When I was a young Mom, and just had my second child, I complained to my friend, “I was barely able to deal with one, I can’t handle a second one!” She was very upset with me. She said, “That’s just your head trash! Yes, you can handle two kids. The more you tell yourself that you can’t, the less able you will be able to handle your children. You need to encourage yourself. You need to tell yourself that you can handle it and you can!”
She was right, and I thank her often for that bit of advice. What we tell ourselves makes a big impression on our psyche. It similar to coaches who tell their athletes to say, “I can do this!” instead of, “I am never going to win this race!”
We need to do this with when we parent. We need to constantly be encouraging ourselves. This will help us feel better about our parenting abilities. But, that is not all, it will also help us view our children in a better, more positive light.
Try the following two statements:
“This kid is driving me crazy. I can’t stand his whining!”
“I can manage this child’s whining. I can find ways to cope and help him find ways to get what he needs without whining.”
Which one makes you feel better about yourself and your child? Which statement will lead to a better outcome?
The first statement can lead you down a slippery slope of negativity. The second one (that’s the right one!) is less emotionally charged and can lead you to feel competent and better able to handle the problem at hand.
How about these statements? Which of the following helps you think positively about yourself and your child? Which one will lead to a better outcome?
1. ” I am not good at this mothering thing!”
2. “I am not the only mother who finds parenting a challenge. Every Mom has their off moments!”
1. ” My child is so difficult and annoying.”
2. “She is sensitive, she has a rough time when it gets busy in the house. She just needs some attention.”
1. “I need to be a good mother, loving, kind, peppy all the time.”
2. “Sometimes I will do the right thing and sometimes I will do everything wrong. I am human.”
I think you probably figured out the better, more positive statement. (Hint: #2 in each instance)
When we parent it is important to listen, “our head trash”, the thoughts that pop into our heads unbidden. If they are negative, then we need to change them to something more positive. You will find it to be one of the most powerful parenting tools out there.