As parents, we tend to get attached to outcomes like finished homework and completed chores. Everything about our kids’ behavior from the moment they wake up or walk in the door becomes an important indicator of their future (not to mention our success as parents.) Occasionally, we tend to lose the forest for the trees.
So try writing down a question like: “What’s Important Here?” or “What’s Important at this Moment?” Keep it where you can see it, like on the refrigerator or over the kitchen ‘desk’ area. When you find yourself getting aggravated at one more incomplete task, take a breath and ask yourself the question. In fact, it may be important that the trash goes out immediately. Or, it may be that your child has had a rough day, needs a boost to her self-esteem, or is finally getting something done on her homework. Before you focus in on what is wrong, what can you find that is going right? What affection or affirmation can you give BEFORE you re-direct your child? Or, in the grand scheme of things, with all your child is managing that day, is the re-direction necessary?
When we let some things slide, the pay-off in self-esteem is usually well worth it.