By Carol Dores
As we try to make changes in how we are with our children, we often “should” on ourselves.
“I should have been more patient.”
“I should not have yelled.”
“Shoulding” on ourselves is not helpful. It is filled with blame and shame, which make us feel worse.
We learn in Positive Discipline that in order to do better, we need to feel better, not worse.
As we learn new tools and strategies, it is easy to fall in to the “should” trap.
Here’s a different way to approach learning these things.
Begin by noticing when you do something that you want to change. For example, if you want to try to calm down rather than yelling, put a dime in a jar every time you yell. Just noticing the behavior you want to change is really helpful as a first step. Try that for a week or two. It is likely that you will begin to notice how you feel before yelling, and you can start to calm yourself down by deep, slow breathing.
It’s really encouraging to look back, and see how much progress has been made. Change can take time, and appreciating the small improvements made are important. Celebrate the progress.
And remember, life is a journey, and it’s about progress, not perfection.