Emotions are one of those wild and uncontrollable things that I don’t think many people have a great understanding of. Part of this lack of understanding in everyone is that we really didn’t get started on the knowledge, information, tools, and processes that are required to properly incorporate these understandings into our daily lives. Without this level of understanding, we aren’t always sure how to work with people’s emotions.
A very important part of building a solid foundation, with easy tools that your kids can default to in rough times, is getting them started in their early childhood development and understanding of their feelings. There are three ways that have been very effective in helping my kids in this process.
No.1: Positive To Negative Ratio
This is something that has come out as part of the positive psychology movement in the last couple of decades and it’s the positive to negative ratio. This basically says that for every one negative thing that you do, say, or experience, there needs to be five positive things to counteract or do away with that negative experience.
That’s how powerful negative experiences are on our lives and feelings. So if the first thing you do when your kids get up in the morning is yell at them, guess what? You are already five positive things in the hole. Chances are they aren’t going to react positively back to you either. This is an overall bad start to what could otherwise be a good day.
It just goes to show that starting out positive and helping out in that way is a much better choice. Sure, it can be darn hard to do, but is a much better option. Your best bet is to learn how to be more positive in your life first.
No.2: Notice The Good
The next time your child is building something with blocks, sticks, or just working with construction paper, take a different approach to talking with them. Instead of saying, “hey, you cut out of the lines” say, “hey those are some good shapes you’ve made there.” Another examples is to say, “hey you are using the scissors very well.”
Find a way to build them up instead of knocking them down. I’m not saying to fill them full of fluff and to not teach them how to do things. I am saying that you should make every attempt to build them up and help them figure out the right way to do things. This is also a wonderful way to bump up your positive to negative ratio.
No.3: Praise The Process
Try to stay away from labels at all costs. Labels are very, very powerful, especially at such a young age. Look at how many children, even adults, think they are “stupid,” “fat,” or even think “I can’t do this.” This is all because they’ve been told that from a young age and they’ve believed it all this whole time.
An example of the right thing to do instead would be, stop saying “hey you are so creative” and instead say “I really like the colors you’ve picked to use there.” Praise the process instead of the end result and you will help them out for the better.
Help Your Kids Grow Today
I want you to work on your kids childhood development by upping the positives and downing the negatives so you have a higher ratio and they have a more fulfilling life. Start noticing the good and start praising the process.
While you are at it, why don’t you start a ‘negatives jar?’ For every negative you say, put a penny in the jar, or better yet put five pennies. I don’t want you to take any out for any positive you say, but instead I want you to see them add up so you can start that awareness of the negatives that are flying around.
With that awareness you can start taking care of your kids’ feelings that much better. You’d be doing a real good thing to start helping them with a better understanding of how YOU work, too.