When your kids are having a hard time, do you get caught in the whirlwind?
It’s easy to get caught in the whirlwind for sure. When they or we are not being our best selves.
The reference to whirlwind comes from the leadership book 4 Disciplines of Execution.
It’s the vortex of everyday that sucks us in. It’s what gets us off track from the bigger picture.
Parenting as Leadership.
As parents, we are leaders in our family. Whether we like it or not, our children are following our lead. That doesn’t mean doing as we say, it’s way more likely they are doing as we do.
Kids, especially in the first ten or so years, and definitely in the first six are learning more from who we are being, than what we say.
Learning what they see
When you really consider, in the first couple of years, they are learning the language that we speak at home. They don’t know the meaning of the words, until they figure it out for themselves.
In those first few years, it’s all test and measure. They are literally figuring out how the world works.
You will have seen it if you’ve ever spent time observing them from a place of wonder and curiosity.
That’s something my husband loves, is spending time with two-year-olds and just watching how they are discovering their world.
The trap of “knowing”
We often, as adults get trapped by our own level of expertise as a human. We get caught by the meanings we created growing up, and we respond to our children according to the programming that got embedded. (that is unless we’ve done work on reprogramming).
It’s the challenge of being a conscious parent, is becoming aware of those moments when our subconscious/embedded programming, contradicts our intentions and desires as a parent.
Same as in leadership, it’s important to get perspective on what level of expertise does my child have in this situation, activity or task.
The best leaders know that anyone new to a task, activity or situation may have some challenges in doing well.
When we use the model of situational leadership, instead of expecting that our kids just “get” things the first time, then we provide both them and ourselves some grace to be learning in a way that aligns with them.
Our responsibility is not to make them learn, it’s to create an environment that empowers them to learn, and they are two different things.
When we have a belief that it’s our responsibility to teach them, it puts an awful lot of pressure on us. Particularly those of us who might have the need to “get things right”.
Kids in a quandry
That then leaves our children in a tough situation, because our own inner voices, that shark music, can lead us to reacting in ways that are not helpful for our child. That then tends to create the exact situation we wish to avoid. What I mean by that is, when we react poorly because they didn’t learn fast enough what we wanted them to achieve. They end up anxious, because they want to please us, but because we are mad at ourselves, we may have responded badly. That moment of frustration or disappointment is processed that we are mad at them, and all they are doing is being their own fresh learner self.
Round-a- bout of frustration
If you have been on this round-a-bout of frustration for a while, we begin to predict the worst behaviour and then react to it before it happens. (come on, it can’t only be me who gets ahead of myself).
I’ve reacted myself all too often. When I’m impatient, exasperated, tired. The problem is, in those moments, it’s not our child’s responsibility to look out for our feelings. They are doing the best they know how with the skills and capabilities they have.
By focusing on what we don’t want, the situation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s our subconscious mind proving itself right. It’s our ego protecting us from what it perceives as risks. The opportunity is to allow our thinking brain to catch up.
Experience takes practice
I can attest, it does take time and practice in order to quieten the inner voice, the subconscious whose job is to keep us safe. It’s us learning how to trust ourselves, rather than leave our instinct to manage alone.
Self-trust is essential in order to get out of the whirlwind and parent with confidence.
Self-trust doesn’t mean everything is awesome. That doesn’t even happen in the Lego Movie. It’s trusting that we are enough, that we are worthy and that even if everything goes poorly, that we can cope with what comes.
It’s being willing to be vulnerable. We ok that $h!t happens. That instead of reacting, we have the power to regroup and be empowered.
As they say in Raising a Secure Child, Parenting isn’t only about being bigger and stronger, it’s being WISER and KINDER. Giving ourselves permission to be on the learning journey with our kids.
We don’t need to know everything NOW.
As my mentors in life-coaching have taught me. We only have to be ONE step ahead. We don’t have to have all the answers. It’s the same in parenting.
Instead of worrying about what we don’t know yet. We open, willing and curious about what we can learn just by being us. Allowing our children to be them. Guiding them to become who they are meant to be.
If you are in the trenches raising future adults,
then come join me and other parents
on the journey to becoming
Conscious Wholehearted Parenting Tribe
Remember, it takes a tribe of people to enable a fully rounded emotionally intelligent and resilient adult.
Together we ARE Stronger.