Use Positivity in Negative Situations

Positivity involves more than just having a positive outlook; it is also about remaining positive in negative situations. Here is an example:

A mother considered herself a positive person because she was naturally upbeat and smiled a lot, but she hadn’t realized that she was only positive and upbeat when things were going well.

She started thinking about her three-year-old son and realized that she often was negative with him when she was feeling stressed. She made a conscious decision to work on her positivity to see if being positive in negative circumstances would be more effective than nagging and getting stern.

One day, just as they were about to leave the house, she noticed that her little boy had dragged all the pillows off the family room couch and put them in piles on the floor. They often put the pillows together to build things for fun, but this time she was angry that there was an unexpected mess on the floor.

Because of her son’s impromptu pillow-building, they were going to have to spend precious time cleaning up a room that she had already tidied—and just when they were in a hurry to get out the door. She took a deep breath and suppressed her first instinct to bark a series of orders: “Clean this up now! You made this mess after I had already cleaned and now you need to clean it up yourself—fast—because we have to leave.”

Instead, she deliberately searched for a more positive route. She looked for some way to acknowledge her son’s efforts and said, “You have really been creative here! Tell Mommy about what you’ve made.”

The youngster told her that he had made a butterfly house and then he shared his thinking. He told her about where the butterfly would live and all the different rooms in the butterfly house. It took two minutes to hear and admire his creation. He then happily joined her in putting the pillows back on the couch.

The mother was amazed by this experience. The two minutes she spent listening to her little boy was less time than she normally would have spent demanding he put the cushions back. In the past, the boy’s reaction to her scolding was to shut down and become upset and difficult.

The experience was an eye-opener for her. She found that a positive approach took some thinking on her part but that the results were well worth the effort. She had spent less time than she would have otherwise, had preserved a good relationship, and both she and her son left the house in a good mood.

She learned that disciplining children using a positive approach is really quite simple and becomes even easy as you become more positive in your own self-talk. By making this one basic shift in your parenting, you will immediately see changes in how your children of any age respond. Your children will feel better about themselves—and about you. They will become cooperative, you will feel less stress, and the relationship will improve.