Proactive parenting is a positive approach to nurturing the best versions of our kids. Reactive parenting causes our kids to retreat and fear failure. How we respond to the ups and downs of everyday parenting may be the most critical element of successful parenting. With patient, persistent, and positive guidance our children will trust that the directions and correction we give will guide them to happier and more successful lives. Consider the formula of E + R = O. An event plus our response will create an outcome. When our responses are negative to negative events, the outcome is only going to be more negative. Do the math:
-2 + -2 = -4
-2 + 0 = -2
-2 + 2 = 0
-2 + 4 = 2
The trick to this math is to pause between the event (E) and your response (R). Using the “paus-itivity button” can help us to create a proactive response instead of a reactive one. I encourage you to pause when you are peeved and listen with understanding and empathy. Take a knee! I used this example with the kids this morning at Shared Start. When a player is injured on the field we take a knee and pause while the player gets back on their feet. Then we applaud their courage to play on. It also means to get down to their eye level and express understanding and empathy. Listening with understanding and empathy is a part of our emotional intelligence (EQ). Did you know that our EQ has a much more profound effect on success than our IQ? It is reported that 85% of success can be attributed to our human relationship skills versus 15% due to our technical knowledge.
In other words, how we speak to our children has a much more profound effect on parenting than what we speak to our children. Whether the goal is to get out the door in the morning, finishing a meal, sharing with a sibling, or getting ready for bed, our willingness and ability to listen carefully will determine how well we maintain our composure and how cooperative our children will act. Empathy is a powerful tool in any relationship. Using our two ears and one mouth proportionally, will always improve relationships.
“There’s no way to be a perfect mother (or father), and a million ways to be a good one.” – Jill Churchill
“If you judge people, you have not time to love them.” – Mother Teresa
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” – Jesse Jackson
Tips for building this asset (Positive Communication) also means listening to a young person’s perspective, not to advocate your position. Be available when young people need you—and even when they think they don’t. Take good care of yourself so when your children want to talk, you can give them your full attention. Also try these In your home and family:
Make it easy for your child to spend time talking with you. Keep an extra stool or chair in the kitchen, den, home office, or workshop area. When you’re in the car together is a great time to chat, too.In your neighborhood and community: Ask young people you know caring questions, such as: What was the best thing about school today? What was the best act in the talent show? Why? Listen to their answers and respond accordingly. In your school or youth program: During parent meetings, discuss the importance of positive communication between parents and children.