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Change the way you think

November 8, 2010

Hayden showing me what sad looks like

I am reading the book “Easy to Love Difficult to Discipline”,  by Dr. Becky Bailey and am probably going to do a lot of posts about this book as I reflect on what I am reading. One thing that I would like to talk about is the way we think. It is easy to always think bad thoughts, since life is almost always full of stress. In this book, Dr. Bailey says it is important to catch your thoughts and ask your self are these thoughts helpful? For example, if you are thinking my husband is such a jerk, your mind will go through the files in your brain and pull up every instance where your husband has been a jerk. This just makes you even more mad, or annoyed about something that may have triggered the thought to begin with.  It works the same way with the positive. If you think my husband is so loving and helpful you will think of all the times that he has done something nice for you. This can really calm you down and make you think about the good things in life. All to often I dwell on the bad and throw little pity parties for myself. This is really not a healthy way to think, so I am working on asking myself “are these thoughts helpful or hurtful?” by doing this I can easy change what I am thinking to something more positive which makes me happier. My inner monologue can really be negative sometimes, especially if I’m tired and stressed out. This little excercise has really been helping to pull me out of some really pessimistic moments! Which makes me a happier person and in return makes me a better parent, since I’m not on the edge of blowing up over nothing.

I am even trying to do a bit of this with Hayden, but in a vocal way. Lets say he hits his brother, I will ask him ” was that action helpful or hurtful?” if he does not answer, I will point out the emotion Elliot is felling by saying something like this, “you can see Elliot’s face is all turned down and he is crying, he must be sad or hurt.” usually then Hayden can answer that his actions were hurtful. Hayden is very good and reading people’s emotions, so often he can answer right away without talking about the emotion.

Sometimes I think he can read me to easily! If I wake up grumpy or get frustrated about something he will often, say “don’t be mad at me” which always makes me check my emotion. I will often explain that Mommy is just tired and then give him a smile to let him know that I am not mad at him. It makes me feel badly that my child can read these expressions and think they are directed towards him, when most of the time they are not. So that is where this “change of thought” comes into my everyday life! Our children learn from us and usually become little carbon copies of us. If you don’t like something about yourself and really do not want your children to have the same traits, then try to change. There are Two things that are constant in life, learning and change, so take advantage of both!

Hayden showing me what happy looks like

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2010 4:28 am

    That is really good advice, to be mindful of what path your thoughts are going to lead you down, and to be able to go in a different direction. In that book I was talking about before, Playful Parenting, he talks about how when parents react to a behavior problem in anger (eg yelling or spanking), that is simply the parent throwing their own tantrum because things aren’t going their way. I’m learning that so much about discipline is simply having patience and learning to control my own emotions so they don’t get in the way of what I’m trying to teach Adeline.

    Adeline is also very good at reading people’s emotions. The worst is when she says, “Mommy are you mad at me?” and I really AM mad at her! Then I feel so guilty that I haven’t been able to be the adult and control how I express my emotions or channel them in a different direction.

    • November 10, 2010 2:32 pm

      I decided to check that book out (playful parenting)! I just got it and cannot wait to start reading it, but first I need to finish the other one. If you want to borrow my book when I’m finished just let me know and I can send it your way. I agree with you in the parent freak out department, it really is all about patience. My book suggests taking 2-3 deep breaths when you feel yourself ready to flip out about something. It also says that if you do freak out to forgive yourself. Guilt only makes you permissive, because then you want to just please the child. There will always be another opportunity to teach! Conflict equals opportunity to teach! I say this, because I also feel guilty when I am mad and my child and he can clearly read it. So I have been trying to forgive myself for those little tantrums I sometimes have. We are not going to change overnight and it is a step forward just by being able to recognize the things we would like to change (our tantrums, thoughts, guilty feelings, etc.)Parenting is definately one of the hardest things to do, but it is so rewarding!

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