Listening to the news and watching TV gives us plenty of reasons to worry about our kids. How times have changed. We all want to protect our kids and make sure they’re safe and healthy. Where this can become problematic is when parents attempt to remove obstacles in their child’s path, or try to ensure that their kids will never experience pain, disappointment or discomfort. Enter as some call it, the helicopter parent.
What is at the heart of most helicopter parenting? Anxiety—about our kids’ safety, happiness, and ability to navigate in the world. I remember when I was growing up, my parents allowed us to navigate the day to day events of life without too much control.
Some personality styles tend to worry more than others. Those parents that tend to focus on always getting things right, are analytical and when under stress become headstrong will worry about their kids, and be constantly asking them for minor details about their life. If I remember anything about my teen years this would drive me insane! It felt like I was being interrogated all the time and I could never get it right! And I was the one that ended up worrying all the time as well.
These “Getting things right” types also tend to spend a large percentage of their time second guessing every move they make as parents, because they have to get it right when it comes to parenting. All of the time!
Then there are those styles that project their worst fears onto their children, who love them so much and they want to protect them from any harm. Over time, these parent types can become hyper vigilant for any signs of trouble in an attempt to cut it off at the pass. This constant vigilance can become larger-than-life, though, because we start imagining and projecting things we shouldn’t onto our kids. And boy I bet it, for these types it can be very tiring always trying to make sure their teens are protected from harm 110% of the time. If you would like to find out what style you are why not take my free assessment here – FREE DISC Assessment.
So how do you stop worrying as a parent? Here’s some tips that really help me to stop worrying about my kids, even though they are in their thirties I still worry sometimes.
1. Start noticing every time your mind goes into worry.
When you observe yourself worrying about something, Stop. Take a deep breath. Shake your hands out to let go of that fear. Just noticing your physical state and consciously shifting into a more relaxed state sends a message to your mind that there’s nothing to worry about and no emergency.
2. Remember that you don’t have to believe everything your mind tells you.
Much of what your mind thinks isn’t even true. It’s just old fears and cautionary tales. In fact, if your negative thoughts are about the future, it’s probably not true. Even if it’s about the past, it’s probably not the whole truth. Start instead by asking yourself a question like, “What are the infinite possibilities that this will turn out all right, and what will it take?” Or, “What is right about this that I’m not getting?” You don’t have to come up with the answer. It will come to you in its own time. I call this asking the universe for some guidance and support. By the way I often ask “What are the infinite possibilities?” when I’m looking for a car park. And guess what, it always works. Go on, try it and see for yourself!
3. Learn to trust and have faith.
Some styles naturally trust and have faith more than other styles. Trust is about having faith. It’s relying and believing in someone (That’s you and your kids by the way), or something. It’s having the confidence that the right thing will come about without having to control it or make it happen. Sometimes it’s hard to trust when life brings painful experiences. Trust is being sure deep down, that there is some gift or learning in everything that life brings. Say to yourself, “I now am letting trust take away all my fears”, or “I’m not going to nag, worry or try to take control” – Source Virtues Cards by Virtues Matter.
4. Let go of trying to control everything and show empathy.
Controlling parents often don’t show their children empathy. They also often don’t take hints for personal space and ways of being, and can be rather too direct and intense. These types of parents likely don’t stop being controlling once their child has turned 18. Plenty will still interfere in their lives well into adulthood. If you see yourself here, learn to practice empathy, as this will give you a way to make new choices, to let go and trust in the process.
Empathy is the ability to recognize emotions in others, and to understand your Kiddos perspectives on a situation. At its most developed, empathy enables you to use that insight to improve someone else’s mood and to support them through challenging situations. I love this saying by Moshin Hamid, “Empathy is about finding the echoes of another person inside yourself”. You might like to read another Blog post I wrote some time ago on how to help your child develop empathy. You as a parent can also apply these tips – Developing Empathy.
Remember that changing a controlling habit takes time, so persevere and be kind to yourself. With commitment you’ll get there. If you like these tips please leave a comment and share them with your friends. Also you might like to join our Facebook group here Parents with Tweens and Teens for more resources and support.