In sociology and psychology, the self-fulfilling prophecy phenomenon occurs when one person’s expectations and assumptions about a situation or another person lead to the manifestation of an outcome or behavior that aligns with that person’s original expectations or assumptions.

Parents often manifest (both consciously and unconsciously) their discontent with what they perceive to be a problem or flaw in their child. Left unchecked, their conscious and subconscious minds will look for evidence of that behavior. They will focus even more on the problem, and more often than not, they will exacerbate the problem by their very focus.

If I say, “don’t think about a pink elephant,” your mind may instantly conjure up a picture of a pink elephant. It would be far more effective for me to tell you to think of, say, a blue elephant. As parents, our duty of stewardship over our children will be better served giving positive directions and positive reinforcement of good behavior than by focusing on the parts of our children that we dislike.

The way people talk to each other, and especially the way parents talk to their children, is a reflection of the way they feel about themselves. If you see a lack within yourself, you may lash out when your child manifests similar behavior. If your subconscious is envious of your child’s natural intuition and abilities, you may find yourself upset or annoyed at your child for the free-spirited simplicity you have lost.

The key, then, is to become conscious of your thoughts, because your thoughts are the root of your feelings and your actions. As you learn to treat yourself with compassion, you will project that love onto your children and recognize that they, and you, and all of us, are spirits having a beautiful flawsome (flawed but awesome) human experience.

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