November 22, 2013
Last week, I wrote about how we, as parents, can change our behavior to stop reinforcing procrastination patterns in our children. It is exhausting to feel like we must constantly be the push – the gas – the main one that motivates things to happen. I’m a big fan of energy conservation and have experienced that putting some effort into shifting a pattern ultimately saves tons of energy once it’s alleviated.
My suggestions last week focused on how we change our behavior to shift the pattern. This week I’m going deeper and looking at some reasons behind the need to fix, save, and rescue. I’m going past the behavior to the root of the problem. Why do some parents have a constant ‘need to fix’?
To begin to understand why you feel this need to control things in your home, it can be helpful, in a quiet moment, to ask yourself if this need to make everything ‘right’ is for their sake or yours. Starting to understand the ‘why’ behind your actions can ultimately help you to let go of this previously unconscious drive.
Jane Nelsen, author of Positive Discipline, shares the idea that children are always thinking, feeling, and deciding. This is how they learn. Truth is, we as parents are too. Look back on a moment where you know you were ‘running the show’ unnecessarily and kindly ask yourself “What was I thinking? Feeling? Deciding?”
You may discover that the agenda is about your comfort and needing things to be a certain way for your sake. You may discover unconscious fears about what will happen if your child does not do things a certain way. Or you may find you are trying to prevent emotions or behaviors from happening that are difficult for you.
No matter what you find as the truth inside, be gentle with yourself. A harsh, critical inventory can do more harm than good. The softer approach of a caring inquiry will pave the way for change. The answers you find will give you the key to shifting the ‘need to fix’ pattern at the root rather than constantly making the effort the change your actions. Similar to constantly tearing at a weed over and over rather than getting it by the root. More energy conservation!
Undoing patterns of overdoing and fixing are helpful to creating a home where children and adults have the freedom to be themselves. Homes are welcoming places when each family member knows their individual thoughts and feelings will be honored. This encourages children to know themselves…their thoughts, feelings and decisions so they can develop self-esteem. Giving them space, allowing mistakes and natural consequences to play out, teaches our children far more than the million words we could speak.
Taking the time to look within and grow brings gifts to everyone you live with in addition to yourself. In my opinion, we are always growing alongside our children. Parenting stretches us to be better people and model self-love and self-care. Children have the opportunity to see their parents make mistakes and grow through them is the best model of all.
How do handle the ‘need to fix’ inside of you?
What’s your best advice for learning to let go?
Share with a comment today and we will all be growing together!