Parenting, we so don’t want to screw it up!
As parents we need to hear we’re doing a good job, that the kids are great, and that parenting is a 110% task and it’s hard on both parents and challenging for the relationship… it asks everything of us. And we do it because we love these little guys.
At first its our job, our task to keep them alive. Feed them, be sure they don’t hurt themselves, help them learn to walk, talk, then the daily life tasks and learn to help around the house, doing tasks, work at school, and then playtime.
We endeavor to control so they are “safe” then that turns to perfecting them because we have the bigger world view and can see that they are not doing it right, and they can learn from our mistakes, and we begin to justify the helping…
Well at seven that’s ok, but at 17? At 27? At 47? at 57?
At some point we have to admit our kids are old enough to figure things out for themselves and even if it’s not what we want them to be doing, the reality is it’s their choice, their life and we have to let go…don’t we?
*I’ll share this with you, however, if you try to say to your mom “Kathy said, or Kathy says….” She will discount it as being useless information from the internet, “what does she know anyway” this is basically to share what I’ve witnessed and only if it’s helpful…
I don’t have any real answers either, just some insights I’ve observed….
Sometimes our parents have really forgotten we’re mid-life, running business’s, understand how to use the internet, can fly on airplanes by ourselves, and yes know how to take care of ourselves when it looks like it might rain…
I’ll speak to the situations with mom for a moment, if it’s ok with you; mom’s can be challenging because she’ll hit out at what is your greatest vulnerability when she’s in fear, or anger or panic…or senses you are withdrawing. And that is her greatest fear, which is exactly what we do when we are struggling and our parents are offering all kinds of what they believe to be valid commentary, so we withdraw, and that hits mom’s abandonment button. Get ready she’s going to hit your guilt button right away! “oh you never appreciate anything I do, how is it you treat me this way, I’m your mother, I put you through school, I struggled and saved to send you to the best schools, we did without so you could….”
Heard it before?
There is this belief in families, it’s seen everywhere, and I recall our Grandmother would drill her arguments about what other members of the family should do, constantly to our Mother when we visited. A belief that “I know what’s best for you and if you don’t submit to my way, you are doing to pay”…either through making a serious mistake, OR because you didn’t do what I said to do, I will ensure you are constantly reminded of ALL your failures, for – forever. In addition, there is a belief they have the right to dole out this advice, because “my life is perfect,” “Certainly more perfect than the mess you have made of yours”…
All that belief discounts the reality that life is always presenting us with challenges and experiences to learn and grow from and we cannot avoid them as a human being. They are there for purpose.
It’s like if you do everything correctly then your life is assured. But that’s not true. It’s just a belief. Life is also happening and those challenges and experiences are facing each of us daily and we have to figure out how to maneuver through them. You don’t automatically have a great life because you have education, money or have married the top person (in someone’s judgment)
This belief has been there in the “family” on many counts & that as parents we are entitled to belittle and condemn our children when they are really at their most vulnerable. Then it’s like we just move in for the “kill” and it’s horrible for certain. We’ve all done it to our kids at one point, and witnessed the betrayal there in their eyes, and we pass it off as forgotten (hoping they’ll forget) and it just goes on; and it’s a belief that our kids need to be more perfect than any others, and more perfect certainly than we were. And that they can never be perfect enough… And as parents we parade out constantly only the great and wonderful things we did, (all by ourselves with no help from others of course) and we kind of lord it over our kids – see I was perfect and YOU are screwing up.
So I’ve seen this in my family everywhere, and I’ve done it myself, and still do at times and its so not ok. And I’ve seen it now in countless other families too! Even the weekend of the conference, there was a guy presenting on his process for healing and then an hour later he is in another guys class and he’s having to heal a huge rift between he and his son over the management of the company business!
As parents we think it’s our job to point out every possible thing that our kids could do wrong because we see the bigger picture or something. And in doing so we inadvertently give the miss-guided message if they do everything we say, and the way we say it, we thereby instruct our kids to expect their lives to be easy, effortless, without challenges and life is not that way at all. It’s a very wrong message we were all given, like our life experiences were somehow our fault. Like if we bank enough prayer time then God is really on our side and we’ll have a great, easy life. It’s not true, because it discounts the experiences of life that are sent to all of us : this is life and we are to grow from these experiences.
That bears repeating: Your life’s experiences are not your fault, they are here in your life so you can grow from them. They are not to be avoided but instead recognized as opportunities for personal soul development and growth. And you can’t bank enough good deeds, prayers education, or anything else to avoid them! It’s life.
I think that’s what happens to kids, and they are so shocked at the first – out of the gate a first job – that it didn’t turn out the way they thought it should have, and it was somehow their fault, or worse, “life just screwed me, and I can’t trust it, or the messages I’ve been given that if I do everything just perfectly things will turn our ok” and it wasn’t their fault, and yet no one can dissuade them of that. Taking it personally, they think they are a failure or the worst, “life can’t be trusted”… and they never really recovered from that. And everyone starts helping. Lets escape, into addictions, into religious dogma, into a relationship, and on it goes, each avoidance of the pain of the belief in failure leads back to that first belief, “hey my life should be easy, I’m smart, educated and everything should go the way I was told it was going to go”…. Oops!
And it didn’t… however, one has not resolved the first issue that they believed it should be easy. That’s not life. And yet we all go through life saying “I’m great, my life is awesome I’m super happy,” so we don’t allow ourselves to work with the life experience and heal it. Resolve it, accept it, understand it, and value the lessons we have learned.
We get these little beings of light, our delicate new born infants, handed to us, and they are so adorable and wonderful until they are not…and all of them present with issues, for certain! Some can be really challenging too! So we download what was downloaded onto us. Education is everything, success and be the best, even if you are being the best you can be, you aren’t best until you have beaten everyone everywhere. If someone has something that looks good then we have to get it too.
If someone is thinner, or has thinner thighs, or thinner fingers…and the comparisons of ourselves to the rest of the world are staggering! Do you really want that life? Or just their thighs? Or they do better at sports, or better in school, or get effortless great grades …and we feel like we are nothing because it’s not coming easy for us.
So it’s societal and generational, and now we’re all having to face this huge new crisis of love and forgiveness, and then then compassion and healing and embracing spirituality – and it’s really confusing. Do we go for the BEST (our programming) or do we go for Spiritual enlightenment and try that out? The spiritual part seems to lack any kind of money, survival is harder, and it’s not spiritual at all… so it’s a total jam up for everyone right now. Big business is struggling, they are locked into the game of being the biggest = the best; governments are struggling with their image of being perfect; educational systems are derailing, because what they base their curriculum’s on are defunct … what next?
you can imagine that your mom and dad at their ages are clinging to what they know and entrenched in their beliefs… go for the biggest and the best, it still pays off. Does it feel like they are still measuring their children against others too? That also translates to a measure of themselves…if my kids have the best… that strengthens my sense of self too!
How many mothers have tortured their kids with statements like : “I’m so shamed, I’ll have to carry this to my grave”… Now that is total loss of control of the kid who may actually happen to be around 50 years of age. Just not doing what mom wants her to do!
One must assume parents don’t want to change, however, it’s my experience they don’t know they can change this, that it’s only behavior, it’s only a habit and its not serving them.
This is also where others get drawn into their conversations, because you either tear someone else down with them, or they will turn and attack you…to everyone too.
En-training of this behavior has to start young, and both parents were raised in their early years by families that did the same things and watched and observe…because the kids have no filters or boundaries before the age of 7…so they are open and receiving the messages from parents, schooled in the same ways.
We’ve all be raised in these parameters to some level, – more programming and conditioning,
It was not encouraged within the family to befriend your siblings, it is encouraged to compete with them; and while mother never told anyone they did something great to their face, even if we did great at school or had a personal success, she would use what the other siblings did to motivate YOU to do better. All it made us do was feel bad about ourselves. A great example of this strategy between kids is in the new film ENDERS GAME It’s comparison and comparison never works because you are not that other person. You continue to feel bad inside about yourself, envy your siblings and they hate you.
The thing is everyone has life challenges they must face and we all do that! Face those moments and do the best we can with it. And we cannot be in anothers shoes and endeavor to tell them what to do, or how to behave. From my life experiences when we do that, we’ll quickly find ourselves facing those same issues and “there you go see how well you do with it”. And I don’t want anyone elses life but my own.
So this is the “family” and the family doesn’t want help, they want to keep doing what they are doing, or they wouldn’t. This is accepting what is…it may feel oppressive and that if she would just… but that’s where you get stuck with mom and dad wishing they would be different than they are.
In the meantime: we can change what we are doing with our kids… help them to understand life is full of challenges, you may not get the favorite teacher this year, or next either; you may end up second on the team, or last place for pick at school. Life is experience and as parents we can’t control life for you, we are not gods, but we can listen and be here for you in the moment.
Praise instead of condemn:
- Offer affirmations on things you see your parents doing that are great
- Tell stories about your kids that are sharing how they figured things out, and tell them often and in front of them. It demonstrates understanding and leaves little space for criticism. Winning races and first place parents can undermine that easily with “oh you are pushing them too hard”
- Tell what they are doing right and find yourself talking about your kids in positive ways…too! Especially to your parents.
- Keep it bright and happy
- If you can’t find anything to be positive about with her, then think of one of her qualities you admire. Mom is a great cook, or a great decorator, or great at saving money
- There is always something to affirm others about, and then as you champion her, she will begin to do the same too
- If she’s complaining you are listening to her inner dialogue and she listens to that all day long… Mentally she’s also exhausted
- This can change you and your relationship with her…no matter what you have the control on what you allow her to talk about to you!
- End the conversation if it’s not going well and just don’t bring it up again.
- Go back to the positive affirmations,
- Think of her in your mind in this way
There is a tendency in the family to want to find someone to blame for people’s life choices… change this with reframing the negative and get out of the rut of complaining!
Find the things to praise about others.
- Find the positive
- Encourage through positive affirmations about how they are doing
This changes people so much faster than pointing out what they are doing wrong.
And of course use it on yourself, hear in your own voice, inside your mind, changing the things you are doing wrong, and focus on all that is so right and wonderful in your life.
The other voices will creep in, and just breathe them away… follow your breath as it is what we call “Mindful” it stops all internal dialogue right now! Try it!
I endeavor not to argue with it. Just let it be and breathe it away.
Hope this helps… give it a go, and it’s the tact I’m using with parents and children
… I can’t stand it when it’s too far down in the dumpster! Ugh!
If I could recommend: A great book on this kind of entrainment: How to do this to your kids – MINDSET, by Carol Dweck, She doesn’t judge, she never had kids herself, she’s a prof at Stanford and she observes the mindset of her students, then looks at parenting, teachers, coaches etc.
When Dealing with mothers:
- If she reframes the positive events into negative, correct her right away and reframe it back to what you actually said.
- Say to her “Mom I didn’t say that, please don’t translate what I said”…then repeat what you did say
- She might then come at you “why do you talk to me this way”…. Then understand she feels defensive because she can’t get into her fix through negativity and worry
- Just restate, “Mom, I don’t want you to change what I said, or give it deeper meaning, !”
- You may need to try it out a few times, however, you will know when its there because it will feel “ugh here she goes again”
- Then just remember : Right, I don’t have to get into this with her, I’m just taking what I said and repeating it.
- It will help you feel more in control of what is going on and when you know what she is driving for, it sometimes helps…
- You have to stay on her, because she will grab anything and twist it around or make it negative…
- If you can do this, and I think you already have been, you are setting really strong and positive boundaries with her, and you can practice with your kids too.
- This will change her relationship with you and your family and also allow others to witness what you are doing.
- Essentially it’s my belief when we take care of ourselves, the rest will follow, or not and it really doesn’t matter anyway.
- Harry maintains people only listen to their own inner voice and that’s all they truly ever listen to.
- So what people tell themselves is what they believe.
And while this is suggested for “helping you manage your mother” its also a suggestion for helping you do it differently with your kids.
All that said, it’s a challenge this parenting gig, and while it was fun getting the infant, and those first weeks were amazing… life is now forever changed. Using NLP techniques can really change the way you react to life and the key individuals that sometimes seem to be trying to make our lives harder.
Parenting, you can’t screw it up, life events will happen, and the kids will eventually be telling you what to do… it’s coming!