To parent is to spend most days in a state of barely-concealed, barely-contained insecurity, if not outright terror!
Our little loves trigger not only our fears for them–will they be happy, successful, productive members of society?–but also our deepest fears about ourselves–Am I a crappy person who is unwittingly raising a crappy person because I don’t recognize my own crappiness? Am I THAT parent with THAT kid? We are with them in the present yet they are constantly bringing up our past if we are paying attention.
So, we try to get a handle on that attitude of theirs. We try to nip that bad behavior in the bud. We try to show them who’s boss. We do it for their own good. Life ain’t fair, kid, and the world won’t treat you with kid gloves so you might as well start getting used to it now. Et cetera. We forget what it means to be a kid. They won’t live in our adult world but they’re not supposed to; we are supposed to live in theirs with as much compassion as discipline.
So, what if we let go of the idea that we have to be in control? What if instead, we aim to teach our kids how to make their own wise, healthy, and productive decisions, by actually letting them practice making their own decisions? Would we be raising entitled brats who expect everything to be handed to them? Or would be raising conscientious humans, who fully understand the power of choice? Maybe if we request, rather than demand, and allow them to negotiate, our kids will develop the ability to be true to themselves, while understanding and appreciating others’ points of view? What if we took a deep breath every time we were agitated or confused as to what to do? Just that alone could be transformative.
We often say we’d do anything for our kids. But, can we take this kind of risk? Can we be a different kind of Dad? More importantly, are we willing?
Listen today for three tips on how to gain control over your need to control.