Sure, it feels good to vent to your BFFs about your kids’ picky eating or to send a Twitter feed about your mom meltdown. But making it a habit is a big mistake — and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. “If you concentrate on the negative of parenting, it’s like pouring kerosene on the fire,” says Siergiewicz. “Negativity begets negativity — and that will keep you from rediscovering the joy of being a mom.” Try sharing the good things — photos of your child playing in the snow or news of a school concert — and you’ll be rewarded with a glow of pride.
Catch Them Being Good
“Many parents expect adult-level performance from their kids, and they’re not capable of delivering it,” says Siergiewicz. This sets up a lose-lose situation, with the child falling short and the parents feeling perpetually disappointed. Rather than focusing on what your 10-year-old does wrong and nagging him about it (which isn’t very joyful), accept that he’ll make mistakes and praise him for what he does right. Saying “Thanks for putting away your toys” or “Thanks for clearing your plate without being asked” reinforces good behavior. As Siergiewicz notes, “Positive feedback will boost your child’s self esteem and lead to more of the positive behavior you want to see.” And the better the behavior, the less nagging you’ll need to do.
Clear the Calendar