As parents, we want to optimize the time we have with our families. With the average family's work and school schedule, family time is at a premium. But when home life is full of bickering, name calling, disobedience and rudeness, we get frustrated. We WANT to enjoy our family...but sometimes, well sometimes we just want to run away. Does anyone else feel that way once in a while, too?
All families have their good days and their bad. But what if we could increase the number of good days we have by making simple tweaks to what we are already doing? Well, we can! Here are three secrets that successful parents use to increase their family's good days.
1. Osmosis Works
We often joke that we wish osmosis worked when it came to learning things in school. (It would have really come in handy when I was taking Chem 105!) But did you know that osmosis DOES work in every day life?
Want proof? It is everywhere around us:
When we surround ourselves with something, we become it. (See the inspiring story of Gifted Hands as an example.) But the FABULOUS news, is that as parents, we can use this to our advantage. Just as we try to give our kids healthy food to eat and not junk food, we can also help them to consume healthy resources over "junk food" entertainment. This is why I try so hard to give you resources that your family will not only enjoy, but that will model good behavior and good character. Remember, we become what we surround ourselves with- so take a good long look at the books, movies, and art you have in your home.
And the best news is that these character building resources all have a secret weapon!
2. The Secret Weapon: Oxytocin
This next tip is proven by science, and I think it is absolutely fascinating. I first learned about the power of oxytocin when I read Simon Sinek's book, Leaders Eat Last and I was blown away. Before, I knew that the principles and resources that we share at Raise The Good have worked in my family and others, but now science has shown me WHY.
Oxytocin is known for it's ability to create attachment, induce kindness and love, and decrease stress. All pretty great things we want in our families, right?
Here's how it works:
Everyone in the above scenarios feel more love, want to act on that love, and has decreased stress.
Isn't that AMAZING?! What a great design! Oxytocin is the ultimate "feel good/ do good" hormone, and it is designed to multiply love.
This is how the principles we teach at Raise The Good WILL MEASURABLY change your family. When we replace so-so resources with quality, oxytocin producing resources that model goodness--your kids will feel good. You will feel good. And then you are more likely to DO good. To be kind. To serve others, and to care about them. To listen more. To argue less. To crave good and beautiful things. This is a gorgeous, self-sustaining cycle.
Just think of the magnificent domino effect this can have when families deliberately decide to use books, movies and other resources that show kindness, duty, loyalty, and sacrifice. We become what we consume. And even better, the family is not a self-contained unit- we have the ability to affect our community and the world around us by showing kindness to others...which gives both us and them oxytocin...which means we are both more likely to do something kind to the next person... and on and on it goes.
What about my grumpy 14 year old son who would rather watch and read things that are super exciting, but depict really gory violence or other things I don't like?
Just give it time. I have a grumpy 14 year old, too. He moans and complains about what we decide to read or watch as a family--but he gets pulled into it every. single. time. (Even though he might deny it after! LOL!) These things WILL sink in- remember osmosis?
Here are a few other tips:
I promise you, that when you decide to use EVERY opportunity, even silly things like family movie night, to teach your kids goodness, their hearts will grow and turn towards each other.
3. Work on YOU!
This last secret is probably the hardest. Remember the osmosis effect? Well...WE are a huge part of our children's lives. If we are not modeling behavior we want them to follow, or if we read or watch things that don't promote healthy and loving behavior, the other stuff doesn't really matter. When our kids see us apologize, when they see us turn off a movie because it glorifies unhealthy and negative behavior, when they see us reading self-improving material, THAT is what sticks. You are your child's first and most important teacher. As St. Francis of Assisi once said, "Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words." This relates to ANYTHING we want to teach to any one- if necessary, use words. We inspire them by our actions.
Community Question: Do you have a tip that you would add to the list? Tell us about it!
P.S. To hear me talk about some of these principles, check out this podcast interview I did with April Perry from Power of Moms. I had a lot of fun talking my passion for inspiring kids and bettering our families!
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