If you are a parent, you have superpowers. You can be a superhero or you can be an uber-villain. It's really up to you. At least, that's what I took away from an article I read this morning, entitled "Study Uncovers Clues to Young Children's Aggressive Behavior," published at Medical News Today. Researchers followed over 250 parents and children through a period of years, from infancy to school age.
The study found that negative parenting from infancy onward was the greatest determining factor for aggressive behavior in young children. What's really interesting about this is that the researchers expected to find that a difficult temperament in the infant PLUS a negative parenting style would equal aggressive behavior. Instead, they were surprised to find that negative parenting was truly the culprit.
It's a sobering reminder. And I wanted to write about this study partly as a reminder of the responsibility we parents have, to use our super-powers for good and not evil. We cannot make excuses for our own bad behavior. If we haven't done well as parents, we can fix it. And we should. If we don't, our kids will pay the price.
The other reason I wanted to write about this is to remind us of the enormous impact of positive parenting. And by positive parenting, I just mean that you pay attention to your child with patience and kindness. You meet their needs. You enjoy being with them. I heard someone say once, "I just wanted somebody's face to light up when I came in the room." That's super-parenting made simple.
If being positive is normal for you with your children, you are making the world a better place. You are safeguarding your child's future happiness. And you are helping to create a person who will go out into the world with something to give to other people. The positive things you do may seem small and insignificant as you do them over and over and over every day, but they are not. They are huge. Never forget! Keep being a superhero!
A couple of years ago I dropped by to see a friend of mine, and when I rang the bell, her four-year-old daughter came to the door. When little Robyn saw me there, her whole face lit up and she said, "Oh, it's YOU! It's YOU!" That is a moment I will treasure for the rest of my life. And if a four-year-old can do it, I think I can do it too.