Parenting happy kids in a world that is so often fraught with unhappiness and chaos is an uphill battle. And while it is certainly a challenge to remain positive and hopeful, it can be done. In fact, you might say, it needs to be done first and foremost. Otherwise, how will our kids ever be optimistic, hopeful, and filled with peace?
Parenting is so much more about taking care of the physical day-to-day demands, like good nutrition and health, homework, and after-school activities. Those things are quite important, but sometimes the psychological needs are greater, because without a healthy and mindful outlook, the other things won’t be possible.
Kathy Walsh, parenting expert, educator, and author of the award-winning “Joyohboy” book series says intention is everything. Walsh is the founder of Peace Place for Kids, and has been teaching mindfulness to schools and workshops throughout the country for more than 20 years.
“Intention is a force that sets everything in motion. How often do we think about and write down our intention for raising our children? What could be more important? When you are clear about your intention for raising your children, other decisions become easier to make,” she says.
If you want your kids to be stable and peaceful people, it all starts with your behavior and attitudes. Read on for Walsh’s tips for raising peaceful kids:
Model the behaviors that you want them to copy. Children mirror you. Be aware of your actions when you are in front of them, and model the behavior that you want them to mirror.
Always start and end your day with gratitude. Gratitude is not just a habit; make your bed, brush your teeth, and be grateful every day. Gratitude is the gift that keeps on growing. It is the key to a joyful life. It is hard to complain and feel grateful at the same time.
We have to acknowledge them, not bury them. This is how behavioral problems happen. Things happen in life and a healthy response is how we grow emotionally. Teach your children that when we show love, it comes back to us. It is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s just that simple.
Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react. This captures the essence of mindful parenting. Teach your children that how they see things is more than half the battle. They have a choice whether to look at life in a positive way or not. The more positive they are, the better their life will be. Life will be a reflection of their thoughts and what they put out they get back.
When you are showing gratitude, you are not judging others. People can feel that, and it is contagious. When you are grateful for them, they in turn become more grateful for your presence. Choose your words carefully.
Danielle Sullivan, a mom of three, is a writer and editor living in New York City.