From Kirk Martin - Celebrate Calm:
Why do you need your child to be happy or in a good mood?
Just so you don't think I'm being a jerk, I used to do this all the time with my wife. If she didn't respond "the right way" or the way I needed in the morning, I'd ask her, "What's wrong? Can I do something to help you?" Was I really interested in helping her? Not really. I wanted to CHANGE her mood...so that I could be in a good mood. I was dependent on her acting a certain way.
If you try to control other people's behavior, it always leads to power struggles and frustration. Instead, we need to have this attitude:
- You are allowed to be moody and unhappy.
- Your mood does not determine my mood.
- I am not responsible for your happiness or your mood. You are.
- I am responsible for my own mood. The most effective way to change my child's behavior is to control my own.
- If you need help because something is bothering you, I'd be thrilled to help you (but I'm not going to change you).
Can you control your own anxiety, lecturing, perfectionism? If not, this will rob you of peace, joy and healthy relationships.
Expectations run rampant during this holiday season, so guard any preconceived ideas about how you want others to behave and accept them just for whom they are - especially our own precious children. May they always feel free to be themselves!