As parents we are always planting, sowing and harvesting seeds through our actions and behaviors. We want to be sure we are planting seeds we want to see flourish, and not weeds that we will have to yank up later.
Plant the Seeds of Calm: We need to manage our anger (not eradicate, or pretend it isn’t there). Click for a 3 part blog posting about anger. We help our kids identify and manage their anger as well. Not ‘letting’ kids get angry is not getting rid of their anger - it’s usually planting seeds of feeling suppression (eek!). Calm grows in a soil of routine and predictibility with lots of buffer space in our calendar, our clutter and our minds.
Plant the Seeds of Independence: Chores and self-care are great ways to sow the seeds of independence. Be aware we must be willing to endure our kid’s mistakes as they are learning. Independence comes at the cost of trial and error, mess and slowness. Best if they make a bunch of cheap mistakes when we are around to help them clean up. We don’t want to send them off to college and have to experience the inevitable hard knocks of life with no experience.
Plant the Seeds of Order: Routine is a calming, relationship building, overlooked, hard to start, irritating to maintain parenting tool. AND, we would all be well served with solid, reasonable, respectful, age appropriate routines. The up front effort to start a routine is immense AND pays off in spades when you magically find your child mindlessly unpacking their lunch box and plopping their tupperware in the dishwasher (it can happen!).
Plant the Seeds of Connection: Connection comes through communication. The most important and overlooked kind of communication is listening. Our kids behave from what they think and believe, the don’t behave from what we told them to think and believe, and they don’t behave from what we think they think and believe. Best way to change/modify/impact behavior - find out what they think and believe by asking open ended questions and listening.
Plant the Seeds of Love: Have fun together! I believe the glue of long lasting relationships is problems and fun. Life throws us problems - no need to go and create anymore, but FUN we need plan form, make time for and be open to. Anchor your weekends with a goody or two - maybe a family walk in the park for you and a lunch at Chuck E. Cheese for them. A good laugh over a tv show or a hilarious YouTube video can give you stress relief, bonding and something fun to talk about besides how controlling you are and how messy they are.
Plant the Seeds of Discipline: Discipline and freedom go hand in hand. Some of us a are too stingy with the freedom and some are too lax about the discipline. We want to balance these two out. When we give a freedom, what’s the new responsibility and when we hand over a responsibility, where is the new freedom? Click here for some examples on HOW to do this!
Plant the Seeds of Growth: It’s a paradox, the more our kids need us, the more we need to focus on self-care. When things get stressful we need to double down on taking care of ourselves. It feels selfish, and it’s really the best energy source so that we can continue planting, sowing, tending and harvesting all our little seeds. Click here for some quick self-care tips.
Weeds to AVOID Planting: Yelling, nagging, reminding, rescuing, enabling, scolding, punishing, permissiveness, making excuses, doing things for kids they can do for themselves, pity, solving other peoples problems, worrying, ignoring problems, not taking care of ourselves, awfulizing.
When we focus on what we WANT to see we will watch our little family flourish and grow!