You Can’t Grow Seeds…By Feeding Weeds!
Let’s imagine for a moment, that your children’s behavior and emotions can be divided into two categories. “Seeds” is one category, and represents the seeds of happiness, kindness, diligence, openness, responsibility, and so on. In other words…the good stuff…that we want to nurture and grow in our homes.
“Weeds” is the second category, and represents whining, disrespect, complaints, negativity, ugliness, and so on. In other words….the bad stuff. The behavior and emotions we DON’T want to see in our homes.
You Either Feed Weeds or Feed Seeds!
As you move through your day at home, whether interacting with a toddler or a teen, you are often just moving with life. In doing so, we give little thought to the role and power of our attention.
Yet, your attention is like water. You are feeding either the weeds…or you are watering the seeds (with your attention to them).
When we consistently give our attention to weeds, (unfortunately) the weeds must grow. The ‘weed’ has no choice but to respond to our watering of it. The weed will not respond to a threat or a consequence IF we keep feeding the weed with our attention.
This is critical to understand. If your child complains repeatedly about your cooking, their teacher, their homework, or even their brother…notice what usually happens. If you are like most of us, you instinctively react, and likely provide some feedback.
This is no big deal…UNLESS you notice that this has started to become a negative habit. They repeat similar complaints, and you react with similar comments.
- They say, “I hate peas.” Mom says, “They are good for you. Eat them.”
- They say, “Homework is stupid.” You say, “You have to do it. Stop complaining.”
- They say, “I can’t.” Dad says, “Of course you can.”
Each child’s comment is a weed. Why? Because we don’t want them in our homes
If We Keep Reacting To Weeds, We Keep Feeding Weeds
We must see that our repeated comments are not working to change these negative patterns. Instead, if we step back from life, we can see that we are feeding into and strengthening the very behavior we DON’T want. Our efforts are taking us in the opposite direction from what we want to nurture.
To Starve Weeds: Walk Away!
The first and most important step here is to see that weeds cannot be removed with a casual, reactive approach. We must see weeds as a threat to the peace and beauty we want in our homes, and have a clear action plan.
The action play: Starve weeds by repeatedly walking away. You can even inform the kids that you are now going to simply ignore their whining, complaining, and ugliness.
When you start to walk away, please note: The ‘weeds’ are not happy. The ‘weeds’ may get very ugly. The ‘weeds’ increase their efforts to pull you in. Why? Because the ‘weeds’ are hungry for your attention!
Stay strong. Keep walking. After a week, you will see how things take a dramatic turn for the better IF you consistently starve these negative weeds!
Next week, we will talk about the formula for feeding seeds, instead of weeds.
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