We’ve all been cooped up together for weeks, experiencing a very long summer, & with that we’ve all had to adapt to & accommodate all kinds of change & loss so, needless to say, the energy in some homes is getting a wee bit testy!
Part of the discomfort for parents is the heavy burden of feeling like we need to have all the answers for our kids, we need to fill their days on top of ours & we need to know what will happen next so they can be prepared.
I want to offer you some relief, that’s NOT YOUR JOB! There is not one person on earth who has the answer to everything, & our righteousness in assuming we should is, frankly, annoying!
It’s so alluring to share everything we do know because it makes us feel so good, we are ‘needed’, we are in control & powerful. After all, we’ve been told that “knowledge is power”. So parents take the liberty of bestowing all that power upon our powerless child any chance we get.
This is one of our biggest mistakes as parents. We “think we know” way too much! What we perceive to be ‘helpful’ quickly turns into a lecture, sermonizing all that we have learned in our 40 some years in some kind of teachable moment. Our children soon tune us out, roll their eyes, sigh, or storm off.
While we critique our child for being disrespectful, rude or out of control; of all the ways they could try to silence us, this is actually quite a highly sophisticated way of communicating.
If your child wasn’t terrified of losing their life line what they’d want to tell you is “SHUT UP”! (Perhaps with the addition of a few other choice words in there.)
It is not our job to have the answers & if we intend to preserve our relationships in the weeks to come, we will have to let go of this idea that we must.
Our only job is to make our child FEEL seen, heard, validated & prepared for the next level of life, so that they grow up confident in their abilities & with a healthy self-esteem intact.
How would you interact differently with your child if you didn’t have to ‘know’. If you didn’t have to be right, have an answer or fix their problem, without the “should’s & supposed too’s” expected of you as a parent?
Would you be stressed, anxious, rigid, tired & frustrated? Or might you be more relaxed, calm, co-operative, open & curious? Who would you rather be around?
It takes great courage for our children to speak & it’s our responsibility to meet their courage with the wisdom to listen. As the saying goes, we were given one mouth & two ears to listen twice as much as we talk. Listening is not only a form of communication, it’s the only way to form authentic connection with our child.