Establishing Positive Family Behaviour Patterns
Struggling Through the First Two Years
When my daughter was born, the first two years
were definitely the most challenging.
Very early on I noticed that we were
developing behaviour and relating patterns.
All Families Have Behaviour Patterns
Once I saw this I also observed patterns of behaviour in other families.
In fact every family seemed to have established patterns
and they were largely unaware of them.
It seemed that families with older kids were continuing
to play out many of the patterns they had developed early on.
There were positive patterns, but
many of the patterns were negative and harmful.
Keeping a Watchful Eye Out for Negative Patterns
Recognizing this I decided that I would pay close attention
to any negative patterns that were forming and
make a conscious effort to change them into positive ones.
So I would notice a tendency to react to a situation in a negative way
and then I would think about how can I reframe this
so that it becomes positive and nurturing.
Will You Stop Crying For Goodness Sake?!
For example if I found that I was regularly
losing patience when my daughter would cry
then I would make the effort to change that pattern.
I Took a Multi-Pronged Approach
This would require recognizing that
something in me was being triggered
and that needed to be dealt with.
It could be some inner wound from my own childhood.
It could be reacting to frustration or a perceived lack of freedom.
There are many possibilities.
There has never been a moment in my parenting life
that self-development hasn’t been of
Choosing a New Behaviour
It also meant practicing changing my behaviour
every time this situation would occur.
I would notice a reaction and then practically
FORCE myself to act differently.
Some force is necessary to change deeply embedded habits.
This is working from the inside out
and the outside in
at the same time.
Develop a New And Deeper Understanding of the Situation
I had to reframe what crying meant to me
and also what my goal was when it happened.
My goal became to make sure my daughter knew
that any time she was upset she had my
complete and unconditional love and support.
I also wanted her to know that
crying was an acceptable and normal part of life.
If I had a negative reaction every time she cried
she would get the message that this part of her
was unacceptable in some way.
That didn’t seem like a very intelligent
message to be giving my daughter.
Therefore I took whatever steps were necessary
to send the opposite message.
One of love and compassion.
In thinking this way I was able to change the experience
from one of mutual frustration
to love, empathy and support.
The New Positive Pattern Persists
Having set in motion a new relating pattern
it has carried over into other areas of our lives.
So when difficult moments arise in our family
we now have productive and effective patterns to deal with them.
Even to this day when I notice some negative behaviour pattern
I continue to take steps to change it.
My daughter is now 18, and I do not place
any less importance or expend any less effort
in creating and enhancing a positive and nurturing relationship.
Difficult Moments Happen, That’s Part Of Life
It’s not that difficult moments don’t arise.
We are all human here.
Avoiding them altogether is not the point.
It’s how we deal with them that counts.
Over the years we have developed
the understanding and tools
to deal with them effectively.
And every time we do
it brings us closer together.
The Conscious Path Is Always More Challenging And Also More Rewarding
It is more effort to constantly be recognizing,
evaluating and changing patterns
than it is to simply go along with how things already are,
but the long-term results are far greater
and definitely worth the trouble.