Sunday, December 12, 2010

When Parents are Too Controlling

As the pace of life seems to speed up, so do our expectations.
Sometimes, in our rush or stress driven culture we lose sight
of the fact that we are being set up to move faster and "do" more.

Becoming more controlling with our children is a sort of
by-product of the energy of the culture that we are living into.
Before we know it, we have created patterns that are not exactly
in alignment with the kind of parents that we initially set out to be.

Parents who are overly controlling hardly ever recognize this in
themselves. Becoming a conscious parent means that you are
now practicing listening to your words and watching your reactions.
This can be difficult when we've established a few patterns
that are counter-productive.

Try to ask yourself, "How often do I jump in to help my child
out with a simple task that he is struggling to complete but
is just on the verge of “getting it?”

How often do you step in to negotiate for your child
(in a situation where your child is learning to get along
with others in a social setting) instead of coaching or
guiding your child through a social challenge?

When a child completes a task that is not as “perfect”
as his parent would like it to be and the parent is quick to
point this out, over and over again, the result tends to be
a child who develops the idea that there isn’t much point
to reaching for success. His “failure” to meet his parents
expectations overshadows his motivation to keep trying.
On the other end of the spectrum, he may be caught in
an endless struggle of trying to win his parents’ admiration
by over achieving.

Over achieving and striving for excellence is fantastic, when
it is intrinsically motivated. When it is solely motivated by the
aching need to please another in order to feel worthy, it is not
coming from a place of strength and confidence.
It is coming from a feeling of lack.

When conditions for admiration, love and kindness are
placed on our children, they are not given the opportunity to
figure out for themselves how amazing and unique they are.
They are too busy trying to please.

Parents don’t do this consciously. That is why listening to and
watching yourself as a parent is an important part of instilling

When we become over controlling, for whatever reason, we
disempower our children and we lose a part of our connection
with them. No loving parent consciously chooses this. It just happens.
Recognizing it is the first step to transforming it.

As we pay attention to the patterns that show up again and again,
we can begin to navigate towards a more heart centred way of parenting
by choosing to allow our children the space to find their own way
through our guidance.

We can begin to acknowledge that instilling confidence will
provide our children with far more effective tools with which
to go into the world.

At the end of the day, would you rather have it done "right"
whatever the cost or would you have it done in a space where
love and learning are present.

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