Change Your Thinking, Change Your Kids' Behavior

By Rosemond, John | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 26, 2011 | Go to article overview

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Kids' Behavior


Rosemond, John, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Browsing through a gift shop the other day, I happened on a decorative plaque on which was inscribed a quote attributed to the late "power of positive thinking" guru Norman Vincent Peale: "Change your thinking, and you change your world."

I thought hard about that for several hours and came to the conclusion that Peale was being redundant. A change of thinking doesn't change the world, and I'm reasonably certain that he wasn't a humanist, so he really didn't believe in the idea that each of us constructs our own, equally valid, reality. So, I think he meant to say, "If you change your thinking, your entire worldview changes." And when one's worldview changes, perceptions, priorities, values and relationship to everything in the world changes as well. For those reasons, a person's behavior also changes. As such, people who know the individual in question can tell, even if they don't know his or her worldview has changed, that there is "something different" about him or her, and they begin responding differently to that person. His or her change of thinking, therefore, if it is valid and radical, changes other people's behavior.

How does this relate to parenting? A number of years ago, I came to the realization that the problems today's parents suffer with the behavior of their children primarily is a matter of faulty thinking on their part. A person living in or before the 1950s could not have imagined that just two generations later, parents would be having the sort of child-rearing problems today's parents report. For example, there is every reason to believe that in the 1950s, it was the rare child who was "oppositional" or threw tantrums after his or her third birthday. And people who taught back then scratch their heads over this ADHD thing.

The reason for this is not that our ancestors used better discipline methods. It is that they thought differently than do today's parents about children and their responsibilities toward them. …

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