What would it be like if our family were perfect? Not the sort of perfect that doesn't allow mistakes, conflicts or individual differences, but the sort of perfect as in, ""Life is good, we have great kids and we're doing a pretty decent job of parenting them and we have fun most of the time". If that were the case what would it look like for your family?
The answer to this question is illustrated in one of the exercises we do in the "Redirecting" class. Close your eyes for a moment (yes, right after you read the rest of this paragraph), visualize your family cooperating and working well as a team, what are they doing? What are they saying? What's the attitude or tone of voice that you and your children are using? Use all five of your senses to really experience your family happy and cooperative.
What did you see? How did it feel to visualize everyone getting along? Many parents report that it's a new experience. So often we focus on what we don't want. "I don't want to yell, I don't want them to fight and I don't want them to ignore me". Instead we need to constantly place our focus and our energies on what we do want to see. Visualize them talking to each other (and you) in a respectful tone, hear them resolving conflicts by talking it out, listening to each other and coming to an agreement and feel the feeling that happens when they listen to you when you make a request.
Many families are basically happy. The problem is the parents don't know it! We are trained in our society to be overly self-critical, to complain, to be stressed and to never have enough or be enough. Since we are so consumed by the things that we don't want, typically we are not even aware of what we do want. Your family could be perfectly happy, and if you have never taken the time to visualize (and therefore be able to identify) good times, you would not recognize them when they showed up!
Take some time this week or this month, to visualize family perfection. This exercise is not just for parents! Ask your children to close their eyes and imagine the family cooperating and working as a team. It is quite interesting to hear their ideas of family unity! Be persistent in keeping your focus towards what you do want. Sometimes parents are so frustrated and at their wit's end from the negative behavior, that it is difficult or even impossible to visualize the positive. The next article should give you some help in making the shift from negative to positive.
The direction of this article by Deborah Critzer is good, but....
she left out what needs to be done with the visualization. Because it is not sufficient to visualize. We must then begin to communicate that vision to everyone in the family.
Tell them how cooperative they are, how responsible, how much you know you can count on them to get along and be compassionate with each other, to regard each others feelings, etc.
This must be done inspite of what is taking place. What you're doing is planting the seeds for the viaion to begin growing.
If you 'water it enough', continue to commuicate your vision, sooner or later it will blossom into reality.