How to Support Without Rescuing

Photo by martinhosmart/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by martinhosmart/iStock / Getty Images

My mom made made terrible choices as it related to money, nutrition and all around self-care. I watched as my grandparents spent YEARS being very, very angry at her, lecturing her and then rescuing her. They stayed terse and disappointed - to TEACH her a LESSON. A lesson she never learned.

My mom was willing to pay the price of their disappointment to get the money/support she wanted. Their disapproval fed her low self-esteem and discouragement. She spent her energy despising her parents, herself and working on ways to be rescued by them. My mom felt she earned all that money and support due to the indignities/lectures/disapproval she endured. Her parents felt/thought/hoped she was one lecture away from change, so they kept on lecturing. They were in an endless cycle of:  Remind, Rescue and Reprimand.

Of course, everything is so clear when it's not YOU, right?! It's so easy to see someone ELSE being overly-controlling, or too permissive, or condescending. In my own life I know I do this Remind, Rescue and Reprimand cycle. When I'm able to be conscious here's what I try to remember . . . 

1. Children/Teens/People grow, change and develop at their own d**n pace. As much as we try, we can't force them to want what we want them to want, even if it's super duper good for them.

2. The message of love doesn't get through if it's coated in disappointment, judgment or blame.

3. Better to let children experience consequences, disappointment and strong feelings when they are young. We all know from experience, life is FILLED with consequences, disappointment and strong feelings.

4. Uphold boundaries with love and compassion. If they test you, uphold the boundary and stay close to the person. If they run out of money, compassionately listen, problem solve and stand by their side WITHOUT giving them money.

5. Lecturing relieves our stress, but at the cost of the relationship with our child and robs the child of experiences.