Thoughts are constantly running through our minds—often unexamined. We need to take a look at our thoughts and reflect on them. If we don’t, we run the risk of creating a reality that colors the ideas and opinions we form about ourselves and others. If we let our thoughts just hum along without reflection, we can believe them to be true even when evidence is to the contrary.

Think about what that might mean as a parent. Have you ever found yourself thinking or saying something like “George never listens,” “It is always a fight to get Emily to bed,” “Bobby won’t eat anything I make him,” “Mark is lazy,” or “Barb is temperamental”? The thoughts that go along with this internal (or external) chatter deny other aspects of a child. It can be easier than it may seem to then follow those thoughts and relate to your child in a limited way. If you let thoughts go unexamined and unchallenged, it can be easy to plug into only the instances that reinforce a restricted view.

We are all whole people with lots of attributes. Be careful not to get hooked on just one characteristic. See your child and yourself as complex, whole beings who are constantly changing. Be open to the possibilities for your children and for yourself.