What would it be like if our family was perfect? Not the sort of perfect that doesn’t allow mistakes, conflicts or individual differences, but the sort of perfect as in, ""Life is good, we have great kids and we’re doing a pretty decent job of parenting them and we have fun most of the time".
If that were the case, what would it look like for your family? The answer to this question is illustrated in one of the exercises we do wherein we look into ourselves for answers to many questions that arise in our day to day life as parents, and more importantly as a family.
Close your eyes for a moment (yes, right after you read the rest of this paragraph), visualize your family cooperating and working well as a team, what are they doing? What are they saying? What’s the attitude or tone of voice that you and your children are using? Use all five of your senses to really experience your family happy and cooperative. What did you see? How did it feel to visualize everyone getting along?
Many parents report that it’s a new experience. So often we focus on what we don’t want. "I don’t want to yell, I don’t want them to fight and I don’t want them to ignore me". Instead we need to constantly place our focus and our energies on what we do want to see. Visualize them talking to each other (and you) in a respectful tone, hear them resolving conflicts by talking it out, listening to each other, coming to an agreement and feel the feeling that happens when they listen to you when you make a request.
Many families are basically happy. The problem is that the parents don’t know it! We are trained in our society to be overly self-critical, to complain, to be stressed and to never have enough or be enough. Since we are so consumed by the things that we don’t want, typically we are not even aware of what we do want.
Your family may be perfectly happy and if you have never taken the time to visualize (and therefore be able to identify) good times, you may not recognize them when they show up! Take some time this week or this month, to visualize family perfection. This exercise is not just for parents! Ask your children to close their eyes and imagine the family cooperating and working as a team. It is quite interesting to hear their ideas of family harmony!
Be persistent in keeping your focus towards what you do want. Sometimes parents are so frustrated and at their wit’s end from the negative behavior, that it is difficult or even impossible to visualize the positive. With this exercise, let us promise ourselves and take another step towards positive parenting!
Savitha Kannan, from Mumbai-India, is an aspiring writer, mother of a 4 year old and a homemaker wanting to share a few thoughts about positive parenting in the 21st century.