The Only 3 Powerful Questions Parents Need to Ask…EVER!

Being a parent is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs.   Whether you consciously chose to bear children and take it on or whether you became an “accidental parent” – if you find yourself in the parenting role – you are meant to be there.   And, as you’ve probably already figured out….You’re in for a wild ride!

In times of despair and disappointment, parents often find themselves at a loss for what to do.  Making the “right” decisions  when it comes to their children is a primary concern for parents.   Through my parenting and teaching practice, I have found that there are 3 KEY QUESTIONS that can help to guide you as a parent, put your mind at ease or at the very least put things into perspective:

 

1.  What would LOVE  do now?

This is often the only question you ever really need.  I’ve mentioned it in previous posts and it’s worth mentioning over and over again.  At times when you have no idea what to do, in times when you just don’t feel right about something, or when you are looking for clarity or direction…  Stop and ask yourself:  What would LOVE do now?  And then simply allow the answer to find it’s way to you.  Be open and ready for anything.  The answer may surprise you.

Love knows how and when to  ”let go”. This concept in particular, is the one I find that many parents struggle with– knowing when and how much to LET GO of control.   How much responsibility  should you give them?  When are they ready?  All the dreadful “what ifs” begin to flow into your mind and leave you clinging to control in order to protect your child; to keep them safe from the “big bad world” out there!   Well, staying SAFE – never got anyone anywhere in life.  It’s a good idea to practice letting go practically from the birth of your child.  One important way to do this is to avoid jumping in and rescuing your child from every little mishap or experience that YOU deem could hurt them.

What are some ways that you can practice letting go from a young age?  Letting them cry- to SOME extent – First you must be sure that all their needs are met and that they are not hurt or sick!  Pick them up, touch, cuddle and soothe them – but some parents “plug their children up” with a soother at the first little PEEP and then wonder why they are speech delayed! – Ya, okay…that’s one of my obvious “pet peeves”.   These noises are how they learn to speak, how they express themselves and their need to be “heard”.  Soothers can be great to soothe your infants to sleep for the first few months but after that – when they spit it out – follow their LEAD!   Let them sleep alone in a crib or if it feels more like what love would do – let them sleep in your bed with you.  There are no rules.  There is no right or wrong here – just follow your heart and do what LOVE would do!  Put them down to explore.  Let them taste something new.  Let them down to try crawling, walking and yes even letting them fall, how else will they learn to get themselves up again? (be careful around stairs and sharp furniture, of course!).  It really doesn’t change much as they get older.  Let them walk to school with their friends.  Let them CRY and feel the pain of growing up, lost friendships, broken relationships – too many parents are angered by their childrens’ display of emotions- especially if they are boys – we are tempted to tell them to “suck it up” and to “toughen up”.  That’s a great way to build resentment and walls – emotions are good, healthy and natural – just seek to understand and acknowledge how they are feeling, thinking back to when you were a child, and show compassion, knowing that whatever they are feeling is true for them – whether you think they are overreacting or being ridiculous is of no bearing here.  Be there to talk about how they are feeling; help them label the emotion, ask questions and listen.  Let them sort it out with your full support and understanding.

Make sure that your thoughts, words and actions are all consistent with LOVE, always.

You will learn to catch yourself and ask continually, “is this what love would do?”  If the answer is Yes, you’re golden!

 

2.  Will this REALLY MATTER when I’m 65?

Here’s a good one for putting things in perspective.  As parents we tend to worry ourselves into a tizzy!  We will FREAK out over LITTLE THINGS.  We are masters at “Sweating the Small Stuff”.   Asking yourself this question will help you to identify all your stuff as large (worth sweating over) or small!  Think about it:  In your parenting practice, what aspects of your parenting WILL matter when you/ and or your child is 65?  Or even NEXT YEAR for that matter!  The spilled milk will not matter, the forgotten homework or missed piano practice….Whereas the abusive language, the poor hygiene, and the poor study habits…just may matter when they’re older.

Before you lose your cool or when you catch yourself getting heated up – stop and ask- Will this matter when I’m 65?  When they’re 65?  Tomorrow??

Here’s a GREAT reminder from the late Richard Carlson himself of how NOT to “Sweat the SMALL STUFF”

 

3.  What’s the WORST thing that could happen?

Here we go!  Another FINAL question to help put things in perspective.  IF you do let your 6 year old daughter sleep over at a friend’s house, what’s the worst that can happen?  Well…if you don’t know the parents at all…then some pretty awful things COULD happen, so perhaps the wisest decision would be to say NO.  If it’s a family you know and trust, then really…what’s the worst that could happen?  A late night phone call to come and pick her up?  And what if that DOES happen, then what?  Sometimes it’s a good idea to be prepared for the worst, but always, always expect the BEST!!  And let your kids KNOW that you expect the best!  More often than not – YOU WILL GET WHATEVER IT IS THAT YOU EXPECT!!

When you learn to ask yourself this question you are bringing up your worst fears enabling you to deal with them ahead of time.  You’ll most often find that your fears are unfoundedyou may discover that your fear is all really about YOU, some past negative experience that YOU HAD, and not about your child at all.   Don’t let your past cripple your children.  They’ll have plenty of their own problems to deal with without putting your issues on them as well!

Once you play out the entire “what if” scenario in your head…”What’s the Worst thing that could happen?  And what if that does happen?  Then what?  Then what?”….you’ll be in a much better position to make a wise and loving decision….or to work yourself up into being a complete worry wart by focusing sooo dreadfully much on your fears that you actually CREATE that which you fear most!!  Remember that whatever you focus on most Grows and Expands. This exercise is actually meant to put things in perspective, put your mind at ease, and possibly even cause you to laugh at yourself and the unfounded and sometimes downright ridiculous fears that you hold!  Go back to your childhood…I for one….find it AMAZING what my parents let me do and some of the terrible decisions I made…but thank God they let me go… and fall…and recover… and learn… and grow as a result!  And thank God I am still alive to tell about it!  :)

As always, Thanks for reading my Blog and I welcome all comments and feedback!!

Jeri

 


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