Be a beacon of light.
When is the last time you had a truly deep, significant discussion with your kid? Has it been days? Weeks? Maybe you've never had a talk that made you quake in your boots as a parent.
We spend 99% of our time as parents making sure our kids are on track, rather than letting them get off track, figure it out, course correct and get back on track. We stand with a bird's eye view of our teen's life. We have navigated the waters and we already see the trainwreck that's about to happen, so we try to prevent it.
Teen dating, Social Media, mean girls, popular or unpopular, drugs, alcohol—is there any end to this list? We've been there, done that, and bought and sold the t-shirt many times over. We want to save our teens from the perils of being a teenager. We want to yank them back from the ledge and keep them from suffering the same heartache and pain we know is coming.
But here's what you need to know as a parent: pain creates growth. True story.
Pain causes us to change direction, pull away, regroup, stop something or start something. When we step in every time and keep our kids from experiencing logical consequences for the choices they make, we short circuit their ability to think critically and make intelligent decisions. Dr. Kenneth Ginsberg explains this concept in his new book, Raising Kids To Thrive.
With his findings in mind, I want to encourage you to take these steps the next time you want to rush in and "fix it" for your kids:
1. Take a deep breath and pause.
Wait. Let each moment play out. Count to ten before you rush in. Give your kid a moment to actually think through what is happening, and let them work their way out of it.
2. Ask better questions.
If you give your kid room to make their own choices and face the logical consequences, you leverage the opportunity to ask deeper questions. Ask them what helped them to decide. What would they do differently if they had to face the same situation? Are they happy with their decision? If they could change anything what would they change? Questions like these help our kids develop that critical thinking muscle.
3. Be a safe place to land when the dust settles.
Kids need to know that even when they mess up, you still love them, still cherish them and still believe in their ability to grow into an incredible adult. Smile, nod and offer support. Ask them what they need from you. Ask them what you can do to help next time. Ask them if they want to hear how you feel about it. Our kids believe that we are a wealth of knowledge, but they don't always want us to bash them over the head with it.
Be a light in a dark world for your kid. Stand strong and true like a lighthouse. Our kids need us to usher them through childhood, not shove them past every single experience.
Are you having a parenting meltdown? Need a Pep talk? I offer 30 minute parenting pep talks for moms and dads who are struggling with issues at home, in their parenting and in their relationships. Why not grab a 30 minute session with me—my gift to you! Let's create happy, healthy, peaceful homes together so you can fall back in love with your kids!