Over on @parentingforward, @cindybrandt was talking about the way we worry as parents. She said, “Every parent worries. To love is to worry. What if that doesn’t have to be true? What if we can learn better coping mechanisms for our anxieties so that we don’t exchange them with our children? What if we don’t wear worry as a badge of honor?”
And I thought about this for a while, because my parenting journey has been a long hard tussle from the clutches of worry and fear and control.
This is me and my fam some 13 or so years ago. It was after our son died (he fits between the two kids) but before I understood about Autism or trauma (my own or anyone else’s). It was before we understood about gender or sexuality differences. It was before I knew how to work through my own baggage. It was before that time when I decided to try giving up fear for Lent.
And I so wish that I could go back and do some #lifecoaching for this woman. I wish I could help her name and work through the messages and fears that left her tied up in knots. I wish I could walk her through emotional self-regulation strategies, self-care practices and some basic relationship tools to help her avoid the years of heartache and pain that are coming.
We all know that isn’t an option. But do you know what IS an option? For me to pass on to others what I’ve learned.
So, if you’re feeling like your parenting is being ruled by fear instead of love, then maybe it’s time we had a chat. In my experience you can’t just “try harder” to be less afraid. You have to get to the root of why you’re afraid and then find the path through it. You can’t just “try harder” to be gentle with your kids. You have to practice being gentle with yourself until the gentleness overflows. And you can’t “try harder” to make sure that your kids become who you want them to be. You have to become who you were meant to be yourself, so that you can invite your kids to embark on the journey for themselves.
Change is possible…
Photo Credit: Robynn Munnings
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