So, let’s be honest for a minute.
Honestly, I was supposed to write a post about “How to Have a Positive Home” and the impact it has on our children. As I was thinking, making notes, and doing research, I realized two things: it’s all true, but
is it reality?
Sometimes (and it may just be my 9 months pregnant hormones) I just get sick of all of the “How to Be Perfect” posts. How to be a perfect mom, perfect wife, perfect everything.
It’s so much easier to sit behind a computer and tell someone what they should be doing. I’ve written articles like that too, but I have also disclosed that I know the reality of life and that these ideas are just simply ridiculous at times.
It’s ridiculous because no one is perfect. We all know that. That is just reality. It’s life.
No one is perfect.
And, because of this, no home is perfect.
How can I write an article telling you how to create a positive home for your children, when we are all human? Of course we all want our homes to be filled with nothing but positivity. I read these articles gasp because I want nothing more than to be this place for my children, but often times I am not.
They say that a positive home is a “safe” place for your children, both emotionally and mentally.
It would be amazing to have a home where they walk in and feel nothing but love and positive reinforcement. I would love to be able to constantly speak softly with my children –no matter who is running around with a bloody nose– and reassuringly remind them that what they did was wrong, but I know they’ll make better choices next time. It would be amazing to live in this fantasy world.
But that’s what it feels like to me…
Because I know the reality of my life.
I am flawed. I am broken. But I am trying.
I love my children with every fiber of my being. They are the best parts of my life — who am I kidding? They are my life!
But I lose my temper. Many times I do not stop and think before I say something. And I surely don’t set a good example 24/7.
It’s scary to admit, but it’s the truth.
When I was researching the characteristics of a positive home, I found 3 main ideas that were pretty universal across the board. And they’re amazing ideas. I read about them and longed to do each one.
As I was reading I immediately began putting myself down. I don’t do this enough! Why can’t I act like this all the time? Ugh, so this is what a good mom acts like…
The criticism just kept coming.
And then it hit me. I don’t want to create a post like this!! I don’t want other moms to read my article and think they’re doing something wrong (because I’m surely in the same boat with them)!
The more I realized this, the more I realized how these things are not based off of “real world” time.
Sure, I can tell you that it’s better to praise your kid:
Imagine your child just caught their bed on fire. Instead of yelling at them for ruining their new bed sheets, you should compliment them on their ability to light a match at 4.
haha, okay that’s obviously FULL of sarcasm, but that’s how ridiculous I thought the ideas were.
They’re all good ideas, great ideas actually, but how many times do/can we actually follow them when thrown into our daily lives? How many times do you actually stop and think before you react to what just happened? It’s a good quality to have, but it’s not one of my character traits. I know that for sure.
So, I want to talk about these six ideas and how I love them, but also severely hate them.
3 Ways to Have a Positive Home
Stop Your Negative Talk:
- YES! Of course we need to stop this. Children think what we say. Using words like fat, ugly, stupid, and dumb are terrible things to say around children. They pick up on these words and begin internalizing them, even if you are not directing them at your children. Avoid letting your child watch shows that say these words or play games that use negative language.
- Simple, right? But how many times have I been talking to my husband, usually infuriated, by something that was so stupid? A lot actually. And how many times have my kids been around when I have talked about these things? Majority of the time, I’m sure. It’s something I can (and should) easily change. But will I be able to sit here and tell you that, from now on, words like this will never be used in my home? That I will not allow people, shows, or games that speak this way into my home again because it brings down our positive environment. No, I cannot tell you that, because I know it’s not realistic (in our home anyways). There will be days when I get so mad at something and I will rave about how stupid it was. Or times when I stub my toe and one of those dreaded four letter words comes rolling off of my tongue. It’s terrible, but it’s reality.
Set a Good Example:
- Obviously, I want to be a good example for my children. It is so important for them to not only learn about good character, but to witness it as well. They learn how to act, speak, and treat people from our actions. They pick up on more than we realize. Build your child’s confidence while building your own. Monkey-See Monkey-Do, right?
- But how easy was that for me to write? SO easy! Now, let’s play that out in real life. Have I criticized the way I look in front of my daughter before? Sadly, yes. There have been times where my temper has gotten the best of me, and I have said things in front of them that they should not have to hear. Is this something I should change? Absolutely! It is something I would love to work on, and will try to. But do I expect to be a perfect role model for my children? No. There will be days where I let my anger get the best of me, where I do not think before I react, where I am… human.
Praise and Encouragement:
- We all know that everyone longs for praise and encouragement. Offering positive reinforcement, along with praise, can lead to a higher self-esteem in children. And, often times, they will choose to do what is right based off of your reaction (praise). This creates a safe environment where they fell nothing but love and affection.
- Clearly, this is an awesome technique, but does it work all the time — with all situations? I don’t think it does. In my real world, if one of my children hits the other I see no way to use positive reinforcement to condemn that behavior. I know your sister made you mad, and I am sorry you felt the need to hit her. But I like how you used your dominate foot when attempting your round-house kick to the face. (again, sorry, my over-use of sarcasm…) But you get the point. I completely value the idea of praising children and focusing on the good in a situation rather than the bad. However, will that realistically work all the time? I don’t think so… maybe it’s just our house, but I can’t see this being a viable option for every scenario.
Maybe I am just completely overthinking these ideas. I know they are great tips, and they are honestly things I work on (or at least attempt to) in my parenting. But, they are not something I think we can expect to change overnight or expect to be the reality of our lives.
Life is hard. It throws your curve balls, it comes at you at the worst times, and it doesn’t always offer the easy ways first. That’s why I just can’t see these ideas as being a solid, realistic foundation to expect your house to be built upon.
These are great ideas to help guide you as a parent, to help work on yourself to better your children; however, I don’t think they are a “quick fix” to create your perfect positive home for your family. Because, is there really such a thing?
I am sure there are moms out there who have been able to achieve this, and much kudos to you!! But it’s not reality for me. It’s a goal, a guideline, something for me to strive to achieve. But I refuse to let myself think that I am any less of a mother because I do not live strictly to these values.
The one tip that I can tell you is a reality and is something you can do for your kids each and every day to better them (and your home) is to love them. Cuddle them, kiss them, play with them, and give them attention. These are things that I can do easily. These are realistic to me. And I guarantee you, if your child feels loved, they feel safe.