We say that we will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. The statement makes me take a step back to think. Are we applying this to how we care for our kids?
After years of running this organization, even a dad like me who focuses on a completely different approach to parenting has to be honest with himself and admit that there are times when I am better with the vinegar than honey. This tends to happen when I am concerned or seeing a pattern of behavior that is troubling. Sometimes I slip back to interfering with my oldest son’s potential or allowing negative thoughts to come through what I say to him. Taking time to dig deeper and identify the root fills our kids with honey.
If we are honest we avoid people who are negative so would it be any different with our kids . It should not surprise us if our kids avoid us, tune us out or become negative about us when we are dispensing vinegar. The problem is that negativity can build up in us over time and keep us from accurately hearing what our kids are saying. What should we do to stay focused on “catching more flies with honey?” Here are two helpful guides to help:
Honey comes in the form of genuine positivity.
Focusing on who they are and their natural strengths rather than their shortcomings. Believing the best in them, even when there are failures, goes a long way. Our kids do not like failing and we often forget this. We need to believe in our kids because they too want to do better.
Honey also comes in the form of positive messages and actions.
This communicates our love, care, and support even if they are struggling. When we dispense honey it draws our kids closer and makes it more likely that they will ask for our input, ideas and help.
My personality type naturally wants to focus and deal with the negatives. Yet, I have found, in the life of my kid’s and in my coaching of so many others, building vision and hope is critical. Communicating that they can succeed and will make good decisions has had far more impact than targeting the negatives.
We need to regularly check ourselves. Ask, “Am I dispensing significantly more honey than vinegar?” If our kids are filled with vinegar from us, it is likely they are operating on a lack of honey.
This week think about sending a positive message everyday to your kids. These messages need to be sincere.
If you are struggling to find the positives, think about:
- Who are they on the inside and the reasons you believe in their future.
- Focus on the natural strengths they had when they were little but may have lost along the way
- Focus on your undying belief in and love for them.
Mix up how you deliver these messages: In person, by text, or a note. Sharing them in different contexts will help communicate your sincerity and help them see how much you care.
Our kids are more likely to involve us in their lives and listen to our thoughts and ideas when they are receiving honey rather than vinegar.
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