When I first began teaching Positive Discipline, I was taught about the importance of family meetings and how they can bring more connectivity, communication and compassion to your family. We have been holding family meetings for the past few years now and I can definitely attest to all of these benefits, but an additional benefit that I REALLY like is that we start our family meetings by sharing something of which we are grateful. This really sets the tone for our communication, especially if we are to discuss something challenging, and, it teaches the kids to “dig deep” and focus on the good.
In this day and age of “selfie-ness.” it’s important to help our children focus on the positive things in their lives rather than what is missing. Did you know that people who avoid social media are happier than those who use it regularly? This is because we “think” that others have more than we do, are better looking, travel more, etc. etc. If we correlate this with how much time our children are spending on social media we can see how skewed their view may be.
So, how can we help our children and ourselves to focus on gratitude? Here are a few tips to help:
- Model what you want. Try to notice the good, even in difficult circumstances with your child: “My teen is back talking me to death right now, but I AM grateful that she has a mind of her own.” Or “My child is being REALLY difficult right now, but aren’t I lucky to have this child in my life?”
- Create rituals for your family around grace. If you are having family meetings, use the suggestion above to start them. Get to the point where children know that they’ll need to focus on the good.
- Each night ask your child about the best thing that happened to them that day (and the worst too if you like). Even in the face of the worst day ever it is possible to find something to be grateful for and this is a nice way to be connected.
- And finally, tell your child how grateful you are for them. You may be surprised someday when you hear this gratitude given to you in return.
I hope this helps!