Focus on the possible
“If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.”
The first line I ever wrote for my first book was this: “The greatest thing we can do for our kids is learn to focus on ourselves.”
I knew this would sound a bit jarring to most, and even a bit heretical to some. But it simply makes so much sense I had to say it upfront. That’s why I’ve left it in the 10th Anniversary Edition of ScreamFree Parenting, which we released last week.
Whatever we focus on we will, inevitably, try to control. That’s why telling parents to focus on their children is so dangerous. If we’re totally focused on them, even our efforts to serve them can turn into passive-aggressive attempts to control their choices.
What we need is to turn our gaze inward enough to ask ourselves the most helpful question possible: “How am I actually contributing to the very problems I’m complaining about?” This way we can move away from the impossible, trying to control someone else, to the really, really difficult, trying to control ourselves.
Peace begins with pause,