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zen habits: December's Habit: Positive Parenting

Thursday, November 30, 2006

December's Habit: Positive Parenting

Every day this month, all month long, I will be trying to become a better parent. My habit for the month will be to become a more positive parent, using "positive parenting" techniques rather than negative, destructive ones that have been my habit in the past.

I was raised to believe that yelling and spanking are the ways to discipline a child. That's the culture I come from, here on Guam, although in truth my mom was not much of a yeller or a spanker. She was a very positive parent, and in fact she's my role model this month.

As a father of six children, I have been very much into discipline, and I expect my kids to do what I say. I do yell, when I get angry, and I spank on occasion, although I never feel good about that. It has been my intention for quite some time to change these habits, as I do not think they are the best way to show my children I love them, or to develop them as human beings.

My goal for this month is to have zero (0) yellings or spankings each day in December, to praise or talk gently to each child at least once each day, and to show my love and affection for each child at least once per day. Regardless of their behavior.

If I fail, I won't beat myself up about it, but I will analyze what went wrong, and what obstacles stand in my way of success, and find ways around those obstacles and strategies to succeed.

Each day I will try to log my success/failure in each of the above measurements of my goal, and at the end of each week I will evaluate my progress so far.

Using my experience from quitting smoking and running and waking early, I will use the following strategies:

1 Commitment: Posting this to my blog is putting this commitment in writing. I will also share this month's habit with family members, and with my children, making them a promise to achieve this goal this month.

2 Motivation: My motivation is simple -- my children, and their self-esteem, and their happiness. I will put pictures of them up in front of me to remind me of my motivation. Also, as a reward for a week of success, we will go out for a treat each weekend.

3 No Slipups: While I cannot be perfect, I will do my best not to have any slipups, preventing myself from receeding back into my old habits. I will focus on each interaction with my children, trying to be a more positive, loving father.

4 Support: I will look for support from my wife, my children and my mom.

5 Delay: If I feel myself getting angry, I will STOP, take a deep breath, count to 10, and go somewhere else where I can cool down and then speak to them calmly, and hopefully positively.

6 Replace Negative Habits with Positive Habits: I may not know that much about positive parenting, but I will read up on it. I have a book on it, and I will research some websites and post some of my favorite findings and tips. I will list the positive habits, as I learn about them, and try to implement them as part of my daily goal of being positive and loving towards each child.

7 THINK POSITIVE: I can do this, and I can be positive!

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