as creativity, humor, honesty, forgiveness, or kindness. There are 24 superpowers in Positive Psychology that inspired me to write, “Laugh More, Yell Less: A Guide to Raising Kick-Ass Kids.”
The coolest part about being a Positive Psychologist is that I get to feel like The Wizard of Oz. Near the end of that iconic movie, the Wizard pointed out that the Cowardly Lion had courage the whole time. Being a Positive Psychologist, I get to point out what you already have on the inside. You just might not have noticed them or flexed your superpowers lately.
When you get intentional about growing how many positive emotions you have each day, you are on your way to the tipping point, the magical ratio of 3:1 identified in the Positive Psychology research. That’s right: when you have a ratio of three positive emotions to each negative emotion in your day, you will experience an “upward spiral” that gives you more energy, broadens your field of awareness, connects you with the people who add value to your life, and even makes you healthier.
The easiest way to start to be a positive parent:
Here’s the easiest way to start down your “yellow brick road.”
Before bed, jot down three things that:
- you were grateful for today
- struck a sense of awe in you
- you savored with one of your senses
- struck a sense of awe in you
Do this each night.
You don’t need to keep track, just get in the practice of doing it regularly.
Pretty soon, you will find yourself starting to look out for things during the day that you can use for your list at bedtime. And when you start to grow the number of positive emotions you have each day, you will change your ratio. You don’t need to quiet the negative emotions. Let them be. Just make more positive ones.
You never know. Your kids may even start to notice a change in you.
If you want more tips like this, check out my short-and-sweet book with seven ways to start raising kick-ass kids.