Conflict, Kids and Letting Go of Fear

We’ve taken on a lot as parents. It can be so scary to feel responsible for this life we’ve been entrusted with and we wrap ourselves in worry over our performance. Are we doing enough or too much? Am I preparing him properly for a secure, successful adulthood? How can I make sure she doesn’t get into trouble and make life-altering mistakes? What can I do to make sure she is a productive member of society? If I don’t get this under control now, what’s going to happen? I need to get her to not behave that way or she’ll never get anywhere. If he doesn’t learn how to focus and work hard, he’ll always struggle. We have such deep concern and love for our kids. We have so many insecurities about the future and we are so certain we know what’s best. We’ve been there, right? Maybe.

But what if all of that fear and preconceived notion is getting in the way of our ability to interact with the moment in which we are standing? Is it possible that we are manipulating the present with an unpredictable future? Our inability to know what will happen drives our attempts to bend future events to our will.

It’s not wrong to look ahead. Knowing your destination is very useful and helps you know what steps you need to take to get there. However, trying to control the future is another concept entirely. There are twists and turns around every corner and considering that your child’s life is not even yours, it’s going to go places you can’t predict. Ultimately we know this and the anxiety it causes motivates us to do all we can while we still have the opportunity. Unfortunately, it creates a snowball effect and before we know it we can lose touch with reality. We begin to invent scenarios and what-ifs that clearly demand we do even more to ensure they never happen. Our well-intentioned efforts can morph into unnecessary harmful control. Happily, most of our fears are never realized, so know that you can let them go without any unfortunate effects.

If you want to work through difficult situations with your child or avoid them altogether, let go of your fear of what is happening. Try to stay in tune with what you are actually seeing and hearing. Don’t project your ideas of what this may lead to. Just let it be what it is right now. Don’t give it any more power than that. If your child refuses to brush her teeth, acknowledge that she just doesn’t want to brush her teeth right now. It doesn’t mean she never will and her teeth will fall out. It doesn’t mean that she won’t ever listen to you. It doesn’t mean that she is testing your limits. It might mean that her teeth are sensitive right now or she doesn’t like that toothpaste or she’s too tired. It might mean a lot but all you know for sure is that she doesn’t want to right now. Keep your fear and your stories and your own experiences out of it because you are better served by the love you have and the best intentions your child has in this very moment.

Surrender whatever is happening. Fighting it will only escalate your actions and amp up the intensity. See it, acknowledge it, and let it go.

Don’t give it any more power by being swayed by its intensity or over-thinking it’s characteristics. “This is just something that is happening now.” The ability to see very clearly the truth of the moment, without any filters or screens or overlays, will reveal your heart and the best way through it. Fear is an emotion best kept out of problem-solving because it does not contribute to a level-head. Learn how to focus and stay in the present and you will increase your chances of a peaceful resolution.

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This is an excerpt from my workbook, Keep Your Cool: How to Stop Yelling, Spanking & Punishing. Newly released and available for you. I hope this helps you as you parent your beautiful children.

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