Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Negativity and family life

I'm stealing the idea for this post from a friend's blog, but I'm sure she won't mind! I found it very interesting....

First some articles:

"Our Brain's Negative Bias" by Hara Marano

Basically, it says our brains pay more attention to negative input, therefore to have a healthy marriage (and other relationships), positive interaction has to outweigh negative by 5 to 1.

This statement really stuck out to me:
"Occasional big positive experiences--say, a birthday bash--are nice. But they don't make the necessary impact on our brain to override the tilt to negativity. It takes frequent small positive experiences to tip the scales toward happiness."

Actually, dh and I don't have much trouble getting enough positive interaction. I guess that's why we're still married after almost 9 years!

"The Positive - Negative Ratio" by Sarah Chana Radcliffe, M.Ed., C.Psych.Assoc.

In summary, parental power to discipline comes from establishing a good relationship with the child and a good relationship (from the child's POV) is created by more positive interactions, at a ratio of 4 to 1.

"If the parent consistently makes predominantly positive actions, the child will perceive the parent as loving.On the other hand, if the parent makes predominantly negative actions, the child will usually perceive the parent as unloving, even hurtful -- despite the fact that the parent might be filled with love for the child!
"The ideal positive-to-negative ratio is 80 to 20.That is, for every four positive actions a parent makes towards his child, he can afford to make one negative one."

I have actually believed this for some time, though I never had any research to back it up. ;) My younger ds had been acting up recently, being belligerent and spending a lot of time in 'time out'. Our usual methods didn't help at all, so I thought "maybe he just wants more attention and if I give him more positive attention, then he won't need to act up to get it." So my dh and I started giving him more hugs and telling him we loved him more often, esp. first thing in the morning and last thing at night. And it really helped! Of course, we're not perfect (who is) but things have definitely improved. I really didn't change any of my other discipline techniques. This says to me that it isn't how you discipline, it's how you treat your child when you are not disciplining them that make discipline effective.

At any rate I will be putting even more effort into creating positive interaction in my family!

1 comment:

Brooke said...

So true, Alberta. It's something that is good to be reminded of. Because as a parent, I feel these things, though I may not always outwardly acknowledge them in my actions. So today I will be thinking about them, and making a more conscious effort. Thanks for sharing!