I wrote a post a while back called "You Get What You Give". The gist of that post was that if you don't believe you can handle your child's behavior, you won't. Almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. Todays topic is similar in that it is about the atmosphere of our homes.
You've probably have heard the phrase 'we live what we know.' Over the years, I have really come to believe this. I've seen families who live from generation to generation in cluttered homes (this is not a slam on their lifestyle -- just an observation). I've also met families who have constant chaos in their homes. You get the picture (I hope).
Many of these families have asked for help. The parents have expressed their desire for a calm and serene household. Despite their best efforts, however, change is at best minimal. Was it because they weren't trying? No. It was really about the energy they were emitting. Now I'm not talking about energy as in gumption. I'm talking about energy as in, well, for lack of a better word karma.
I know, I know, some of you may think I'm going of the existential deep end. I assure you that I am not (although there are some who might argue this point). For lack of a better example, I must again refer to Cesar Milan and his theory about energy (see this post).
It is my belief that our energy as parents directly translates to our kids and how they relate to life. It certainly has an effect on the energy level in our homes. For example, the parent who is constantly frustrated, overwhelmed, or anxious, likely has kids who respond in a similar way to life's challenges. I have noticed in my own home that when I regularly respond with frustration or anger, my kids do likewise. Conversely, if I make more of an effort to stay positive and react as if their sometimes very frustrating behaviors are not ruffling my feathers (even though I might be pretty pissed on the inside), I am much more likely to get compliance.
Have you noticed that anxious parents often have anxious kids? Or how about the parent who is constantly on the go, e.g., basketball, soccer, piano, etc. Have you noticed that when those kids come over for a play-date, they are always bored unless you are going someplace? What about the parent who is very rigid with their schedule, i.e., "My child must have his nap at 11:00 sharp. We plan all of our outings or activities around our schedule so he doesn't have to experience any changes." How will that type of energy translate into this child's experiences in the real world where we are often thrown curve-balls.
So, my challenge for you today is to consider what type of energy you are emitting with your kids? Are you calm and assertive? Are you anxious? Are you frustrated most of the time? Or perhaps you are just overwhelmed? Do you see any correlations with their behavior or how they respond to you? Post your thoughts and observations. We'll talk next time about some strategies that you can try to help you achieve the energy level you want with your kids...