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How does this relate to parenting?
Just as people driving cars often neglect to see bicyclists because they are looking for cars – I believe that parents often times neglect seeing positive behaviors in their kids because they are looking for the negative behaviors. If you expect your child to be messy, it’s likely you’ll miss when your child is neat. If you expect that your child will be loud, then you’re likely to miss when your child is quiet. If you expect your children to argue with each other, then you might miss when they get along. There’s a quote from Brian Tracy I’ve heard that really relates to this aspect of parenting: “Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy.” So if your child has a behavior pattern that is concerning to you – purposefully look for situations where your child actually shows the opposite behavior of what you have come to expect. Point that out to your child – show appreciation – maybe even help your child analyze that situation. “Wow, I noticed you had so much patience with your little sister today when she was copying you at the dinner table. How did you do that? How did you decide to use humor to distract her? Wow, it was really effective – I really admired your quick thinking!” Take some time to look for the “dancing gorilla” and you’re likely to see some things you have been missing!
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