How you think matters
Recently I listened to a podcast on money problems. As “abundance vs. scarcity” was discussed I kept thinking about how the same principles apply to those of us who are greatly concerned about the choices our teenagers are making. When I have an “abundant” mentality in my parenting, my mind remembers that there’s time ~ my son doesn’t have to have it all figured out by next week. I remember that although we aren’t perfect parents, our son does have a good foundation. I also remember that this is his journey and he will figure it out.
However, when I have a “scarcity” mentality in my parenting, the thoughts swirling around in my mind are very different. I worry about time running out before he gets it all figured out. I dwell on how I should’ve done things differently (knowing what I know now). I focus on all the “bad” choices he’s making (which blinds me from also seeing the good choices).
Can you see how these different ways of thinking really affect my parenting experience?
So, how can you determine your philosophy of parenting? A good way to figure it out is by completing the following statements:
Parenting is __________________________________________.
Parenting was ________________________________________.
Parenting will be ______________________________________.
If you fill in the blanks honestly you will gain some insight into your parenting philosophy. It’s so, so, so important to be aware of how you think about parenting because how you think about it determines how you create problems for yourself and how you create results for yourself. As you come to understand your current parenting philosophy and why you think that way, then you’re in a place to decide if that’s how you want to continue to think about this relationship you have with your child.
Here are some questions to ponder as you decide how you want to move forward in parenting your teen:
- How would you handle your current parenting struggles if you knew that in a year you and your child would be connected or in a better place?
- Would it be different than if you believed this connection was impossible?
- Which option do you actually like better?
It’s 100% OK to find the thinking that will serve you!
At this point you might be asking, “But what about being realistic, Kelly? From where I stand today there’s no way my daughter and I can be in a good place ever again and certainly not within a year.” I understand your concern, but… there’s no way of knowing how things are going to unfold (unless you have a crystal ball I don’t know about!). And while there’s a 50% chance things will stay the same or get worse, there’s also a 50% chance that things will improve (maybe even more than you could ever imagine). But I promise you this ~ how you view your current relationship with your son or daughter (in other words, what you are making your relationship with him or her mean) will determine how you navigate this relationship, both now and in the future.
Believing there’s no hope because you’re a failure as a parent and your son or daughter is incapable of changing will determine your actions.
Believing this is a temporary situation and that your teen will figure things out will also determine your actions.
Each belief will lead you to very different ways of interacting with your son or daughter. No matter what’s going on between you and your teen right now, you have the choice about how you’re going to think about it. If you spend most of your parenting brain power on calling yourself names or beating yourself up, you will lose your ability to solve problems. On the other hand, if you believe in yourself and know you’re the right parent for your teen, you will be able to take action in a way you won’t have to regret later.
During this tumultuous time with your teen, when it seems like almost everything is going wrong, remember that you do have control over at least one thing: how you’re showing up in this situation. And that’s more powerful than you might think.
If you’re ready to change the way you’re thinking about your current relationship with your teenager, but feel stuck, schedule your (free) private mini-session now and I will show you how I can help you find that seemingly ever-elusive peace. It’s totally possible ~ even for you.