Being a parent is overwhelming at times. Endless schedules, teachable moments, messes to clean up, meals to prepare, laundry to fold, and moments to lose your cool.
Take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Countless parents are in the same boat. And all of us are in this boat due to two things.
First is our own emotional reactivity. And second is the biggest lie many parents live by… more on this in a moment.
First things first, our emotional reactivity is our own worst enemy.
We all live within a system. Your family is a system. And each member feeds off other members within the system. Put another way, have you ever had a time when you were anxious about something and your kid’s behavior escalated because of their feeding off your anxiety? Or your spouse has a bad day and you can sense it as you enter the house, even before you see them?
The simple truth is you probably spend a great deal of time trying to control things you can not possibly control. Your kid’s reactions, their behaviors, their choices, even your spouse. I can’t blame you for trying really. I’ve done it too.
There’s a great deal of pressure with parenting today. We are bombarded with the messages of putting family first. Keeping our children safe. Being saddled with the idea of parents are the ones molding the future of our world.
So rather than spending a great deal of energy on things you can’t control, spend time working on the things you can. This starts, and probably ends, with you.
Second, there’s a lie many parents live by.
It’s this: you are responsible for your child.
Many parents have bought into the idea that it’s our job to get our children to think, believe, feel, and behave like a good person. We are responsible for their life. After all, they are a reflection of ourselves. Right?
Hear me out. They are a member of our family and will act out our family patterns and beliefs, hence the importance of the first point. But ultimately, they are their own separate being.
We are much more responsible TO our children than we are FOR them. Our children have been granted the same power of choice as us. And if you think you can program your child to act, think, behave a certain way, you’re fooling yourself.
As parents we do have tremendous influence on our children, but we have more responsibility to them than for them.
And the main responsibility to them? Being consistently cool in the face of ever present change. After all, the only thing you have control over is yourself.
Marital application: To apply this idea on another level, read the post again and replace the word children with spouse. The same idea applies.