If you are like me, you have had moments on your parenting journey that have been colored by defeat. Moments where you have felt as though you wanted to give up, questioned your abilities, longed for a life where you get a break.
Maybe during the early years, when your young children melt down for what feels like hours at a time, because you gave them the wrong cup.
Or perhaps it shows up with your school-aged children, who have taken sibling rivalry next level.
Or during those adolescent years, when all you want is to find out about their life, and all they want is for you to leave them alone.
The challenges that show up while raising children are real, and raw, and can sweep us off our feet. In our own emotional upset, we can feel justified in blaming our kids, blaming our partners, or going into deep beat up on ourselves for not being the parents we thought we would be.
It can feel incredibly disempowering. And discouraging. And we can slip into feelings of despair and resentment. We stop believing that we can influence our life, we stop seeing the choices that are always present, even in our toughest moments.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Even in the darkest times, we can choose to be empowered.
Here are three tips for getting there:
Stop taking things personally
How many times have we heard or said, my child loves to push my buttons? We are really quick to put ourselves in the center of our kids universe, and decide that every behavior that shows up is really a plot to make us crazy.
Stop that. It isn’t true, and it isn’t helpful. Our kids are doing the best they can with the tools they have. They are navigating their world, with all of its social, emotional and physical minefields the best they can.
It really isn’t about you. The brain takes 25 years to be fully developed – 25 YEARS! Couple that with the fact that each one of us has a personal lens, developed over time and experience, that we use to make sense of the world, and it is any wonder that we can feel as though we live in our own private freak show?? Let it go.
Empowered parents don’t take things personally.
Knowing that parenting is a collective journey, I am guessing you have heard yourself saying, you are in charge of you, to one of your children, while later stating, you are MAKING ME so frustrated! Ahh, the mixed messages we give…
Stop blaming your children for your behavior. We set a really high bar for them, we want them to do well in school, be kind, eat their dinner, do their chores, want to go to bed at the end of the day, wash their hands…. I mean, the list goes on and on.
Oh, and we would REALLY like them to do all of this without being told (because we already told them once), without whining, without tantrums, eye rolls, back talk…
And then, when they show up poorly - don’t WANT to eat, do chores, go to bed, leave a playdate – when they fall apart and can’t navigate your expectation and their physical/emotional response, we can often meet them in their tantrum - yelling, shaming, blaming… You know what I am talking about.
This isn’t about perfection and not having our own emotions. Have your emotions, but stop blaming what you are feeling on your children. And when you show up poorly for your children, make amends, this is powerful modeling for your children, and a life skill we want them to learn to embody.
Empowered parents take ownership of their emotions and their behavior.
Recognize where you have influence
Will our children have meltdowns? Yes. Will our children roll their eyes at us? Yes. Will our children be openly defiant at times? Yes. Our kids are continuously trying on what it means to be separate from us, separate humans who want to know they matter.
And we are their teachers. We are the models of who they will one day grow to be. Who we BE in challenges and struggles, is how we influence who they GROW to be.
Empowered parents know that our response is where we have power.
Do your work. Know that it is a practice and will get easier over time.
Every parent can be empowered.
With support and community, we can do the deep internal work or wading through our triggers, releasing blame, and choosing to show up well for our family.
This is why I created the Living Joyful Courage Membership Program. LJC is a community of parents who are committed to the long term work of showing up more empowered, more empathetic, and more intentional. The LJC was designed for parents, by parents – influenced by the requests and feedback of the Joyful Courage community.
Each month, the participants of LJC enjoy webinars around a central parenting theme, a workbook for notes and reflection, weekly group coaching calls to support them in putting the work into practice, and a lively, private discussion forum to support and celebrate each other and the important work we are doing.
Every parent deserves a community like Living Joyful Courage.
Doors will open for one week, March 25th – April 1st, for new participants to join. Click here for more information and to get a spot on the interest list. You will receive goodies from me, and reminders for when to register.
I am here to serve and empower YOU on your parenting journey!
Casey O’Roarty is the host of the Joyful Courage Parenting Podcast, a weekly show where she inspires, entertains and educates listeners through thoughtful and honest conversations with other parent educators. You can find her show on itunes and google play.