My wife, YouTuber LZupp, offers a tip we’ve used with our son.
Any discussion of parenting calls to mind a maxim from Howard Glasser:
“A child’s feeling of self-esteem is centered on the experience for which he/she is noticed most intently.”
If the attention you give to a child is primarily about negative things–corrections, admonishments–that’s where your child’s mind will focus and where their self-esteem will find its foundation.
We performed a profound experiment. Instead of noticing the negative things our son did, we gave attention to the positive things, no matter how small. Glasser lays out more detailed schedule and approach in his book Transforming the Difficult Child, but that was the basic idea.
At first our son was a bit startled by this shift of attention, but over time he got used to it, and we could see his attitude shift as well. He began looking for the good things he was doing and telling us if we didn’t notice! Very cool. And I’d like to think that habit will stay with him, if only a little.
The fascinating thing was how this change in our behavior changed OUR mindset too. To do this exercise, we had to find the positive in our son, we had to focus our minds on what our son was doing right. What a profound experience! And it extended to other areas, not just in raising our son.
Our minds are so geared toward what our children, our ourselves, are doing wrong, it’s difficult to make this switch, but doing so benefits both the receiver and the giver.