There are a lot of tired parents out there. Maybe you’re one of them.
You are a good parent. You deeply love your children and will do almost anything for them.
You don’t always WANT to do these things. But sometimes seeing your child upset makes you feel that you MUST do these things.
I call this “jumping through hoops.”
Don’t get me wrong.
It is not bad to do nice things for your child. The problem comes when we start to feel tired, annoyed, or trapped. Or, when our intervention sends the message that their feelings are wrong, shameful, or should be stopped.
Let me give you permission to stop jumping through hoops to make your child happy.
Start by doing some soul searching.
Next time your child starts demanding something, struggling with a task, or melting down because you said “no,” think through a few of these questions:
- What bothers me about my child’s emotional response?
- How do I feel about strong feelings, such as anger, frustration or failure?
- Am I questioning my parenting decision as a result of my child’s emotional response?
- Do I feel embarrassed by my child’s emotional response?
- Do I feel hopeless or helpless when my child responds emotionally?
- Do I feel trapped or cornered by my child’s response?
- Do I feel tired?
- Do I feel annoyed?
- Does this remind me of something from my own childhood?
- What else seems to get in the way of standing firm when I make a decision?
Explore your options.
Sometimes, we feel like buying something, giving in or going out of our way is the only option we have. We feel trapped.
Here are some questions to think through when you feel like “jumping through hoops” is your only choice:
- Is my child’s request reasonable? Why or why not?
- Is my child’s request inconveniencing me in any way?
- Do I feel like I am jumping through hoops?
- Is this a task my child could do on their own?
- Is there a more appropriate way for my child to ask for this request?
- What is the worst that could happen if I stood firm?
- What is the best that could happen if I stood firm?
- What is the worst that could happen if I gave in?
- What is the best that could happen if I gave in?
- Which outcome seems the best at this time?
Give yourself time.
It may be uncomfortable for both you and your child at first. Your child is used to being rescued from big feelings and you are used to being able to keep your kids from feeling big feelings.
The next step is to support your child through their big feelings. Find helpful tips here: “Let Your Children Feel Their Feelings.”