4 Keys to Shifting Negative Behavior
Parenting Course Lesson Two

The Second Key
Make the Shift

How often do you find yourself reacting to your child from a place of fear, control, and disapproval rather than responding from a place of love with curiosity and openness?

RESPONSIBILITY = the ability to respond.

It is your responsibility as a parent to guide, protect and model for your children, in your responses, those qualities you wish them to emulate. But, before you can respond, there is a space. In this space you have the power to make a choice 

♥ Parenting is a relationship that you 
create with a child. ♥

When you react without awareness, you allow stress, fear and unconscious memories to cloud your thinking and impede your judgment.

You always have a choice in the NOW. 

When you are present and in the moment (not concerned with the past nor fearful of the future), you are able to draw on an inner reservoir of strength. This sound place of emotional well-being allows you to access the qualities of compassionconcern and tolerance while leading you to making safe and responsible choices.

All of this is necessary to providing an appropriate model for children. They must witness us using our positive coping skills to manage strong emotions in order to build their resiliency.

Judgment, anger, demands and guilt come from FEAR.

Empathy, creativity, cooperation and connection come from LOVE.

Children have an innate right to live 
without FEAR of their parents. 

Fear vs. Love

You are a collection of everything you have ever observed, heard, read, watched and participated in. As you've matured, you have gathered, sorted and filed away those experiences as a framework for living.

This framework, initially influenced by your parents and your early emotional experiences, set up patterns of behavior and thoughts that may still persist today, whether positive or negative.

Those patterns inform your brain on how to react to change and stress and how to relate to people.

Fear can be dissolved with LOVE

As your experiences grew, memory after memory was recorded. The various neural networks in your brain, governing systems of self-regulation, compassion, reason, empathy etc., were either strengthened or discarded and as such, you constructed your reality which formed the basis of your outlook on the world.

Everything can be completely changed by altering your perceptions of the world.

In the next few lessons, I will be asking you to shift your understanding of behavior from negative expressions or traits that need to be disciplined to honest attempts to meet basic needs and communications that must be deciphered.

When you begin to re-frame your view of behavior, you will experience a new perception of your child.

What is a Paradigm?

paradigm is a model that forms basis of something - it is a set of beliefs, a pattern in which we think, live, and act.

This conscious perspective on the parent-child relationship may be a dramatic shift in thinking for you or it may be a subtle adjustment of your views and role as a parent.

You may have firm ideas about how children should behave, learn or feel or about what your role as parent is truly all about. 

You may not want to shift your views immediately.

For others it may not be such a drastic change. It really depends on your willingness to have trust in the power of your relationship.

Which paradigm were you parented under?

If your parents modeled respect and were generally loving, then abandoning some old tricks of the traditional paradigm may be MORE difficult because it is natural to assume "Hey, if I turned out okay, what's the big deal?"

Likewise if you grew up in a toxic environment, you may find that it takes time and patience to overcome ingrained attitudes or behaviors. 

If you endured praise or criticism with words like  --

"Because I said so." 
"What a well-behaved child."
"She always brings home good grades..."
"Why can't you be more like...?"
"When your grades go up, you can have..." 
"Fine, I'm leaving without you..."
"You make me so mad..." 
"You are such a [fill-in-the-blank-expletive]!" 

- then you were parented under a traditional, dominant paradigm. 

Exploring the Paradigms

There are core differences that separate the conscious paradigm from the traditional model. Traditional parenting often seeks to control children by breaking them of unwanted behaviors, training them, and enforcing obedience, many times for the sake of convenience, parental comfort or impossible ideals.  

Power vs. Empowerment

If your goal is "obedient children," then you have not yet made the necessary shift from [traditional] fear-based parenting to the [conscious] love-based approach.

Authoritarian or strict and inflexible - this kind of parenting ignores the messages children are communicating and instead urges parents to "show their power" by imposing "logical" consequences and withdrawing love.

"Showing our power to control events or others" underlies the methods used by the traditional parenting paradigm.

Children are expected to mind their parentswithout question.

Harsh criticism, evaluative statements and expectations of obedience do not support strong families and children, logically nor emotionally.

This can create serious emotional dysfunction or discontent in your child. The use of power in this way undermines such fundamental values as patience, empathy, understanding, love, cooperation and respect while demanding that children demonstrate those same values in return.

If your kids fear you, they will not trust you.

If they don't trust you, 
they cannot learn from you.
even if they love and respect you...

over control and compliance.

You will find that COOPERATION GROWS 
when you have an unconditional bond!

Parenting with Power 

    "You're [selfish, ungrateful, bad]..."

    "This is not up for discussion."

    "Do it right now."

    "Don't make me ask you again."

    "Don't talk back."

    "How many times do I have to tell you?"

    "Don't be a baby... stop crying!"

Parenting with Peace

    "I'd like us to find a solution that works for everyone."

    "It sounds like you'd like to discuss this more. Let's take some time to collect our thoughts."

    "I'm wondering what you need right now."

    "It looks like you're really upset that it's time to leave."

    "I'll stay with you until you're ready."

    "I can see that you want to be with your friends more, let's talk about ways you can do that."

♥ Healing past hurts and identifying unmet needs, FEARS
and unacknowledged feelings is crucial to shifting from fear to love in parenting. ♥

In the traditional paradigm, the focus on misbehavior is misguided and your anger that results is misplaced.

Your desire to change behavior quickly, demand obedience or force compliance stems from your own fears and feelings of discomfort.

Fears about...

  • what others think.
  • some real or imagined outcome.
  • your own perceived failure (or your child's).

Re-frame your view of children.

Unfortunately, this is not a child friendly society and there is enormous social pressure to keep kids "in line" and to be "tough" or "firm."

What your child really needs is more of your
right brain connection and less of your left brain logic.

Beware of parenting techniques, discipline models or books that offer one-stop, cure-all solutions or advice that is guaranteed to work for everyone.

The only magical fix is to begin to shift your perceptions and faithfully support the idea that nurturing your children - even during times when they push your buttons or seem like they don't "deserve" it - is primary.

Remember to keep love 
in front of the reaction! 

Your beliefs about your child influence your perceptions and your experiences. Beliefs and perceptions work hand-in-hand to create your reality.

If you wake up thinking about how your kids are disrespectful, defiant or uncooperative, then you are likely to experience disrespectful, defiant and uncooperative kids

If that is where you are directing your focus, you can't help but notice and then unconsciously react to their "non-compliance." (remember the arrow?)

Are you consistently focusing on your child's perceived faults 
or are you noticing the magnificent creature she is?

If you wake-up feeling and expressing gratitude for your child AND her most annoying habits - then your perception shifts. You WILL change your experience and be less easily ruffled by temporary conditions or troublesome behaviors.

The thoughts you think about your children will become your experience and the words you speak about them will become their truth.

Change your beliefs 
to change your experience. 

Where do we go from here?

You might need to (re)learn what it means to parent consciously. Commit to evolving as you let go of fears and self-imposed limitations. 

Take time to acknowledge individual thoughts and feelings and then assemble a set of values and actions that best suits your family’s needs and desires.

You want a child who is a creative thinker, empathetic, compassionate, one who stands up for right and wrong, a child who develops a passion for life and a purpose to contribute to the world.

This parenting model doesn't ask you to coddle or fulfill every last wish and desire - it asks that you respect your child's inborn right to have ideas that are different than yours, to have needs and to express his/her feelings without the fear of punitive discipline.

Children can only be expected to demonstrate values and beliefs that are consistently modeled for them and when they are developmentally ready.

Fill your child's mind with positive models and let her personal self develop.

"It is when the child feels the flow of life and love,
unhindered and her dignity unharmed, that she can best 
become aware of the needs of her fellow humans."

Naomi Aldort


Until next time...


1. Explore your family history. How did the family you grew up in interact? Was it loving and accepting or judgmental and critical?
2. Choose to stay present as you parent and remember your goals for your family's future. Hang them where you can see them!
3. Notice when you are reacting from fear or responding with love.

What do you think? I love hearing from you, so leave me a comment below. Share your stories, post your challenges and if you benefited from this article, consider sharing it with a friend!

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