Mindset plays a huge role in the parent-child relationship. Parenting is hard; as such, our mindset can make it even harder.
Children are always watching us. We serve as models for them as they learn to navigate this world. Think about how you show up and what attributes you embody that your children learn from you. How do you approach the day-to-day tasks? What kind of perspective and mindset do you bring? How does your language either exemplify or contrast this perspective?
Whether it is a “good” day or a “hard” day, our children are watching. They notice how we react and respond, whether it is a positive experience or some form of adversity that we are challenged with. Positive language and how we frame a situation can make a significant difference in the indirect messaging our children receive from us. We all have days that are more challenging than others; it is how we respond to and engage with the challenge that is key. What mindset do you bring to the challenges you experience? What does your inner dialogue sound like? Do you focus on what the challenge offers in terms of your own growth? Imagine if our children approached challenges like so.
Albert Ellis—Founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy—says that it is not the situation that causes our emotional experience, but rather, what we tell ourselves about that situation that causes our emotional experience.
How does the way you think about a situation create your emotional experience? And how does this inform your child? Oftentimes the way we speak both internally and externally can inform our emotional experience. A prime example of this is when we think of exercise. When we think “I have to [fill in the blank with your preferred method of movement],” we usually feel negative toward the activity. However, if we reframe our internal dialogue to “I get to [fill in the blank with your preferred method of movement],” we usually feel excited and positive toward the activity. We can use this method of thinking for anything, even when making dinner for our family, doing the laundry, or other tasks.
How we show up for ourselves holds a great deal of weight. What do you tell yourself that is rooted in more negative, unhealthy, and irrational beliefs? How can you transition these beliefs to more positive, healthy, and rational ones? If you shift your perspective as the model, what kind of implications will this have for the younger eyes and ears?
Our past often makes itself present by affecting our current mindset. When the past keeps coming up, it can be overwhelming. Relinquish the past, for yourself and your children. Reminding your children of what happened in the past or thinking about it yourself undermines the present. Live in the here and now. And set your perspective with intention, realizing how it transcends generationally through modeling.