Focus on What You Want
While teaching Marissa to ride her two-wheeler, I kept reminding her to look where she wanted to go. Wherever her eyes went, her bike went.
For instance, when she turned her head to look at the fire hydrant, she rode right into the fire hydrant. When she looked at her sister, the bike veered toward her sister. But when she lifted her chin and eyes and looked straight ahead into the distance, she rode all the way down the sidewalk.
It is the universal Law of Attraction: Your life follows your attention. Wherever you look, you end up going. What you focus on, you get.
This is especially true with parenting.
Many parents say things like, “Don’t talk to me that way” or “Don’t do that to your brother” or “Stop doing that.” They're focused on what they DON’T want instead of what they DO want.
When the child doesn’t change his behavior, it isn’t necessarily because he doesn’t hear his parents or is being defiant. He simply may not know what it is the parent DOES want or how to do it. The parent needs to tell and/or show him what to do instead.
For example, rather than, “Don’t run near the pool!” I say, “You can walk or march around the pool.” Depending on the age of the child, I may add an explanation such as, “We don’t run because the floor is slippery and you could fall.”
I offer alternatives: “We don't throw books. What can we throw? A ball! Right!”
Instead of “No talking when I’m on the phone!” I say, “Mommy’s making a phone call. I need quiet so I can hear.”
Unfortunately, just because you focus on what you want, doesn’t guarantee your child will automatically comply. That’s when limits and consequences come into play.
Too many times I’ve told Dalia, “We don't draw on the walls. We use paper.” The next time she draws on the walls, I know it'll be a test: “Mom keeps telling me we don’t draw on walls. Well, what will happen if I do?”
So, this past Saturday I told her: “The next time this happens, you'll have to clean the walls and you won't be allowed to use the markers for a week.”
I'm not responsible for how she chooses to behave, but I am responsible for how I choose to behave. If I don't follow through with the consequences the next time she draws on the walls, I fail the test she so desperately wants (and needs) me to pass.
This week, take note of the things you focus on. Are they things that you WANT or DON’T WANT? How can you shift your focus in order to create opportunities for change? Leave a comment below and connect with me and other parents.
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