Wouldn’t it be lovely if there were some formula to get our kids to do what we want? If I say this in that tone of voice then s/he will promptly and cheerfully do exactly as I say when I say it. Yes, I’ve had this fantasy more than once.
And yet, with a little reflection, we can see that that scenario is fraught with potential problems. A few questions to help us reflect are:
- What if someone else uses the magic voice and phrasing to get my children to do something I really don’t want them doing?
- What if my request isn’t well thought out or truly in our best interests?
- Do I want children who are compliant automatons or thinking, feeling human beings?
- Who do I hope my child grows up to be?
- How do I want my child to share her gifts with the world?
When we control out children, even in the kindest ways and even with the best of intentions, we have lost something valuable. but what are the alternatives? If I can’t control my child, then I’m one of those permissive parents who just let’s their child run amuck, right?
No. If you can’t control your child (and you can’t always or forever even if it seems to work in the moment) what can you do?
You can control yourself. This is both easier and more benevolent than it sounds. It does take willingness to shift your world view. It does take time to learn new skills. And it is worth it! When I speak of offering tools for radical self-responsibility, this is what I mean. Working together, we will shift the locus of power from outwardly focused contol-of-others to inwardly focused control-of-self.
Learning to control yourself is like any other skill. First you have to realize you want to learn it. Then you find the method of learning that works for you. I hope we can work together here. I’d like to be your guide and helper as you learn to parent from your heart and your own self-control. Then you start learning. You practice. You fall down. You learn from your mistakes and know that you will be given opportunity after opportunity to practice and try again. You get better. You become the parent you want to be. You become an inspiration for your children and a light in your community.