One overlooked tool in our parenting toolbox is learning HOW we think about parenting (and our kids and ourselves). When we are aware of our current thinking, a.k.a. mindset , we can then start tweaking, transforming and revising it to create a happier, healthier and more harmonious family life based in reality. (Reality is a VERY under-used parenting tool!)
Who is in charge of who? We are in charge and can change only one person in the entire universe - ourselves (even if we try super duper hard, and even if we are so, so, SO righteously right!). When we truly embody the KNOWING we are only in charge of only ourselves, we focus on our own lives, our own limits and our own values. We stop trying to entice, bribe, shame or punish our child into being different from who they are today. We conserve our energy to be the parent we want to be, and SEE the actual child we live with.
Why do I feel so strongly? When we are overly involved with our kids, we are well served to think to ourselves, “WHY am I so worked up?”. When our kids lives take on a life of their own in our heads, we can bet we have hit a spot RIPE for personal growth.
WHY does their hair matter so much to us? WHAT is the 4 AP classes – all with A grades to prove about us? HOW is them being out and socializing every Saturday night going to fix our own middle-school loneliness?
Our emotions can lead us to personal growth, but our mindset that our OVERemotionality is our own immaturity guides us back to. . . we are only in charge and can change ourselves.
I know what’s best for them! We are NOT ever an expert on anyone else. I remember so CLEARLY being a new Parent Educator with the Parent Encouragement Program (PEP), sitting in a leader meeting sharing problems from our classes. OH MY GOSH, back in the day, I had an ANSWER for EVERYTHING. I was sure, with only 2 sentences that I could diagnose and SOLVE the problem. However, I noticed the MOST experienced PEP Leaders took a different tact, they asked for more information – they lead with curiosity questions and then, in their wisdom – they offered up a variety of solutions. I also noticed they used very little blame, very little shame and high dosages of compassion. Revolutionary!
Where is our mindset getting in the way? Where do we keep trying to control? Where do we feel so strongly we can’t stop thinking about it? How can we focus being the expert on ourselves instead of forcing our opinions on them?
*This blog was inspired by a quick conversation I had with PEP’s Executive Director, Kathy Hedge - so stay tuned for more information on a possible Parenting Mindset Shift Webinar!