Updated: Jun 14, 2019
By Dr. Sarah Haas *
No, really! Think about your favorite boss. What were they like? Were they warm and understanding? Positive and supportive both when you were doing well at your job and when you weren't at your best? Did they help you learn the ropes instead of simply telling you what to do? Did you feel like they treated you like an equal rather than their worker bee? Did they take time to get to know you personally?
Now think about what you did in return for this boss. Did you buy them a gift for Boss's Day (which is October 16th or 17th in the United States...I just looked it up)? Did you work longer hours? Did you do tasks that you weren't paid for to help them out in a pinch? Did you tell them when you did something wrong, even though you felt badly about it because you knew they wouldn't be mad at you or judge you? Did they make you feel good about yourself?
OK, now think about a boss of yours that you like the least. Did they micromanage you, even though you could handle the work? Were they demeaning to you? Did they act like they were too busy for you, or too good for you? Did they only interact with you because it was their job and they made it feel like they did not actually care about you? Did they try to get more value out of you by making you work longer hours?
Now think about your behavior towards that boss. Did you want to buy them anything ever? Did you work harder or longer for that boss, or did you avoid them at all costs? Did you talk to other people about how mean and awful they were? Perhaps you even told a fib or two just to not feel like you were getting in trouble? Were you frequently in a negative mood at work?
So a bad boss = qualities like negativity, selfishness, and acting superior. Those qualities in turn make you want to do the bare minimum for that person and felt overwhelmingly negative.
But a good boss = qualities like being kind, patient, and warm. In turn, those qualities in a boss make you want to do more for work for that person.
Do you see where I went with this?
You already know that being a parent is a job where you work overtime everyday and requires every ounce of patience you have.
But what if you could be more like that good boss? What kind of impact might that have on your child? What kind of impact might that have on your moods, and thoughts, and feelings?
Now, before putting too much pressure on yourself, recall that even your good boss had bad days. But here's another amazing thing: Those bad days do not automatically stick out to us because those days are inconsistent with our overall thoughts about that person.
Remember, your child are literally always learning from you in subtle ways; they are learning how to solve problems, how to react to frustrating situations, how to talk to other people, and so forth.
We can all always make improvements. What is one small thing you can do to be more like your favorite boss? Can you set aside time to play with them tonight when they ask you to play with them? Can you find 5 things to praise them for before nighttime? Maybe you can show more patients when they are feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.
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