Dr. Rich Patterson

Being Positive During Negative Times

Let’s face it, in general, the human psyche default is to the negative.  Never is that so obvious as it is during difficult times.  The times when it seems like your kids aren’t listening, won’t listen and things just keep getting worse.  Staying positive during the negative times requires tenacity.  Tenacity is a resolve, a firmness in the form of determination to keep things going on the high side instead of the low side of emotions.  It requires that we be tenacious in our affirmations when things are sliding the other way.

Let’s say your having a conversation with your child about something they want to do that just isn’t safe or a good idea in general.  The conversation quickly turns negative when they insist that they be able to do this thing they want to do.  Then, right then, you have a choice to stay positive and not allow the emotion of the situation to take advantage of you.  It may require that you suspend the conversation for a few minutes even.  Then be sure to come right back to it as soon as possible.  By taking the high road we demonstrate to them a higher level of behavior as an adult.  It will serve as an example for them as they grow and develop into their own person.  How many times do you remember something that your parents did and as you open your mouth, out comes some of their words?  Are they good words, or words that push towards over-correcting and negativity?

Kids so often model their parents, even when we’re sure that they will not.  Later in life, you will have the opportunity to watch them with their kids and you will see you examples being demonstrated with their kids.  I like to think of this as high flying or low flying.  The negative times are low flying and they attract low flying thoughts, words, and behaviors.  Often because of frustration we over-react, or in our efforts to make something happen we just jump, as if by default, to the negative.  If we can keep ourselves on the high flying side of thoughts, words, and behaviors we set a far better example of how to behave during times of stress of difficulty.  You might say to me, “Well, Rich, this is fine, but pretty difficult to make happen.”  I have seen it with parents in action and it is something to behold.  It takes practice, endurance and a tirelessness approach to making it happen.  After all, the negativity we so easily adopt hasn’t served us well in the long run, so why not try the high road?

Yours for better parenting,

Rich