Parenting When Things Go "Wrong" For Your KidsMar 03, 2022
As parents, we typically have an expectation of how things will go for our kids. But what happens when they don’t turn out as we expected? When this happens, do you think that something has gone wrong?
I invite you to take a minute and think about how you react and how you parent from a place of “something has gone wrong”. For most of my clients, when they believe something has gone wrong, they go into alert mode. Their emotions are heightened, they can’t think clearly, and as a result they can’t parent effectively. Does that happen to you?
For most of us, when things don’t go as we expect them to — we tend to think it wasn’t supposed to happen this way. But I invite you to consider that this line of thinking keeps you in a state of resistance, and what we resist will continue to persist. We actually make it harder on ourselves.
When we are stuck in a “it wasn’t supposed to happen this way” place, we are arguing with reality. We are arguing with what is, and you know what? Reality always wins, 100% of the time. Consider that whatever happened that you are arguing against was supposed to happen. Why? Because it did.
I had a client experience one of these situations recently, and it actually helped her see how far she has come in just a couple of months. Her 3-year-old had been struggling in preschool, and it culminated in the school telling the parents that their child wasn’t a good fit and in her words, “they kicked my child out of the school”.
We discussed how she thought about it, and she commented that she actually was at peace with it. She wasn’t thinking that something had gone wrong. As my client talked about it, she commented that it was the first time that she could really see how much she has changed since we started working together. I asked her how she would have handled it before, and she said she likely would have ended up needing anti-anxiety meds.
If she thought something had gone wrong, she would have felt very anxious. She likely would have bought into some of the narrative that the school was spinning around issues that they believed her child had. Because she was able to stay more calm, she parented more effectively through the whole situation. She spoke with her child’s pediatrician and the behavior psychologist in their office, both of whom thought her child was fine and that the behavior was not out of line for a three year old.
My client chose to think that nothing had gone wrong, and that it was supposed to happen this way because the school wasn’t the best match for her child. When she approached it as if nothing had gone wrong, she didn’t resist what was happening and was able to calmly and effectively navigate through the situation.
There will be times in your life as a parent when it’s going to be difficult to think that nothing has gone "wrong". But I invite you to consider that difficult situations are actually when you need this line of thinking the most. The belief that things have gone wrong makes you anxious and afraid — which makes it really difficult to parent well, especially when faced with difficult situations.
This doesn’t mean you have to love or be grateful for the situation, but can you lean into acceptance? Can you withhold judgment and avoid labeling the situation as “wrong” or “bad”, and accept that it is what it is?
When you lean into accepting what is, and stop fighting reality, you can stop the “something is wrong” and “it wasn’t supposed to happen this way” thought loops that are constantly replaying in your head. This then gives you the bandwidth to figure out how best to handle the situation. When you parent from a place of accepting what is, you parent much more effectively — and you stay calm and in-control in the process!
I call the ability to parent from acceptance Parenting from Neutral, and it’s a skill that I teach parents in my coaching program. This is how we model and teach our kids to be stronger and more resilient so they can best handle the challenges that life throws at them.
Do you want an easy way to start parenting better? Learn how Power Questions can help! Go to my website at melpeirce.com where you can gain instant access to a free Parent’s Power Questions Guide, and the fastest and easiest way to start parenting better. Happy Parenting!
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