“Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.”
Lady Bird Johnson
I had a client once whose was having a very difficult time with her child. The child was about four and was doing all sort of “naughty” things. The parents and the even the siblings were yelling at the child everyday because they were all so frustrated by the bad behavior. During our sessions I realized that everyone in the house expected him to do something “naughty” and he never failed in giving them what they expected. The house was in chaos and the mom just did not know what to do.
We started our sessions and as usual we worked on her child’s strengths and looking for the positive things her child did every day. It wasn’t as easy task but she managed to find some and specifically affirmed him for those good deeds and pretty soon the whole family was involved. When the family starting looking for the positive behavior that was exhibited, the child began to change. Once they expected and looked for the good behavior that is what they received.
For me it was the most clear example I have ever come across of a child living up to expectations. When they expected bad behavior that is what they got and when they expected good behavior, over time, good behavior is what they got. It was amazing to work with this family. In the weeks I worked with them the whole family dynamics changed and this child went from being a literal outcast in the family to once again being a valued, respected and loved member of the family.
What are you expecting your child to be? Are you expecting them to be annoying or whiney or to misbehave? Or are you expecting them to be helpful, respectful and displaying good behavior. Think about it. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the “naughty” behavior and forget to look for the good behavior.
So…Look for your children’s strengths, look for the positive things that they do and then affirm those positives. Let them know that you believe in them and see what happens. You might be surprised.
Have some fun today!