Focused Parenting – One of the Seven Powers in “Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline” by Becky A. Bailey
I was initially prompted to start writing on the topic of focus in relation to parenting and discipline. However, once I started writing, one post evolved into four. Oops. I got carried away.
Focus is a massive topic for me that brings together tonnes of insight and knowledge over the past few years. As soon as I started writing, I was flooded with experiences and all the ways I could communicate this subject and hopefully add value to other peoples’ lives. Even after I’ve posted the previous three posts, I’m continuing to learn more about the power of focus.
The initial intention to start writing about this topic stemmed from a book I came across in my parenting class called, “Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline” by Becky A. Bailey. In this book, she talks about the Seven Powers of Self Control. One of the seven powers is called The Power of Focus.
Throughout the class, I came to realize that I can set my children up for success or failure based on what I choose to focus on. I’m the leader and how I pose my questions, commands or requests will determine which way they behave. Unbeknownst to me, I was setting up Ella to be disciplined unfairly when her actions were really a reflection of my poor focus and leadership rather than her misbehavior or failing to answer my question as I would have liked her to.
Through the power of focus, I am learning to phrase my communication around what I want instead of what I don’t want. For example, instead of saying, “Don’t throw food,” I would say, “Keep the food on the table.” I’m instructing my children based on the positive action that I want to see instead of highlighting the behaviour I’m trying to avoid.
What we focus on expands. You will get more of what you focus on. Compare it to driving: if you’re driving a car on the highway, you focus on where you are going rather than on the streetlights. However, if you fixated on the streetlights, I guarantee you’ll hit one.
A mom in my parent group shared an experience she had with her husband. Before he went grocery shopping, she told him that she didn’t like overripe bananas with brown spots. When he returned, he brought her back overripe bananas with brown spots. We all had a good laugh. But why did he do that? Because that’s what he heard and what stuck in his head. It happens all the time. We say, “Don’t forget to buy bread” and that’s what we exactly do…forget to buy the bread. Instead of saying, “Don’t forget ______” you could say, “Remember ______.” That way, the visual of what we do want remembered stays in the mind.
Let’s put this into practice. With your children, are you focusing on what you want or don’t want? When you are getting upset with them, ask yourself, “Do I want more of this in my life?” If the answer is no, then focus on telling your child what you want them to do instead and why.
This week, start noticing how you talk and think. What are you focusing on? What is one thing you can change in your language to help guide your children more towards what you do want? Most days, I catch myself slightly tweaking my language so I can get more of the behavior I do want. As a result, there is less need to get frustrated or correct misbehavior.
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If you’re interested in my other 3 posts that came out of this one, here they are:
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