Are you Parenting from Love or Fear?
A few months ago I was driving down the road when the book I was listening to (The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz) said all emotions boil down to one of two sources: love or fear. I have been on a quest for several years to better understand emotion and so this idea intrigued me.
As I continued listening, the author’s words resonated with me. When I got home I ordered a hard copy of the book from my library so I could better study what was taught. Here’s some of what I learned:
- Obligations ~ you know, feeling like you “have to” ~ comes from the fear of what someone else thinks you should do or be, or what you think is expected of you. Of course, often times we do “it” anyway, even when we’re kicking-and-screaming… and dying on the inside.
- Hurt comes from fear. When I’m feeling hurt because someone said or did something to me, it’s usually because I’m worried that I was wrong or I fear the person doesn’t like me or can’t see my worth.
- Blame comes from fear. I’m scared that I did the wrong thing (or you think I did the wrong thing) and I don’t want to be wrong so I need to find a way to turn it back on you, so you’re responsible, not me.
- Trying to control others comes from fear ~ fear that you don’t really know how to do it “right” without my guidance.
- Pity comes from fear. And when I feel sorry for you I try to do for you things you should do for yourself.
- Unkindness comes from fear ~ fear that if I am kind to you, you might lash out at me and then I’ll be hurt. Unkindness usually leads to other fear-based emotions like anger and sadness.
Ruiz teaches, “In the track of fear we have so many conditions, expectations, and obligations that we create a lot of rules just to protect ourselves against emotional pain…” (pp. 64-65). But reality is such that instead of avoiding emotional pain we create shame, embarrassment, annoyance, impatience, and a whole lot of pretending.
As you read this are you beginning to see how parenting from fear might be a problem?
Love, on the other hand, is based on respect (which, interestingly, leads to compassion). Parenting from a place of love lets you take full responsibility for you, while at the same time letting your son or daughter be responsible for his or her own choices.
Love allows you to be happy, kind, and generous. When I’m rooted in fear, a disagreement with my son can easily turn into me outlining everything he’s done wrong, why it’s wrong, and how he should fix it. But when I’m rooted in love I’m able to have the same kind of disagreement from a place of curiosity (“I wonder what’s really bothering him right now?”) and compassion (“It must be hard to be scared about that”), and I know after those conversations my son senses I’m on his side, not against him, and I get to feel love for him.
Choosing the path of love over fear. It makes all the difference… for you! If you’re intrigued by the possibility of interacting with your son or daughter from a place of love (instead of fear), schedule your Find Peace in Parenting mini-session now. There are no strings attached but you will leave our time together with some ways to start feeling closer to your teen right away.