The one simple phrase that can change your parenting mindset for good

Parenting challenges. We all have them. Some days more than others.

On one of those days just recently, I took to Google in a desperate search for some POSITIVE PARENTING STRATEGIES. You know the kind that would make an eight-year old brother be kinder to his six-year old sister? Or that would make a six-year old sister stop provoking her eight-year old brother? That kind of thing.

And as luck would have it, I found a little gem that my husband and I have used ever since (at first laughingly, and then more seriously).

It’s this:

Shift your mindset from I HAVE TO … to I GET TO …

Parenting expert Amy McCready, who describes the idea on her hugely popular parenting support web site, Positive Parenting Solutions, puts it like this:

“Instead of ‘I HAVE to’ go to soccer practice (basketball, football, theatre, dance – fill in the blank) – think — I GET to support my child’s ambitions. I get to watch them grow stronger and more well-rounded. I get to be there for their ups and their downs. I get to spend uninterrupted time in the car with them as we carpool for the millionth time. I get to fix them a meal and hear about their day or even glance over to see them sleeping in the seat beside me as we drive home from a long day. I get to teach them to appreciate their talents by encouraging their dreams and nurturing their gifts. I get to be part of taking my child from infancy to adulthood and hopefully share a whole lot more after that.

“Now there was an Aha! moment. It stops you in your tracks. Because they really ARE only little once. They really are under your roof for such a short time. There’s a whole lot of firsts and seconds and thirds – memories to be made as we’re raising our children and if we are blessed enough to GET TO be there for those – wow, that’s a gift. Right?”

My son has a teacher who embodies this concept on a daily basis. You can just feel it in her classroom and in her personality. It’s so uplifting. And I didn’t even realise that’s what I was feeling from her until I understood this mindset change from ‘I HAVE TO’ to ‘I GET TO’. I know other terrific teachers who do the same. No doubt countless parents do too.

Really, this little piece of mindset trickery is all about feeling grateful and striving to see the positive instead of the negative, which is totally easier said than done, I know. Because there will be many, many days where we DON’T WANT TO go to piano and soccer practice in the rain, and we DON’T WANT TO lose two hours of work to watch yet another recorder performance, or we DON’T WANT TO clean the house yet again … or do the washing … or drive kids to three birthday parties in one weekend … or find and fold odd socks in the laundry … or adjudicate another fight between siblings … or clean up more spilled milk … or listen to another long recitation of the awesomeness of Pokemon Go or Minecraft or whatever, or … but if we can see these challenges in the new light of ‘I GET TO’ (support my child … help my child grow and develop … teach my child right from wrong or greater resilience or whatever …) then it makes those challenges a bit easier, don’t you think?

My husband and I have turned this mindset change into a bit of a game. We try to catch each other getting exasperated and say out loud, “We get to …” in a sing-song voice. It’s a bit of fun, but it’s also true. We get to … do all the wonderful things with and for our kids. We’re blessed beyond belief, even on the shittiest days. We get to … We just have to remember that!

Read the original article from Positive Parenting Solutions here.

Natalie Bartley