This is not a new fad. Our grandparents have told us that we are not supposed to think bad or negative thoughts as the ‘Thathasu Devathas’ will be passing around. These Devathas would bless us and the thought would come true. It was a way to guard us from negative thoughts.
Now motivational speakers tell us about the importance of positive thoughts. The book, The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, talks about how positive visualisation helps us achieve our goals. Healers say we can manifest our wishes, heal ourselves when we are surrounded with positive vibrations.
Neuroscience says that every interaction makes connections in our brain, forming neural pathways. If the same action is repeated, then these pathways get stronger. When our actions and words are positive then it would mean, these pathways getting stronger.
So, whether it is neuro science or mythology or motivational thoughts, the message is that positive thoughts are powerful. Our mind and the beliefs we hold have the power to make things happen. All of us agree on this to a certain level.
Are positive thoughts only for selfgrowth, or could it also be the same for parenting? Can we parent by giving positive messages to our children?
Before we think about how to bring positivity into our parenting, let’s understand why we often find ourselves doing and saying things which are not so positive! We parent from fear: The world is a harsh place. I must teach my child to survive in this situation. Let me not mollycoddle my child but push him. It’s for his own good. So, we keep telling the child what is wrong with him.
We lack trust in the child: We do not realise that the child has an inner drive to develop and will blossom and unfold without having to be yelled at by us. Without trust we keep pushing the child rather than appreciating her efforts.
We do not know how to communicate with positivity: We are used to criticising, shaming and scolding children as that’s all we have seen around us.
If we want to parent from positivity it would be helpful to think about these three points. Let’s look at simple everyday situation and how we could handle it.
Take the example of a child who does not do his homework. We nag, threaten and scold. We may get angry and may finally punish or say hurtful things like, ‘You never do your work on time. You are so lazy. You will never succeed in life’. Given what we have discussed above about how pathways are shaped in the brain let us think about how all these messages are stored by the child. I am incapable. I cannot be trusted. I will never do well. Instead we could let go of our fears, trust that every child wants to do her best and focus how we can communicate with the child to create positive motivation.
I can see you are finding it difficult to do this work though you want to do it well. How can I help you? Homework is important and I am leaving you to decide when it will be done. I know you feel happy when your work is done. It’s time to do our work. I am sitting here with my work too. Let’s do this together. I am sure you too would love to get your homework finished and do it well. What help would you like from me?
The child feels the power of the positive thoughts, develops confidence, and gets motivated to do what is needed.
— The writer is a certified parent educator with Parenting Matters, an organisation which empowers parents to build deeper connection in families. To know more about our programs and workshops, look us up www.parenting matters.in