I often approach the world by visualizing a specific future that will help the world and the people in it to have happier, safer, more successful and more meaningful lives.
I did that recently about an imagined vision in future that if achieved could bring out a silver lining in the pandemic.
Okay, okay. I know you’re probably thinking, “You’re crazy doc! There’s no silver lining, we’re just trying to survive.”
Okay, I like a good challenge.
Many of you are in closed and close quarters with your children and going a bit stir crazy.
What if during this time your children could develop the following habits?
The 7 Habits of Well-Adjusted Children
- Feel frustrated and/or disappointed without getting overly angry
- Keep trying something hard instead of quitting
- Stay focused on something important
- Cheerfully do something you don’t want to do
- Focus on the positive of a situation instead of the negative
- Smile about something
- Do something for, thank, congratulate or apologize to someone
Thinking, “How will those habits help them to be successful and happy?”
Consider the opposites:
- Feel frustrated and/or disappointed and throwing a tantrum
- Quit as soon as something becomes too hard
- Get distracted easily instead of staying focused on what is important
- Refuse to or begrudgingly do something they don’t want to
- Focus on the negative instead of the positive of a situation
- Frown or scowl most of the time
- Never do something for, never thank, never congratulate or never apologize to anyone
I rest my case, because whether or not these opposite habits cause your children to be successful and happy, they are certain to make you miserable.
I can tell you that if I were able to help my children develop those seven positive habits, it would help me feel that I did a good job as a parent.
How do you put this into action?
First of all, there is a reason for there being seven habits. It’s because you can cover each of them in a week and with the families who have done this, nearly all of them have told me that it fundamentally changed their families and each of them for the better.
- Write down each of the above on seven separate pieces of folded paper
- Each day one family member selects one of the pieces of paper and reads it aloud
- During that day every member will commit and then do that behavior
- At the end of the day each person will share what they did to put that behavior into action and how that felt
- At the end of seven days each family member will share what their favorite action was and why and what it taught them
- Mix the slips of paper up and repeat every week until these habits become internalized into your children… and you
Of course, the greatest challenge to this is that parents also need to participate and model those behaviors.
One of the greatest regrets in life is to get to the end of yours and think, “I shoulda, coulda, but didn’t do certain things” when it’s too late to make up for it. And one of those things is regretting that you didn’t raise or set up your children to have the best mindset and habits to succeed and be happy in life.
Teaching them these seven habits, might just prevent that regret from happening, not to mention how much less miserable your life will be.