Updated: May 1, 2020
When we operate from the framework that we're looking to catch our kids doing good, there just may be loads of behaviors we no longer take for granted.
I am waking up this morning feeling the sun on my face, seeing buds on the weeping cherry in the front yard, and listening to my kids joke with one another. It's the beginning of week 5 and finding 3 things to genuinely appreciate this morning seems like a triumph.
Trust me, I get it, practicing gratitude when it comes to parenting, is a unique challenge when you're stuck together 24/7 and serving multiple roles: parent, teacher, entertainer, social connector, comforter, chief cleanliness officer, coach, cheerleader, therapist, head chef, and health/safety authority. So here's an idea: watch for the good.
The bad will come whether you're looking for it or not. But sometimes the good is missed because we're so darn desperate for a moment of peace. We NEED our littles to be good. Funny how when we frame the behavior in terms of what's expected or what SHOULD be happening, we run the risk of missing it altogether. But, when we operate from the framework that we're looking to catch them doing good, there just may be loads of behaviors we no longer take for granted. The secret to looking for the good is not to have a list in mind of the behaviors you want to catch them doing but to instead be open to what happens.
Want some examples? That little nuzzle from one of your kids as you stand at the sink washing dishes. Your tween waxing semi-eloquently about the merits of dark over milk chocolate. Siblings peacefully sharing a blanket on the couch while watching a movie
Several years ago now, a mother of a young client of mine was really struggling with feelings of frustration and mental exhaustion with her son. We talked about this idea of finding the good. She elevated it by challenging herself to write something on her calendar every day that her son did that qualified as good or desired behavior. After two weeks, she told me how differently she was seeing her son and consequently, how differently they were relating to each other.
Practicing gratitude can shift how we see the world around us and thereby how we interact with it. In the depths of the storm, it can help us see the good.