Today’s focus is on being POSITIVE! This is a very important trait to pass on to your children – did you know that negativity can be “inherited” by your children? They really do model your outlook on life!
There can be PHYSICAL reasons and PSYCHOLOGICAL reasons for not being positive – I urge you to talk to your medical provider, and a mental health care professional if you are depressed! This post is more about just the day-by day ways we look at our lives! Not to be confused with situations that need medical help!
So, you may be reading this and thinking, yes, I have been rather negative lately…So I ask you, what kind of negative person are you? I think there are different kinds of negative people, and I have listed a few types here I thought of off the top of my head:
THE WOE-IS-ME type: Nothing ever goes right, no matter how hard I try! Life has dealt me so many bad things and I can’t overcome it! In parenting, I think this often manifests itself as talking about oneself, how “horrible” one’s child and spouse are even when things are not that bad (and I am not talking here about spousal abuse and other dire situations of emotional and physical abuse!) This is more a type of magnifying the day-to-day things that happen.
THE DRAMA QUEEN: Every small thing that happens is fodder to be talked about, discussed, dissected for days and days. The Drama Queen has a vortex-like pull and pulls everyone down around her.
THE GRUMP: Chronically angry, chronically sad and may not even realize that this is how they view things. They may even say things like, “I am just realistic, that’s all!” Personally, I don’t want to live in your reality! I think people who just complain but then don’t do anything to change their situation would also fit here in this category.
What other types can you think of? I am sure we could come up with some great “category names” for types of negative people! But how sad when our children have to live with this negativity and lack of confidence and joy day after day!
If you have been in a “negative slump” what can you do to change it?
What would you need in your life to be “happy” and if you got this, would you truly be happy or not? Think about this one carefully!
That is for you to answer, because you and you alone hold the power to this, but here are a few things that have helped other mothers that I have heard:
- -Positive self-talk – in other words, learning how to use our words to NOT magnify a situation. Focusing on solving the problem rather than just the complaint of it all. Keep track and see how many times I day you say, “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t have done that”.
- -Inner work – Many positive mothers do have a strong spiritual life.
- -Encouragement! When our children are learning to crawl and their little arms collapse and they bonk themselves in the head, we don’t say, “Well, you did great but next time keep your arms straight!” which is what we tend to say to older children trying something for the first time. How many words of encouragement are you giving your children each day? How many times do you encourage your spouse or do you just nag and tell him all the negative things when he walks in the door?
- -Taking care of oneself – Are you overweight? Do you exercise? How do you eat? And most importantly, are you getting enough rest at night and are you taking a daily quiet time?
- -A Support System – this is so important; many mothers are very isolated! Sometimes this isn’t bad and the mom functions just fine within her nuclear family, but if you are an outgoing person like me, you may need some outside contact….which leads me to:
- -Do you have any community at all? A religious community, a spiritual community, a neighborhood community, a homeschooling community?
- Lastly, this is one of my favorite Christian resources for positive mothering, dealing with anger and other issues: http://www.positivemom.com/ It may not speak to everyone, but for some of you it may provide encouragement!
Leave your thoughts and inspiration for other mothers in the comment section!
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printing this one out, Carrie 🙂
Carrie, thanks for a great post. I especially appreciate the idea of social support– what a difference a listening ear can make! I am the author of the book, Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking, and as much as the book is about kids, it’s really about helping parents break free from their own negative patterns so that kids can earn new adaptive skills.
One skill is what I call “specificizing” or “right-sizing” a problem. Negative thinking exaggerates and magnifies a small situation– “I forgot to get a few items at the store” and turns it into an overwhelming situation– “everything is out of control, or, I’m so disorganized, everything is going wrong, or even, I’m a bad mom!”
Specificizing is about shrinking the problem back to the original source– I need mayonnaise! (or something) and then brainstorming what to do about that problem.
To learn more, please check out http://www.freeingyourchild.com.
Here’s to less negativity all around!
Making mindful attempts to be positive is something I have worked on over the past few years, and I feel so much better when I adjust my attitude to be more positive! Mind over matter, I tell myself.
My four yr old has been in a negative slump for awhile now… arguing with anything and everything that is said. I have been wording things very carefully and not making small talk with her to try to avoid arguments. Sometimes she almost tricks me into it though, like tonight she asked me for the second time, “What’s for dinner?” When I answered, she said, “No, it’s not” – even though I was the one making the dinner! It is hard to remain positive with the near-constant arguing. Even when I remain positive, the arguing continues… I am not sure why. I have been thinking about many of the topics covered in this blog and wondering if there would be some way I could use fantasy to move through these arguments… I’d like to just not answer her (knowing that much of the time, she will argue with me), but for such simple questions as “What’s for dinner,” I don’t know that I can avoid giving an answer without coming across as rude.
I also wonder how it works when one parent tries to be positive while the other tends to be more negative… if that confuses the children. Of course, it is better than having both parents being negative!
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Can you please comment on how you reconcile the need for young children to be at home the majority of the time with mom’s need to avoid social isolation? I think you have addressed this before but I’m needing a refresher.
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