I remember when I first came home with my son. My husband was working really long hours in the city and I was adjusting to being a mother to a newborn and a toddler who was potty training. I was kind of miserable for a little bit there. I remember I kept looking at the clock, waiting for my husband to get home so I could get a break. I was living in a pretty negative mindset. Then, one day, I decided I couldn’t live like that anymore, watching and waiting and being cranky because I was the only adult at home. I changed my thinking about my day and my life. I decided to think of it in a more positive way and start to do the things I’ve always wanted to do when I had kids. I set up my own (very flexible) schedule and did activities and went places I wanted to go with the kids. I set up music class for the baby and started going on little excursions with the two of them, to the library or to the park, or even just outside on our deck. Things were better, but the circumstances hadn’t changed. My thinking had.
How we think frames how we look at life.
Sometimes it’s easy for both kids and adults to fall into a trap of talking negatively to ourselves. We might say:
This is awful
I’m not good at this
I’ll never learn how to do it
We need to re-frame how we are thinking. Instead of being negative, we need to change our thinking and tell ourselves a more positive story
Let me focus on the things that I can control and the things that are going well
I’m just learning how to do this
I haven’t gotten it yet
I need to keep trying
Here’s a great pin I found on Pinterest showing a list of negative self-talk and then changing those statements to positive self talk.
I’m not saying you should never complain. There are plenty of things in life to complain about. I’m just encouraging you to not have that be the only way you think about life. No one wants to talk with someone who complains constantly.
I’ve seen several challenges going on facebook about gratitude, focusing on what went well during a day, or what made you happy during that day. It’s important to think of these things, and encourage your kids to think of these things as well. If you are always looking at things negatively, there’s a possibility of self fulfilling prophecy. You think you can’t do it, you don’t, and then you end up confirming that you can’t do it.
My challenge to you is to think of one positive thing about each day. Ask your kids to name one positive thing that happened for them today. It could be as simple as:
- my coffee was hot and helped me wake up
- my shirt had no stains or holes today
- I chose to eat an apple, not a bowl of ice cream
What is one positive thing that happened today?