Do you REALLY believe in your kid?
Updated: Feb 11
Last week in the Real Life Momming group, I got two questions about seemingly different parenting challenges:
1) My kid screams whenever she doesn't get her way and getting her to calm down is killing me! How can I get her not to freak out in the first place?
2) My son is being called a nerd because he's in the school spelling bee. How can I build him up to honor his unique talents and be proud of who he is?
Surprisingly, the answer to both of these questions is the same:
Hand your child's problems back to them in love.
If you've followed me, or know a bit of Love and Logic™, you've heard this before, but what does it really mean?
The innate empathy we have as moms is our superpower and our kryptonite all at once. We hurt when our kids hurt, we carry their struggles as physical weights upon our shoulders and, if we're not careful, we mistake their problems for our own. This does our kids a huge disservice for several reasons:
1. It creates a powerless, victim mentality.
Watching us take on their troubles teaches kids that when they have problems, it's someone else's job to solve them, and even worse, that they really don't have what it takes to handle things on their own.
2. It doesn't work.
No matter how much we wish we could, we simply CANNOT take another person's tough times away, solve their problems, or divert hardship from their path...even our kids. Focusing on solving kids problems for them usually makes things worse, because it gives everyone the false sense that things are handled, while the REAL work that needs to be done (the child owning their challenge and their power to overcome it) isn't happening at all.
3. It is unsustainable.
Empathy means we FEEL our kids' feelings...and taking on the burden of our kids' emotions PLUS our own is a heavy load to carry. First, because it's just A LOT and second, because we always put our kids first, which means we're dealing with their emotions and ignoring our own. It always comes back to bite us.
Handing your kids' problems back to them means letting them struggle without rescuing them unless it's absolutely necessary. Meanwhile, we love the crap out of them, believe in their ability to overcome their struggle and SHOW that belief. It's the difference between:
Getting our kids to calm down...and...teaching them to calm themselves down.
Building our kids up...and...empowering them to build themselves up.
Telling them what to do/feel...and...being available for support and information
It's believing IN our kids instead of believing FOR our kids.
When you REALLY believe in your child and that they can figure out whatever is getting them down, parenting from that belief is magic.
When you REALLY believe in your child and that they can figure out whatever is getting them down, parenting from that belief is magic. Whenever you get worried or tempted to fret about their struggles, you can come back to that belief and the weight of carrying their load falls away.
The path forward becomes clearer, and the longer you hold onto, and parent from, that belief, the stronger it gets in both you and your child. It's an awesome snowball effect that builds a giant ball of confidence, trust, independence and pure love without agenda.
Parenting this way is easy, once you get there. What makes it HARD are feelings of obligation and worry that warp our empathy into controlling and meddling parenting. Helping moms build their belief in their kid so their empathy comes out as empowerment and support is a huge part of what I do as a parent coach.
If you're ready to find and nurture that belief, I'm ready to help you. Reach out and let's talk about what's going on in your family, what's holding you back, and what you can do about it. ann@DenverDoulaServices.com