Its Not Easy
Parenting is not easy. Being a “good” parent is downright hard! It requires us to constantly be self-aware, judging our own actions, and course correcting at almost every step. Yet at the same time we are the toughest judge on our actions. We need to be forgiving and gracious to ourselves as well. Mastering these two things simultaneously is a skill that will serve you well!
Dr Brene Brown, in her most recent book Dare To Lead, says, “When we think about how Millennials and Gen Zers were raised, many of their parents swaddled them in armor [emotional self-protection strategies] out of their own lack of confidence as parents and people. The more grounded confidence parents have, the more likely they are to prepare their child for the path by teaching courage, praising effort, and modeling grit, verses trying to prepare a perfect path for their child by fixing, praising only results, and intervening.”
We need to do our own Emotional Work
I believe it is critical as parents to do our own emotional work. Every generation of kids grow and develop as a reaction to their parents issues. I recently read an article that described how all the generations in 1900-2000s were reactions to their predecessors. All the way back to the Depression Era. The pendulum swings and it swings more broadly when we, as parents, don’t get our own baggage sorted out and dealt with. I see it again and again, every day. Both in the lives of clients and in my own life!
My Own Example
I tend to care how others perceive me and have high expectations. I naturally see this come out in my parenting. Just the other day, one of my daughters was throwing a fit in a hotel hallway. She was crying and carrying on hysterically because she wanted to ride in one car and not another. I tried to rationalize with her and calm her down. It wasn’t working. As if I was having an out-of-body experience, I found myself saying, “You need to stop throwing a fit. It is embarrassing.” If I could have eaten my words and crawled under a rock at that moment, I would have. I DO NOT want my kids to adjust their behavior in the world out of fear or expectations of what other will think. This is NOT a value I care to pass on. Yet, it’s a value I struggle with and it is hard for me to suppress that in the heat of the moment. However because I have and am constantly doing my own emotional work, I believe that I don’t force this undesirable value to my kids as often as if I would otherwise.
My encouragement to you is to find ways of constantly self-evaluating and improving yourself, while loving yourself and treating yourself with empathy. This is what grit is all about. Facing the brutal reality of what IS, yet holding room for hope and making improvements in the direction you want to go. It is hard and it is brave, and I know you’ve got it in you!
And if you need help along the way (like most of us do), reach out to us! We’d love to come along side you in your journey as a parent.