One reader wrote the following in response to the last week’s article: “Okay, what happens next Dr. Cale? I read the article, and I starve weeds. (Easier said than done, but I am doing it!) But what if I want to have more positive habits in my home, and encourage good behavior? Certainly, it won’t happen magically on its own-just because I am starving weeds!”
This is a great question, as we previously discussed the importance of ‘weed feeding’ and the negativity this breeds in your home. If you didn’t see the article, weed feeding is a metaphor about putting your energy into the behaviors/habits that you DON’T want, and how this mistaken tendency will keep expanding the unwanted behaviors (i.e., weeds) in your home. If we want to build a happy home, we must understand how strong the tendency is to get ‘pulled’ into the weeds. If we repeatedly get caught in this trap, then we are feeding the weeds. And this is bad. Why? Because the weeds will get big and strong. None of us want that.
Today, we shift to answer the questions above. It’s all about the good ‘seeds’ we want to nurture in our homes. This includes all the moments you see in your children that you value and want to expand, such as a moment of kindness, cooperation, follow-through or even just laughter and joy. Any moment that you want to see more of…is the moments we are talking about today.
The 30 Day Plan to Grow the Good Seeds
Last week, I encouraged you to imagine that your energy, or your attention, is just like water. And that attention is either watering a weed, or nurturing a seed. Today, it’s about how to grow seeds in a very precise way. Here’s how you do it:
1. Seeds grow slowly, not instantly. So, like planting a new lawn, we must be patient, as the results of your effort will not begin to sprout for usually a week to 10 days.
2. Obsess, for 30 days only, on ‘catching’ as many possible seed moments as you can. Just give a VERY SMALL dose of your attention or energy to that positive moment. Here’s how to give your attention:
- Thumbs up
- Touch on shoulder
- Wink. Nod.
- Kiss on top of head.
- More and more smiles
3. You do NOT give words, or lots of smothering warm praise for these moments. This is NOT about dramatic big doses of attention, love or verbal praise. Instead, this is a strategic 30 day plan to nurture healthy behavior and emotions. Remember: Catch as many positive moments as you possibly can, offering a tiny dose of your attention. It’s high frequency, trying to look for seeds every 5 to 10 minutes.
- Your motto: If something I value is happening right NOW, I want to ‘catch it.’
4. To help you stay on track, make a list of the top 12 behaviors, emotions and ‘child moments’ you most want to nurture in your home. This is your seed list. Then, put it somewhere that you can review every night and every morning for 30 days (Don’t let the kids see it and don’t discuss the seeds at all with your children.)
Warning: This will be a bit exhausting. So be prepared. But what you invest in this will reap benefits that last a lifetime.
Finally, it’s important to emphasize that the real secret here is to combine the concepts from last week (starving weeds), with now starting to feed seeds. The two together will show you how to unlock the hidden power you have as a parent. You will experience more influence, see positive behaviors expand and build a better, happier relationship with your children.