I imagine many of you, like me, are continuously searching for the holy grail of parenting, that one fail-safe technique that will solve the majority of your parenting troubles in one hit. Even though rationally I realise this is unlikely, even impossible, a not-so-small part of me still hopes to stumble across a priceless gem of insight in a book, article or blog that will create such a massive ‘a-ha’ moment that it instantly changes my life.
Alas, this has never happened. But I’ve had many near misses. And the main reason that they are near-misses, rather than hitting the jackpot, is that they all involve me changing my behaviour, rather than focussing on my children changing theirs. I know, how annoying is that?! When you’ve got 40 years of habit and experience of thinking the way you think, and 10 years or so hard practice of mainstream (generally inefficient and counter-productive) parenting tools in the bag, you don’t really feel like changing the script, do you? We’ve all invested so much in doing it the way we do it for so long that we don’t much feel like jumping ship now. Not to mention the fact that it’s a very hard, long and frustrating journey changing our own ingrained behavioural habits. And besides people might think we’ve gone soft on our kids. God forbid.
But the trouble is these near misses are the real deal, the treasure that we have been searching for. It is simply because we find it so hard to change our own behaviour that we discover our treasure is locked behind very thick iron bars. Tantalisingly we can see the prize but can’t get to it. The only way to unlock it is to go on the long and arduous hero’s journey of personal change.
I’m sorry folks, but that’s the way it is.
The best parenting tool is changing how we think and act in order to change the way your children think and act. This is a long term, investment-heavy journey which takes a lot of focus, practice and commitment. But the prize is there; can’t you see it, glimmering in the twilight, waiting for us?