Am I doing the Loving Thing?
I have been listening to a few podcasts as I'm living in my car these days.
I've met with other like minded organizations and just recently went to the Halton parent conference.
To summarize our hopes for our children as parents it is clear regardless if your child is neuro-diverse or not as parents we all want our children to reach their true potential and be happy. However, if I had to sum up one question, fear, worry or dread in the parent world myself included it would be “Am I doing the right thing?”
Have you felt this way?
Lets think about that questions for a minute….am I doing the right thing?
The word "right" insinuates that there is a wrong. The word RIGHT is a word full of judgement and black and white no room for grey.
I find I ask this question a lot when my family is in crisis. If my daughter has anxiety attack at 6am because she is so tired do I force her to get up and go to school or do I let her rest. When my son swears in the house it no longer triggers a disciplinary consequence (it used to and still does for my other two) but it is now more an indicator for me of his state of mind.
Every day as a parent being responsible for raising human beings there are choices and we really have no idea how it is all going to turn out. I have 4 suggestions that I hope may help you with this frequent parenting question of doubt: Love, It Works, Time and Actions.
Last week I was talking to my very wise mom about my SYT talk because I was trying to figure out how to approach this topic….within seconds she said, Well Sperry, what if you changed "Am I doing the right thing?" question in your head to “Am I doing the loving thing?”
WOW. This was a light bulb for me. I wish I had brought it up sooner. :) For example, I think by you just being part of SYT or reading a blog post so you can better support and nourish your family -- is a wonderful expression of doing the loving thing.
The loving thing does not mean the easier way, it can often be the more difficult decision or conversation. By understanding my son and his emotional regulation challenges – it is not me being lenient with his swearing but loving and recognizing what the swearing means to him.
When faced with other parents who do things differently particularly in the more “normal” families – we tend to compare, feel fear, then insecurity, and then perhaps we may judge ourselves and each other. There is one easy way to tell if you are making the loving parenting choices in your own family.
If your choices ultimately end up with generally happy well behaved kids they are "good results" to your decisions, if it does not, you might choose differently.
Let’s use discipline as an example. When I disciplined my other two older children with a consequence to an inappropriate action did it make things worse? No. They understood there was a consequence to a rule and understood there would be a consequence if they broke it. But for my youngest, having a consequence did make it worse all around. He would have handed me his right arm in defiance. Will he somehow be a less a person later on because I do not constantly discipline him due to his bad language? I don’t believe so.
I believe the emotional, safe and loving support we are giving him will enable him to eventually self regulate when he does get out there into the real world. By this decision we have drastically reduced the escalations in our home. Is this a typical way to discipline a child who swears? Probably not but it works for our family. I don’t feel a smidge of guilt about it when I see licensed professionals say this is a bad choice. Because it works for my child. The result is good. Am I saying it would work in every home of course not.
Are there other choices that are equally if not more effective? Of course. But I’m fine with what I do differing from what others do.
There is a wonderful book and research study called The Legacy Project out of Cornell where Dr. Killner asked his community to nominate thriving people over 80 that had kickbutt lives. He then compiled their words of wisdom in this book (http://legacyproject.human.cornell.edu/) and there were chapters on parenting, work, hobbies all sorts of things. In the parenting chapter, the one main world of advice from this large group of amazing elderly who had the wisdom and insight of looking back and seeing their children and grandchildren.
Was there was no right or wrong thing... there was only one single thing that impacted the children the most. Can you guess it? TIME TOGETHER. I do try to keep this present when I make decisions that may affect the time we have together.
And finally, Actions. There have been many studies on how parents actions are significantly impactful on children’s behavior and belief system. Ok we all know this. Recently, I was asked what vision do you have for your child and their adulthood behaviors? We are doing the loving thing when we take time to learn, when we treat ourselves well, when we are appropriately open with our struggles… when we apologize… doing the loving thing is being good role models. Our kids are watching all the time.
We cannot always be the perfect role model. I think for kids it is so essential that we are walking the talk. This is doing the loving thing…This is different for every family. It drives me to action to live the way I want my kids to live or envision them…that is with integrity, self care, forgiveness of mistakes, joy, patience, connection….the list goes on.
So I would challenge you when you worry about a decision you make with the kids – ask yourself am I doing the loving thing? It may help shift the way you look at these parenting decision with love, good results for your own individual child, time together and your own actions.
P.S. Hear me talk about this subject more in the Resource Hub and Digital Library which is available now. You will not only hear me speak but all the other experts we had at all the past Summits (over 30 speakers and their handouts) And to reach and support more people like you, we are offering all future content until Nov 30th. You deserve this support. >>> Get it here <<<