Before we get started here, I want to remind you that I am FAR from perfect. I think we’re doing a really good job at coming to terms with the fact that we’re all a hot mess. Regardless, I want to mention that the things I talk about are based off of years of experience and research. Motherhood is a ton of trial and error anyway isn’t it? One of the many things I love about blogging is the ability to share what I’ve learned with my readers and support them like I would any of my closest friends.

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  1. Model happy and positive behavior
    • Take care of yourself: I don’t just mean the fun things like salon days and getting dressed in the morning. Take care of you self esteem, your mental health, and your physical health.
    • There are many things you can do to support a growth mindset, but the most influential person in their early lives is you. I think so many adults demand respect and communication from children who are taught to react and yell. I’m a firm believer that you teach people how to treat you by your own behavior. Children are no different.
      • My kids (bless them) are very in touch with their emotions. By no means do they have a handle on them, but they’re aware of what they’re feeling and I’m still debating whether this is a win for me or not.
      • Something we are big on in our home is asking, “Is it okay to be angry/upset?” – they respond with yes – “Is it okay to be mean?” – They respond with no. We think it helps them think critically about how they’re behaving. It doesn’t help 100% of the time. Kid’s are all over the place, man! We do have quite the success rate with it.
      • Tell them how they make you FEEL – whether it’s frustrated, confused, happy, excited, proud, intrigued, hurt… talking about your feelings instead of scolding their behavior seems to also change the way they approach confrontation as well. In my experience, they either apologize for how they’re making you feel or go on to talk about THEIR feelings – this is a DEFINITE win in my book.
      • Show appreciation for when they practice a growth mindset. Acknowledge that it takes a lot of effort to think positively.
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  2. Teach them to practice gratitude  – something as simple as asking them what they’re grateful for a few nights a week.
    • Always write thank you letters when you receive a gift!
    • Teach them to thank people for coming out to their parties.
    • Encourage sibling love and bonding.
    • Thank them for being mindful!View More: http://wearetheartistphotography.pass.us/melinda--beach-session
  3. CATCH THEM WHEN THEY’RE GOOD!!!
    For so many of us, it’s easy to default to punishing our kids to try and correct behavior. Positive parenting is, quite frankly, a lot of freaking work. Honestly, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to learn. When we are frustrated, fed up, or just tired, it’s hard to think of how to structure the way we discipline our kids to support positive parenting. I still have quite a lot of work to do in this area, but here are few things that help me move further away from toxic parenting practices like yelling, nagging, and scolding.

    • Keep calm – that might seem obvious, but it is a very mindful practice. Take a few deep breathes or a step back when you feel yourself becoming emotional.
    • Be mindful of your wording – There  is so much power in our words. You can really hurt or help not only your ability to teach your children, but you will hurt your relationship as well if you’re constantly using negative wording.
    • Allow them to be in their feelings – Let’s be real… some adults are unable to handle their own emotions. Why do we expect our children to do so? The only way they’ll learn to handle big emotions is if we let our children experience them and talk about how they’re feeling WITH them.Duso Wedding-57
  4. Teach them to appreciate constructive criticism. Here’s the thing… Mistakes are inevitable. I make mistakes ALL THE FREAKING TIME. This is another area you can teach by example. When they’re upset with something you’ve done or said, ask “How can I improve?” or “Do you have any feedback?” and then teach them to do the same.
    • Use a kind and firm tone when giving and receiving constructive criticism.
    • Redirect them instead of only pointing out their mistake.
      “Instead of doing ________ maybe try it this way instead.”

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  5. Encourage them to work together and to put their siblings first.
    • Despite common belief, constant fighting and bickering does NOT have to be the norm – it’s not completely inevitable but let’s have an early intervention on healthy conflict resolution. Siblings (if they have them) are the first real social relationship our kids will have; Teaching them to be kind and supportive of each other will make it easier to cultivate these qualities with their peers later on.

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  6. Be their friend.
    I used to think it was impossible to be your kid’s friend. I’m definitely their mama first, but man do I love hanging out with these kids. When we have a moment to hang out, we indulge in several different activities together.

    • game nights
    • movie nights
    • walks
    • cook together
    • nap together

My kids will be 7 and 10 this year. By no means am I an expert in parenting or a growth mindset for that matter… but after nearly 10 years of repeating myself I am starting to really see the benefits of my consistency in these areas.

I hope you all find this useful. If you do, I would love for you to share this post with your friends and family! It really helps me out!

Until next time,

Mel

Some of the photos in this post are curtousy of some amazing photographers! We Are the Artist Photography, Monique Josephine Photography, Elias Pasillas Photography, and Kiss Me Again Photography

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