People often ask me how to instill the principles that Sandy and I teach in their children. However, first I want you to be clear about one thing Your kids will buy what you're selling when you are living what youre selling. Your children may do what you tell them to do; however, ultimately they end up modeling your behavior.
Harvest the good
Teach your kids to harvest the good in everything they encounter.
Let them know that there’s good in EVERY situation. Tell them their job is to look for it. The more they look for good, the more they’ll find.
Children get it much faster than adults if …
… the adults learn to give them the right information.
Whether the child is 3, 6, 12, or 17, you can talk to them the same way you’d talk to me. The only differences are their experience and their vocabulary. You’ve got to make sure that you use words and situations that they understand and relate to.
For instance, if you’re talking to a 4-year-old who is anxious about a future event, you might suggest that they close their eyes and look into the future and come up with something they’d really like to happen. Get them to engage their imagination because it is so rich at that age. Then, you might encourage them by saying that the two of you can work together to make it—or something similar—happen.
This kind of approach is very effective for young children; however, when they get older and go to school they’re taught not to daydream or fantasize. So you’d need to take another approach with a 7- or 15-year-old.
3-Year-Old with a Poor Self-Image
Before the child goes to sleep at night, put your hands on her and repeat things that will help her develop a better self-image.
Here are a few examples of things you might say:
I am so happy and grateful now that everyone likes me.
I am so happy and grateful now that I am good at everything I do.
I am so happy and grateful now that I am smart.
As you repeat the statement(s) over and over, try to get your child to repeat them back to you.
This method is very effective because you’re talking to the child while her mind is in a twilight state, which is a receptive state. You will be depositing these suggestions directly into her subconscious mind, which is totally subjective. It will take whatever you give it.
6-Year-Old Who Hits Others
First, let me say that no matter what your child’s age is, if they have a behavioral problem, don’t react to what they do—respond to it.
Rather than discussing the problem, talk to her about the behavior you want her to exhibit. That is key. You always want to focus on the desired behavior.
You can also have her write and repeat the following statement several times a day, “I’m so happy and grateful now that I’m loving and kind to my brother,” or substitute another behavior that you want her to exhibit. You might also repeat the statement to her as she falls asleep at night.
12-Year-Old Who Feels Neglected
In this case, I suggest that you cut a deal or negotiate with her. Sit together and decide exactly what will work for both of you.
For instance, you might say something like the following:
I want you to be happy, and I want to have a great relationship with you, and I’m betting you feel the same way. So let’s work it out together. Maybe we can both give up a little so this works out well for both us.
How does that sound to you?
Listen to your daughter’s responses and keep discussing it until you’ve come up with a deal that you’re both happy with.
17-Year-Old Who is Negative/Always Complaining
As a teenager, he is old enough for you to give him honest feedback. Your ultimate goal is to let your child be who he is, but also to let him know that his moods, attitude, and words all have an impact. Giving him honest feedback sets your own boundaries while respecting his.
Also, look at your expectations. If you’re expecting your son to be disparaging, frustrated, or verbally abusive, then that’s what you’re going to get. Change your perspective, think about who your son really is, and start to expect more positive things from him. Then, work on giving off a positive and peaceful vibe. And instead of complaining, praise the positive things about him.
Finally, encourage him to make a gratitude list each morning or before he goes to sleep at night. If and when he does that, he’ll start to notice different things than he notices now. He’ll start to attract new friends, see opportunities instead of obstacles, and get different results.
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