We live in a culture that is subtly competitive nearly all of the time. This goes triple on social media. Comparison regarding the meals you cook, the number of ab crunches you can do, or the amazing vacations you take is a daily contest on the net. Everyone is constantly measuring up to the alleged standards of the crowd. Such a mindset can create quite a lot of self-doubt and negativity — especially when it pertains to parenting.
There is no shortage of parenting advice, websites, books, and videos available. Criticism and parent-shaming can be read in every comment section.
You might feel that raising your kids is a minefield of possible mistakes or missteps that could damage your children for life. It’s important to slow down and take a breath.
Recognize first that your children love you and look up to you. Your best is good enough. Challenge parental anxiety by celebrating what you’re doing well. Lean into your successes and consider these ways of celebrating your parental wins every day.
Celebrate the Small Victories
It’s easy and pretty much normal to celebrate obvious events like:
- Successful potty training
- Good grades in school
- A successful three-point shot
- Watching your child thrive socially
But there is science behind the practice of honoring small steps. It’s called the “Progress Principle.” Researchers at Harvard Business School found that making incremental progress:
- Motivates people to continue
- Increases their feeling of positivity
- Delivers a sense of accomplishment
- Enhances their inner life
- Gives people the feeling of having one of their “best days”
Their work showed that on such “best days,” more than three-quarters of progress happens. Since major victories — by definition — are rarer, it makes a lot of sense to take clear notice of the less-than-major moments, too.
Pro tip: Keep a journal. In the tougher moments, it can be highly helpful to look back at a written list of wins.
Why Celebrating Parental Wins Matters
1. Parenting is Hard
Each and every moment is fraught with negative possibilities. Why in the world wouldn’t you seek ways to feel good about how you’re raising your children? Reminder: No one needs permission to feel really good when your parenting efforts result in something positive for your children (and you).
2. Social Media Makes Things Worse
Whether they are being entirely forthcoming or not, many parents use social media to “show off” how good of a job they’re doing. After a few minutes of scrolling, you might be left feeling you’re clueless. Firstly, there’s the reality that people carefully curate their pages to shine the most positive light on themselves. This can involve stretching the truth. Secondly, there are (at least) two powerful ways to counter this trend:
- Don’t waste too much time on social media
- Celebrate, honor, and appreciate any and all parental wins
3. It Changes Your Mindset
When you get into the habit of acknowledging all wins, you shift your mind into success mode. We are hard-wired to focus on and remember bad events. This is designed to protect us. In modern life, however, we almost always can afford to disregard a lot of what passes as “negative.” We can override the system by training our minds to notice and expect victories (of all sizes). No one is born an optimist. Still, it is a skill that can be learned and protected.
4. Celebrating Parental Wins is a Useful Way to Lead By Example
Again, optimism can be taught and learned. Your children are perpetually watching and monitoring you. They hear what you say. They take note of what you do. This can be a source of stress and pressure, sure, but it’s also a profound opportunity. Give them the gift of witnessing, firsthand, what it looks like when someone chooses to embrace gratitude and self-love.
Asking For Help Can Be a Major Parental Win
Raising kids is a fluid and evolving process. It can be super important to get some expert advice and encouragement. If you could use some support as a parent, let’s connect soon for a consultation. I’m here to help. Please consider parent counseling, and reach out for a confidential consultation today.
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