How To Help Kids Feel Safe And SecureJun 03, 2022
Do you feel like parenting is harder than ever right now? That’s what I’m hearing — Parents are telling me that it’s HARD with a capital H, and they are floundering. Parents desperately want to be able to help their kids, but they don’t know how.
Here’s what I’m hearing:
I don’t know what to do
I don’t know where to start
I don’t know what questions to ask
I don’t know if I have the skills for this
Have you ever had one of these thoughts? Trust me you are not alone.
The problem with these thoughts is that they make the parents feel insecure, helpless, anxious and disempowered — and if you read my recent article, you know that feelings are contagious. When we feel insecure and anxious, our nervous systems are on alert, and our kids know and pick up those feelings from us.
Imagine working for a company where the top leaders were insecure and anxious. Would that instill confidence or make you feel secure about the company or your position? Likely not, and chances are high that you and other employees would be actively looking for more secure positions.
As a company, you don’t want to have an insecure and anxious leader at the helm.
And the same goes for parenting.
Kids need to feel safe and secure in order to behave well and learn.
When kids feel safe and secure, they are able to access the parts of their brain that are responsible for controlling their behavior and learning. When they don’t feel safe, it’s like a gate has gone up cutting off access to these parts of their upstairs brain, leaving their primal downstairs brain in charge. That’s the part of their brain that makes them fight or run away.
So what can we do as parents to help our kids feel secure when we are feeling insecure and anxious with everything that’s going on around us?
1 - Awareness is KEY right now. Separate your own feelings from how you are showing up as a parent. When you are with your child, work on staying present and creating a feeling of safety for your children. If any of the thoughts from above creep in, consider the thought: I don’t have to have all the answers, and I can handle whatever comes up.
2 - Stick with routines. Routines provide predictability, and things being predictable help us feel more secure. The drive to feel secure is one of our top instincts as humans. It was what kept our ancestors safe and alive, and how those genes perpetuated. Sticking to routines like reading together in bed or family game night can help your kids feel more secure.
3 - Get help. There are so many professional resources available now, and it doesn’t have to take long to start seeing a difference. My clients tell me how different they start feeling after just one or two coaching sessions. For some reason most of us think parenting is instinctual and we should just know how to parent well. Unfortunately, some of the most effective parenting strategies go completely against our natural instincts.
I get it, parents want answers. They want to know where to start and what to do. Unfortunately most parents typically start by looking at the how of what to do for their kids and looking outside to find someone that can help their children. Parents all want to know the HOW of what to do to help their kids, but it begins with the WHO — and you showing up as the confident and secure leader at the helm.
If insecurity and anxiety are negatively impacting your parenting — and too often you find that your feelings are controlling you — I will be offering a live virtual workshop on Tuesday, June 28th. The workshop is called Parenting Through Anxiety, but the tools easily apply for stress and other negative feelings. Learn how to take anxiety and stress out of your parenting process (and your kids) so you can take back control. You can get more information and sign up here.
If you want help sooner, I offer a 30 minute exploratory parent support and coaching session where you can get a feel for coaching and find out if it’s for you. There is absolutely no obligation, and you will leave with at least one tool or strategy of what you can do differently that will help.
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