Rake the yard. Clean out the garage. Go through closets. Donate unused items to charitable organizations. Wash windows. You know the drill. It’s called SPRING CLEANING.
But what if spring cleaning took on a new twist this year, one that would benefit your children greatly? What if you cleaned the cobwebs out of your mind? What if you wiped away all the limiting beliefs that keep you from becoming the parent you always wanted to be? What if you cleaned up a broken relationship, mended a mental fence, or reminded yourself about the importance of your role in your child’s life? This spring might just be the ideal time for cleaning up your responsibility as a parent. Consider the ideas below.
Reawaken your curiosity. Clean out your present expectations and your knowing of why your children do things. Return to wonder. Be fascinated by what they do. Let yourself be awed. Allow your curiosity to bloom this spring.
Eliminate judgment. Judgment keeps you from seeing your children clearly. If you judge a child as lazy, you are less likely to see ambitious behavior. If you judge her as uncaring, you will have difficulty noticing her benevolent acts. Clean the lens in your eyes by reducing the number of judgments through which you perceive your children.
Be out of your mind. Use silent times to wash old and useless thoughts from your mind. Resist the urge to overanalyze parenting issues. Stop thinking and cluttering your mind with incessant chatter. Listen to your heart. Follow your intuition. Pick parenting strategies that have your heart in them.
Appreciate the moment. The best present to give your children is to be fully present when you are with them. Throw out thoughts about the future and the past when you interact with your children. There is only one moment to see, feel, express, learn, grow, or heal with your children. This is it. Pitch the rest.
Clean up your schedule. Every child in the world spells love, T-I-M-E. Adjust your priorities. Pick through your list of social and business activities. Get rid of old obligations and habits that prevent you from investing time with your children.
Apologize and begin again. Spring is the time of new beginnings. Do you need to begin again with one of your children? Do you need to make amends? If so, tell him or her what you learned and what you intend to do differently from now on. Then follow through.
Cut down on talking. Reduce your need to explain, lecture, moralize, rationalize, and convince. The first step towards love is to listen. Give your children the gift of your presence by hearing rather that telling, by acknowledging instead of convincing, by understanding rather that jumping to conclusions.
Rework truth. Cleanse your mind of the notion that there is ONE truth. You know your truth. Allow your children to find theirs. Model for your children how you live your truth. Support them in their efforts to find their own truth and encourage them to trust it.
Fix it up. What parenting concerns need to be fixed in your home? Do you need to fix a relationship, the use of the TV and the internet, or a reoccurring stress? Fix your mind first so you are tuned into fixing problems rather than fixing blame. Maintain a solution-seeking mindset as you fix it up this spring.
Give yourself a perception check. Remember, you can choose to see any parenting situation differently from the way you are presently seeing it. Perception is always a choice. Clean up your mind by asking yourself, “Is this way of seeing this problem the one that brings the most light and love to the situation?” Use springtime to enlighten your parenting perceptions and actions.
A thorough spring cleaning of your parenting style could make your home sparkle. It could be like a fresh coat of paint that brightens the exterior and the interior of yourself and your children. It might work like the cleansing combination of adding energy and love to a bucket of soap and water. Brighter, cleaner, healthier family relationships could well be the result of your spring cleaning this year.
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of Parent Talk Essentials: How to Talk to Kids about Divorce, Sex, Money, School and Being Responsible in Today’s World and The Only Three Discipline Strategies You Will Ever Need: Essential Tools for Busy Parents. They are two of the world’s foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free Uncommon Parenting blog. To obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their website today: www.uncommon-parenting.com