5 Ways to Stop Parenting Out of Fear
Have you ever walked through a forest just waiting for a bear to jump out, a snake to slither by, or a bug to land on your face? All instead of enjoying the flowers. Welcome to parenting out of fear.
We can’t enjoy the great stuff because we are worried about all of the “what if?”s.
Parenting from a place of fear has more to do with us than our kids. Yet, they suffer the consequences.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t enjoy the flowers sometimes. For years, I have been constantly worried about my kids repeating my mistakes. Not theirs — mine.
I have parented children that I didn’t have, ones that were somehow making the same mistakes I did — even when they weren’t making any at all. No wonder they felt like they were doing something wrong. Guilty. For nothing.
They weren’t doing anything in particular.
Sure I did when I was their age.
But they didn’t.
And hopefully won’t.
I made normal transitions into drama-filled experiences. Too much attention. Too much anxiety. It’s akin to keeping on the training wheels way too long because it’s easier than seeing scraped knees. It’s normal to stumble and fall.
I tried to control their relationships too much. I didn’t want them to get their feelings hurt or hang out with “the wrong kids”. After all, that’s what happened to me. However, they need friends and connection. They also need to learn how to discern the difference between good and bad influences.
I completely exaggerated everyday dangers. Here are some examples: strangers, alcohol, mean people, strange places. Dirt! For Pete’s sake. Those problems are not going to leave the planet anytime soon. The “all or nothing” attitude I had for so long regarding some of them got out of control.
I worried about their achievements as if they were my own. How is this fearful? It’s the fear of failure. If we have struggled with the fear of failure ourselves, it’s so easy to project it onto our kids. For example, perhaps we were never a straight A student. We struggled just to get by on B’s and C’s. Suddenly, our kid’s excelling in school. Obsessing over of their grades becomes our focus. It’s much easier than to work through our own feelings of failing as a student.
I tried to prevent any kind of pain. We are their mothers! Gosh, darn it! We don’t want to see them in any kind of suffering. Unfortunately, that would prevent an awful lot of learning too. We can love them through anything. Teaching moments only happen when we get out of the way.
Now, that’s scary!
Love is the opposite of fear. Willing our child’s good above our own can be hard.
Staying in the place of fear, however, robs them of the security of knowing what real love is.
Let’s focus on loving our kids, giving them the security that their good is truly the center of our motives and actions.
And there you have it….
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