"How to create happy children with a Tantrum of Thankfulness."October 16, 2009 by Mike Strawbridge
In my research on potty training for our potty training course, I have learned that children respond to the emotions of their parents and care takers. In further research, I have learned that in all relationships, the most important step you can take in creating a successful relationship is to be happy yourself.
All people are attracted to happiness. This trait is most easily observed in children who have not yet learned to suppress their emotions.
The most important gift that you can give your child is your own happiness. When you are happy yourself, you will naturally be more patient, kind and loving toward your child. You don’t have to work at it, the love just flows naturally when you are happy.
Too many parents think that once they have children, pursuing their own happiness is selfish and something to feel guilty about. Neglecting your children while pursing your happiness may be something to feel guilty about; however, there are many ways to create your own happiness and provide care for your children at the same time.
Children need love and happiness as part of their nutritional requirements. They cannot grow and develop to their full potential unless they receive adequate love and attention.
Parents who are filled with happiness and who think happy thoughts the majority of the time are in a much better position to provide the nurturing environment that children need to grow and develop. Finding your own happiness is the first step in creating a happy child.
Dr Wayne Dyer suggests in his books that you can choose your emotions. You simply choose to feel angry or choose to feel happy. While I love his writings, I have had trouble practicing that suggestion. What works better for me is to choose thoughts that allow the happy emotions to flow naturally.
For example, when my dog was injured, there was no way I could feel happy about his injury. However, after a great deal of prayer and meditation, I was able to slowly begin to find things about the episode that I could feel better about. By slowly changing my thoughts from sadness and anger to thankfulness and expectation, I was eventually able to feel happy again about my dog.
And just like a child, my dog has responded to my thoughts and emotions. While I was sad, he moped around and looked awful. As my mood improved, he began to get more active and is now again the feisty puppy that I enjoy spending time with.
Because children respond so visibly to your emotions, it is your duty as a parent to be as happy as you can be. Seeking your own happiness is not selfish, but the act of a loving and responsible parent.
Over the years, I have observed many child behavior issues that we very obviously linked to the unhappiness of the parents. Well, it was obvious to everyone except the parents of these children. They kept looking for someone else to blame for their children’s problems. They continued to create more unhappiness for their children and everyone involved.
So, if you notice undesirable behavior in your own children, take a moment to look inside yourself before you start looking for someone else to blame. Are you happy? If not, take steps to address your own emotions before you start to work with your children’s behavior problems.
As an engineer, I was very good at the identify a problem, find a cause, remove the cause, there’s your solution kind of problem solving method. But in my work with children, I have found that this method is ineffective.
A better method is to simply identify and express the desired behavior and then encourage it. I call this the “creative intention” method of problem solving.
We can leave the cause finding to the research scientists. As parents, we just want happy well behaved children.
And the first step in creating happy children is to find happiness ourselves. Creative intention works especially well in finding ways to create more happy thoughts in your life and in the life of your children.
In every situation, there is always something good to be thankful for. Those of us who are accustomed to finding problems that need a solution will need to practice a bit before we can easily and quickly see the good in every situation. You may want to find someone who is naturally optimistic to mentor you.
But with practice we all can learn to think thoughts that will create happy feelings.
One quick exercise that can help is throwing a “Tantrum of Thankfulness.” We all know that two year olds can express a lot of emotion is a short period of time so let us use that example to create more of what we want and less of what we don’t want.
Set a timer for three minutes. During that time think of as many things as you can to be thankful for. Write them down, speak them aloud or just think about them. I like to do opposites: “I am thankful for sunshine, I am thankful for rain.” Get as animated as possible while doing this exercise. Jump around, sing, yell, do whatever you can to experience the emotion of passionate thankfulness.
Get your children involved in the game. Really listen to what they are thankful for. If they don’t understand the concept of “thankful” just ask what makes them happy. Don’t make any judgments, just go with what they say.
I prefer to do this exercise with my dog as my children are older and think I am crazy. My dog just enjoys the company.
Whenever you find unhappy thoughts creeping in, just throw a “tantrum of thankfulness.” If it is not appropriate to throw a tantrum right there – like waiting in line at the post office - just remember the last tantrum you threw. Experience the happiness in your mind and smile.
The greatest gift you can ever give to anyone is that of your own happiness. Guard it with all your might and seek new ways to create happiness everyday.
Teach your children how to be happy. Create a happy world for all of us one happy child at a time.
Mike Strawbridge is the owner of Straw Solutions Performance Improvement Consulting and is dedicated to creating happy business owners and happy employees.
Mike is also a contributing writer for the Potty Training Site ==> http://www.pottytrainingsite.com
For more Child Development tips see http://pottytrainingsite.blogspot.com
Mike Strawbridge October 16, 2009
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