One of the most influential writers for me right now is Seth Godin, specifically his book, Linchpin. He has made an incredible career out of explaining how people operate and how to make the best of what you can be. His audience is generally in the business world, but a lot of what he talks about is incredibly relevant to parenting. For example:
“Every interaction you have with a co-worker or customer is an opportunity to practice the art of interaction” (Godin, Linchpin, pg 57).
What if we changed it to this:
“Every interaction you have with your child is an opportunity to practice the art of interaction”
At the very core, if you think about it, your child learns through the results of interactions, mainly with you, but also with others (peers, people at the store, grandparents, etc.). Your child’s behavior will be a result of these experiences. Ever wonder why your child behaves differently with different people? We use the word “spoiled” to describe the way our children behave with grandparents who take advantage of the fact that the kids are shipped away at the end of the weekend and give into their every desire (more on that later). Their “spoiled” behavior is simply a product of the interactions with grandparents, just for example.
Think about your interactions today. Can you categorize them? What was the ratio of positive : negative? Instructive : corrective? This can be a sobering experience. What is your child learning from your interactions?