What Parents Focus On Will Expand

what parents focus on expandsLong ago I discovered that what parents focus on with their kids expands.

That is, when you notice their poor, uncooperative behaviour you just get more of it.

Conversely, when you constantly focus on (look for, comment on, praise) their cooperative behaviours that’s what you get more of.

The same applies to emotions. Focus on positive feelings and you’ll get more of these.


Do you want to feel appreciated by your kids? If so, then start noticing when they help out; love those affectionate moments; and show gratitude yourself for kindnesses big and small.You’ll give your children permission to do the same.

Do you want to feel respected by your kids? If so, start focusing on good manners; make sure you model active listening; and notice when kids give compliments to you and each other.

Do you want to feel more connected to your kids? If so, look for times when you can have fun together; share fun and stories more with them; and really value the small moments of closeness you have with them.

Emotionally intelligent families focus on the feelings they want to experience, and not just the behaviours they want.

They also share their feelings – the good and the not-so-good – and they have a strong proprietary language built around moods, feelings and emotions.

Interestingly, emotionally-smart parents find when they start to focus on feelings family rules become obsolete. That’s fascinating, but it’s a story for another day!

What’s your antenna set for?

Your focus is like a TV antenna. It will pick up the things you set it for.

If you want to develop your own and your family’s emotional smarts (and why wouldn’t you because they will help your kids be happier and more effective in friendships, at school and later on at work) then you need to set your antenna for the positive feelings in your family that you want to experience.


Michael Grose

Michael Grose is the current Channel 9 Today Show parenting commentator, reaching parents Australia-wide on a regular basis.He is also the author of 8 parenting books, including his latest release Thriving! and the best-selling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It.

A popular presenter, Michael Grose speaks to parents, teachers and principals on a regular basis.Michael comes from an education background, and has conducted post-graduate research into what makes healthy families tick.He's given over 1500 parenting presentations, including the first parenting seminar in Parliament House, Canberra.Michael is married with three adult children who have all successfully flown the parent nest.

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