If I could summarize my parenting philosophy in one sentence it would be “water the flowers, not the weeds.”
It really is as simple as determining, is this behavior consequential (does it cause harm or is it a long-term issue) or is it just something that’s annoying me but not of major consequence? When I adopted this way of thinking years ago I realized that 9 times out of 10 the behavior isn’t actually consequential. It isn’t actually anything that needs “correcting.” And guess what happened when I realized that? 1. I felt so much more free to ENJOY my children 2. Parenting felt so much less overwhelming 3. My relationship with my children improved because I wasn’t on them about things that didn’t matter 4. It became easier to love them and their big personalities, fully recognizing how amazing they already are without me having to shape or change them in any way.
When we ignore the inconsequential behavior and focus on the positives, the positive behavior happens more frequently, and the negative, less often.
Real life example: two sisters fighting in a corner over a marker and two brothers playing happily sharing a toy tractor. I could easily decide to intervene in the girls fighting, correcting them or demanding they take turns, OR, I could praise the heck out of the boys sharing their toy tractor. The praising leaves me feeling happier as a mom, leaves the boys wanting to share more often because they know they’ll get a positive response from me, and usually as soon as the girls notice my attention on the boys they stop arguing and solve the problem on their own. Boom. Parenting win.
What you water is what will grow. Once you learn to focus on the flowers it’s easy to see beyond the weeds. Forget about those as often as you can. Spend your time and energy watering the flowers and be amazed at the beautiful field of them that you, the keeper of the garden, have the privilege of watching grow 💛 #erinsmotherhoodtalks