Focusing on the good
When you’re in the midst of a heated ‘discussion’ with your kid (no matter their age), I would be willing to bet the last thing you are thinking about is any one of that child’s good qualities. Oh, we’ve all been there. The blind anger you are probably feeling makes everything fade away but that one issue. Grrr! This is the point at which any parent will feel the most challenged. Is there any way to help make this situation any easier? Yes, but it involves you reframing your thoughts, a process which can take some practice. So, homework time.
Yup, I’m going to tell you to do some homework.
These tense, potentially-angered-filled moments are the perfects sorts of situations when it is most helpful to remind yourself of just what it is you admire about your child. Not right at that moment, because that won’t be real. Right now, in the middle of your 'discussion,' it is probably best you just step back and leave the room. I am suggesting instead, every day, at some point when you are comfortable, at ease and able to focus, I am asking you to sit and focus on your child(ren). Think about what you admire about them. Try to write at least three things about that child. And please do, take the time to write these thoughts down. Now, here’s the tough part: repeat the next day. And the next. Soon, it won’t be focusing on the individual qualities; perhaps soon you will be thinking about the three best things you did together that day. This task will get easier and easier, I promise.
Soon, you will notice a difference in your interactions. By focusing on the positive, you will see your child in a different light. You will view them and their opinions differently. And once the kids see your efforts, they will respond in kind. This isn’t an instantaneous reaction, but it will come.
And it will make your efforts worthwhile.