Thursday, May 14, 2015

Making Positive Changes

All of our children's behavior is a direct result of our behavior. They are a reflection of our actions, and they cannot, repeat CANNOT- are completely incapable of- making any positive changes until WE change our behavior and outlook. Maybe that means we do some reading and self-reflection, maybe that means we go to see a counselor, but whatever it is, the focus needs to be on changing ourselves instead of changing our children.
Yes, as parents we do have a responsibility to help our kids become the best adults they can be, but we do that by being a living example to them. Not by trying to manipulate them into being something we're not. (Example, we can't reasonably expect a child to learn patience and respect if we're not modeling that for them every day.)
Inevitably, when we start making positive changes in ourselves there comes the time when we will think, "I've been so positive and worked so hard for so long; why is my child still behaving the way they did before?"
To understand that we need to understand the parent-child relationship is involuntary on the child's part. They are completely trapped in this relationship with us. If they feels unhappy, neglected, abused, etc, they are helpless to leave and too immature to know how to effectively change the dynamic of the relationship. It makes trust a very delicate thing. Try to put ourselves in their shoes. If we were literally trapped in a bad marriage, how would you feel if our partner treated us the way we treat our children and we had no autonomy? For our entire lives this is all we've known.
Now imagine our partner became more respectful, patient, loving, etc. How long would it take to rebuild that trust? How long would they have to continue to act that way before we really believed it was permanent? That is why when we make positive changes to our behavior it will always take much longer for our children to follow suit.

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