My Books

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Always Assume the Best

Imagine that while you're unloading the dishwasher, your child goes through the kitchen and opens every cabinet door and drawer he can reach. 

You have no idea what he's doing, but it's a little annoying. All those open doors make it hard to move around in the kitchen and you keep running into them. You can react in one of two ways. Tell him to please close the doors because you're trying to put away the dishes and the open doors are in your way. Or thank him for his help in opening all those doors for you so you don't have to as you unload the dishes. Though it may be a bit more inconvenient, I suggest the latter response.

Any time you can put a positive spin on something your child is doing, as long as he's not deliberately doing something wrong, then do it. When in doubt, always assume your child was trying to be helpful or kind or good. It will help him see himself in a better light and he'll try to keep doing things to please you. 
Or how about if your child pulls out every DVD on the shelf, opens each one and lays them all on the floor? What a mess! But what an awesome opportunity to thank him for his help in matching all the DVDs to their correct cases as you work together to pick them up. It becomes a fun matching game instead of a battle of wills to clean them all up.

There's an interesting by-product of assuming the best about your child. It affects the way you see him, too. 

It is so easy to notice the things a child does wrong. After a while, it's hard to see what he does right. But if you make a habit of seeing the good things he does, pretty soon, the wrong he does fades into the woodwork. The whole parenting world seems a little less hopeless and daunting. You find delight in raising this amazing child! 

So train your eyes to put a positive spin on your child's behavior. He'll be happier and so will you.

Have you tried this? What effect did it have on you and/or your child?


  1. Hi Linda,

    Great post! Just what I needed to read after a particularly frustrating day with a toddler who likes to "help" in his own way. This is a much better way to think about how what he was doing was positive and not trying to bug mommy. I know that in my heart but this was such a good reminder today!


  2. So glad this came on the day you needed it, Katie! Sometimes a small reminder is all it takes to adjust our attitudes to a softer place for our kids. Parenting is a grueling job, but one full of joy if we keep our perspective right. Hugs to you, Jeremy, and Eli.