Children….From Challenge to Gift

Contributed by Melanie Miller, M.Ed.

What are the current challenges or problems that you’re now facing with your children?  Make a list of them.  Does your list include whining, attitude, homework hassles, morning routine struggles, sibling conflicts?  Relax, you’re just like every other parent.  If you were to compare your list of problems with all the parents in your neighborhood, you’d probably have very similar lists!  Nice to know you’re not alone!

Now, fast forward several years…to when your child is graduating from high school and (hopefully) leaving home!  What are some gifts or qualities you hope they will have?  Write them down.  I’m not talking material gifts!  What are your hopes for your children…..a healthy self-esteem, courage to take risks, able to handle responsibility, respect for themselves and others, a good work ethic?….and don’t forget a sense of humor!

Take a look at both lists.  What happens when you focus on the “problems” list?  What happens when you focus on the “gifts” list?   As you look at each list, how do you feel, what are thinking, what are you deciding about yourself and your child?   I’ve heard it said that if we focus on the problem, we become the problem.  The next time your child moves sloooowly through their morning routine, try looking at the “gifts” list.  What can you do differently to encourage them to become the gift that you so much want them to be.

Melanie is a Certified Positive Discipline Trainer and works as a Parent Educator and Grade School Counselor.  She offers parenting classes in the Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond  area and is available as a Parent Coach, and Trainer of professionals who work with families and in schools.  You can contact her at or 206.579.2172.  To find out more about Positive Discipline, visit or