By: Suzanne Reisler Litwin
“Oh parenthood is so glorious!” – Not always!!!
Many years ago when my son was around the age of 2, I was ready to pull out all of my hair. He was so difficult and demanding. He exhausted me.
Simply changing his diaper was a nightmare as he rolled and twisted like a crocodile. He crawled out of his crib and walked at 9 months. He ran everywhere. He needed a leash more than my dog!!!
He screamed when we would try to put new shoes on him. He would scream when having his haircut. He didn’t listen and maintaining his safety was terrorizing. I wanted to leave him at home all the time. I didn’t want to take him anywhere because it would cause me to break into a nervous sweat. He made me feel anxious all the time.
When he would do these things I would call him a “BAD BOY!” I would cry from frustration. I didn’t like him as he was prematurely aging me every day. I would say, “Stop being such a bad boy!”, “Stop this devil child!”, “You are a very bad little boy!”
It was an uneasy time for my family. Out of worry I called our Pediatrician and asked for help. I asked him how it was possible that my 2 older children were angels and this child was so difficult. I begged for help in managing this son. The Doctor told me to start “working in the positive“. He explained how to work with the good in the child.
Basically, when my son was good, I was to praise him a lot. Even if it was simply changing his diaper with ease, I was to praise him. Whatever he did that was good, I praised him with a big smile, a kiss, and some kind soft words.
Within a month of this change in child rearing, there was a dramatic improvement in my son’s behavior. He started to do things to earn more praise. He was still far from an angel, but now he knew how to be good and how to get praise.
I no longer called him a “Bad Boy”. Instead I just said “No” and no meant no! When he would do the simplest good thing, l praised him like crazy and we both smiled. We were both happy.
This young life lesson has perpetuated throughout the years with my family. I’ve told my children the more good you give, the more good will come to you and/or the world. It’s true.
My children are older now and some are on their own. In their own way, they have learned that doing good things to or for others will bring good to you and the world. Good breeds good.
Also, when you do good or something kind, it will make you feel good. Feeling good is happy. Happy spreads more happy.
There is good in everyone and everything, we need to find it and breed it.
I’m sure you have heard the expression, “It’s all good”. I can be. You just have to make the decision to start the change from bad to good.
1. Stop using negative words like bad, hate, and crap, etc.
2. See the good in people. There is always some.
3. Take the time to extract what is good and focus on it.
Simply, if someone did a good job packing your grocery bags, say “Good Job, and thank you”.
4. The more praise people are given the better they will feel. So spread the praise.
5. Praise your children for doing simple good tasks.
6. Appreciate all that is done for you as nothing is a given.
7. Turn a negative into a positive by seeing the value in simple pleasures.
8. Use phrases like, “Good Job! Well done! You are the best at that! Fabulous work! That was amazing! Keep up the good work! I’m so proud of you.”
9. Don’t wait to make the change. Do it right away. Do something wonderful or special for someone dear and that positive change will breed more happy.
10. There is good in everyone and everything. Bring it out in a smile and try to smile more!
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an author/writer/columnist/educator. She contributes every Monday morning to the West Island Blog’s Keeping it Real Column.
She is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real. Please visit her website www.suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.