What If Your Parenting Beliefs Are Wrong?
Are you aware of what drives your actions as a parent?
Do you ever question the thoughts you have about your teen and their behavior?
Do you understand how your thoughts create the feelings you have about them?
Most of us are don’t realize how what we think and feel is driven by unrecognized, conditioned beliefs that may be appropriate in some cases and totally inappropriate in others.
Beliefs like “I need to protect my child” are appropriate when kids are little and get truly get into harm’s way.
This same belief becomes inappropriate when we rescue and protect our teen from life’s natural consequences.
Thinking “I need to protect my child” (when not in response to an actual life-threatening situation) creates unnecessary anxiety, worry and fear. It makes you overcontrol and overreact.
Or the belief “My child should respect me” can be unhelpful when not accompanied by the belief “I should respect my child.”
The thought “my child should respect me” creates a feeling of entitlement or anger. When we demand respect without giving it, we’re more likely to create resentment and resistance.
Another common, unquestioned belief is “I’m the parent and my child should listen to me and do as I say.” This might have validity when a child is very young and is still learning about the world.
But as kids enter pre-teens and teens, this belief sets up conflict, resistance, and possible alienation with kids.
A more helpful thought is “I’m the parent and can offer my opinion–but my child is an individual with their own thoughts and beliefs.” This creates a feeling of openness, curiosity, and willingness to listen.
Even better is the thought “What can I learn from my child?” This thought creates curiosity, validation, acceptance and love.
This isn’t how most of us were raised. How we raise our kids is less about them, and more about us.
It’s about fixing, controlling, managing and checking off the boxes of what our culture defines as “success”.
Perhaps this explains why we struggle so much with our teens and their behaviors?
To change this dynamic, parents must be willing to change their approach and focus more on their behavior how it impacts their teen.
This requires honesty, humility, and willingness. It takes work to change ingrained thoughts and beliefs. But the reward is a happier, connected, and respectful relationship with your teen. One to last a lifetime.