Parenting from the heart should come pretty easy, right? WRONG! Yes, we love our kids, but we may not always like them. And we don’t always love the challenges many of them come with. Time to face reality - whether you believe it or not, EVERY family has challenges - some big, some little. For that reason, we all can become bone-weary from the toll that takes on a mom and dad.
And guess what...that’s okay. It’s okay to have a bad day. It’s okay to lose it. It’s okay to feel like you’re fed up and want to run away from home. But once you’ve had an opportunity to escape to your favorite hiding place or indulge in a good night’s sleep there are some things you can do to reflect on your situation to keep expanding your parenting wisdom.
Two Powerful Perspectives - Love and Fear
Parenting from the heart is about shifting from a perspective of fear to one of love - even in the most difficult of times. If we don’t, we can lose sight of what really matters and begin disconnecting from those who mean the most to us.
That’s a tragedy no one has to experience - I call that ‘needless suffering’. Believing that by some twist of fate, our child is just going to be flawed in some way or believing that we just don’t have it in us to be a good parent to this incredibly unique individual. Needless suffering is happening all around us! What parent ISN’T struggling?
Which Path to Choose?
Imagine you’ve come to a fork in the road. One path is labeled “Fear Road” and the other is labeled “Love Lane”. Which would you choose?
As you travel down Fear Road, you notice the trees look withered and worried. There are no flowers, no birds singing happily. The air is stale, in fact, it makes you feel constricted - even claustrophobic. The terrain is bumpy and you keep tripping on rocks and stepping into mud puddles. Oh, and by the way, it’s a deadend street.
Love Lane on the other side is bright, sunny, with lots of amazingly fragrant flowers, playful animals, warm and cozy breezes. It doesn’t even feel like you have to make any effort to walk...you just glide along peacefully and happily. It winds around and leads to a myriad of other Love Lanes.
Fear Road is paved with limited beliefs and tragic stories. Beliefs that YOU hold, stories YOU write. If you knew you could shift those beliefs and re-write that story, how would you go about that?
Love Lane is literally a red carpet of possibilities, but if you don’t take that path, you’ll never know, will you. The thing about going down Fear Road is that you can’t see through the withered trees to know what lies down the lane right next to you. But it is right next to you...all you have to do is wipe off your windshield and focus a little…
However, many of us choose Fear Road. Why? Maybe it’s because we believe that worry will actually help prepare us for ‘the inevitable’. Or maybe we’re just following the natural tendency of our brains to look at ‘worst case scenario’ so we ARE prepared when the worst happens. Don’t get me wrong, bad things will happen and life is messy - that’s a fact, but it does not have to be a declaration of HOW we move through it.
A Real Life Perspective
Recently, I had a pretty heavy conversation with my niece. She is the mom of two beautiful little children, and as it happens, her son has autism. She shared how she’d been feeling - horrible for being angry with her situation, feeling like a victim, unable to do anything about it. She does have an incredible challenge as a parent of a child with severe special needs. I felt bad for her situation and told her so, and then asked her what was next...what could she do to improve her situation. We both wiped our tears, and sat there together, contemplating and just being with one another.
A couple of weeks later we talked again, only this time she had a new-found energy and ideas about how she would manage the future with her family. Her ideas had nothing to do with getting rid of the situation, but rather, how she could learn from it and help her son and all the people who work with him as well.
She told me that it wasn’t until I asked her what she could do about her situation that she realized how much she perceived herself as a victim and how it was keeping her feeling heartsick and hopeless. At that moment, she chose to shift her perspective - one that was about love. Love for herself and love for her family.
Leaning into Love
And she’s leaning into that love in order to learn how she can be proactive about her son and his circumstances. She’s listening to her inner wisdom and trusting that she’ll be able to discover what he needs even if he can’t tell her. She is letting love lead her parenting, stepping away from fear and making meaning out of even the most difficult of situations.
I am learning a lot from her, and I deeply admire her. Choosing love means having the courage to go there in spite of circumstances. Love and fear cannot exist in the same space, so by choosing love, you will ALWAYS come out triumphant - even when it looks like that’s not possible.
Let's help you face those fears head on so you can Parent With Heart and come from a place of Love! Check out our free "Powerful Perspective: Facing Fear" Worksheet HERE to help you face those fears head on!
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