I find self reflection to be the most important Positive Parenting Skill. The ability to recapture parenting experiences, think about them and evaluate them is crucial to improve any and all other parenting skills.
Often you probably do it automatically - talk to friends, maybe write a journal. At other times reflection gets forgotten in the business of life or even avoided. This doesn't need to be.
Self reflection is a great way to overcome and to some degree even prevent disappointments, mistakes, fuzzy days and other setbacks. You take a good look at what happened, learn from those insights and then are free to move on. No more guilt, no more putting yourself down, just experiences and learning - that's the beauty of it.
There is no single right way but there are some principles to follow.
a friend, jot it down in a diary or even whinge to a tree. But get it
out - thinking alone is only
half as good. Why? In the process of putting your thoughts into words
you're already shifting your point of view a little bit. What do you
find important to mention? Which details do you leave out? The process
clears the mind already. This alone might be enough to settle some
emotional turmoil and help you to react calmer, more thoughtful, more
loving to your childes needs.
But this is just the beginning.
This is where a reflection journal comes in handy. You might have answered the Question "why it happened as it did" already while talking through things. Writing down the answer to "what if anything would you do (differently) next time" helps you to create accountability. So when things went wrong - this is where you write down hot to do things better and if they went well - what do you think was key for it.
How did it go? Regularly compare your plans to your reality. Be kind to yourself. Be proud of your achievements. And remember, if things didn't yet go as well as wished or planned, this too is just an experience to learn from.
You don't need to wait for the next problem to happen to have a reason for more self reflection. Doing it regularly as a daily reflection might be like the cleaning of volcanoes and clearing of baobab trees the Little Prince is doing on his little planet.
Schön (1983)1 says that the more you reflect on the positive things, the less need there is to reflect on the negative things, as less will go wrong if we understand good practice better.
The other day I found:
Life is like learning to juggle. When you start out or first add another ball, it is inevitable that you drop one ball or all. Just pick them up, sort yourself and try again.
1) Schön (1983): "The Reflective Practitioner", London: Temple Smith
When did you have your last aha-moment? And what was it?
When things go pear-shaped, what do you do to get back on track?
Or do you have an inspiring story about self reflection to share with us?
Please do so:
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