How Positivity Helps You 'Pick Your Battles'
Positive parenting. Focus on their strengths, on their successes. Downplay and redirect those moments when they miss the mark.
Easier said than done, isn’t it?
Really, stay positive?
When my ADHD teen is making me crazy? When, for the 17th time (today), I’m asking him, as directly and politely as I can, to turn off his electronics and get to bed. When I really want to scream and throw away his phone?
We discuss this topic in the Parent Success System coaching groups and in Sanity School®. It's part of our ImpactParents Model and key to the coach approach. Across the board, we agree that we parents want to be more positive and more supportive. We also want to be less critical and frustrated.
But how to pick your battles?
Josh McDowell said, “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.” So true.
I know firsthand that I’m much less effective as a parent when my kids feel disconnected from me like I’m not on their side. When our bond is strong, then my ability to parent and influence is magnified.
Take this morning, for instance.
My kid has been struggling for the past few weeks. Something personal is really bugging him. I can see it, but he doesn’t want to share it with me yet – mostly because it’s not cool to talk to Mom right now. So my job is to find a way to be there for him without him knowing it.
The challenge is that it's reached the point where whatever is bothering him is impacting his school work and his ability to follow the rules at home. Lots of things to correct or punish.
But instead of asking myself, “What does my child need to follow the rules and get his homework done?” positive parenting takes me in a different direction. If I stop for a minute and ask myself, “What does my kid need now to feel loved and supported?” I am getting back on his team.
With this approach, the solutions change, the approach changes, and, ultimately, your opportunity to parent expands. Instead of yelling, you are bringing them ice cream; and instead of everyone going to bed frustrated and angry, they are watching TV with you and kissing you good night. Instead of shutting you out, your kids open up (at least a little).
So back to this morning. My natural reaction was to get angry and go into “search and destroy mode.” As I recognized that there wasn’t an emergency that couldn’t wait at least a few hours to be resolved, I was able to calm myself down enough to problem-solve. I focused the morning on getting out the door and connecting with my kid – so that we CAN have a tough conversation AFTER school.
As an added benefit, I was even able to learn a little something I never expected – a critical piece to the puzzle of supporting my teen in managing this really challenging part of his life. I can’t tell you anymore right now – gotta respect his privacy on this one – but I’ll let you know how it goes when I can.
Learn to Re-Focus
In the meantime, here’s the bottom line: when you can take a deep breath and find a way to keep your cool and focus on building a strong relationship, the opportunities you’re looking for will just naturally show up. Better still, you'll go from trying to figure out how to pick your battles to working collaboratively with your kids to create a more peaceful home.
Not too sure how to pick your battles? I’m positive!