My kids are staying up too late!

Today’s Topic: Kids Staying Up Too Late

Dear Torie,

“I am wondering what type of consequences to set for my 10-year-old daughter. She shares a room with her 12-year-old sister. I am having the toughest time with them falling asleep at night. From the moment my husband and I kiss them goodnight, it is almost an hour and a half before they are asleep. The repetitive getting out of bed and coming to us with all sorts of things: “I am scared about a show I saw or snakes under my bed”, or whatever! They have twin beds and will try to get in each other’s beds to “help calm each other down but rarely this works”. My girls are thinkers and thus when they lie down both of them are ruminating about the day, etc. 

I am getting to bed too late and unable to have downtime. This frustrates both my husband and myself.

I struggle as to either take away things (what would those be—don’t want to take away play dates as those are important for building social skills for her right now) or reward (marble jar, or no?). I like to intrinsically motivate my children but this is affecting the whole family and I’m unsure what to do.” 

I asked Andria what she has tried that worked or didn’t work and she told me what consequences her kids currently valued. She also added: 

“The 10-year-old wants to use my 12-year-old as a coping mechanism to help her fall asleep. My 12-year-old being the compassionate, nurturing person she is, will go and lie with her. And then….they start bickering about the stuffed animals on the bed, etc.”

 

Parent Education Answer: 

How to get kids to fall asleep at night? 

Let’s take a look at what you have control over, and what you don’t. 

You cannot make your children sleep. You cannot stop them talking, climbing into each other’s beds, or coming to find you. You cannot turn off their brains for them or make them feel tired and peaceful. 

Knowing What You Can Control

You can control what you do when they come to your bedroom asking for water, attention, etc. You can help them create an environment that is conducive to rest and relaxation. You can HELP THEM problem solve THEIR issue of busy, overstimulated brains and a sister who sacrifices her sleep to try and help her sister. 

This is such a classic Supermom question. I define a Supermom as someone who is very involved with their kids, loves mothering, and tries really hard to do everything right.

We tend to think every problem our kids have is ours to solve. If you find yourself banging your head against the wall, unable to effect the change you want, chances are, it’s because you are trying to solve something that is not your problem to fix. 

Anxious Environment

We live in an anxious, overstimulating culture, visual and auditory information coming at us all hours of the day, without enough physical movement to process, purge and rest in the non-verbal, creative part of our brains.

Generalized anxiety is highest in rich countries like the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.

You could solve this problem by moving your family to a country with lower levels of anxiety, relaxed people, reduced mental stimulation, and an abundance of nature and watch your daughters drift peacefully off to sleep at the end of a day.

If that isn’t on your bucket list for 2020, let’s move to something else you have control over. 

Helpful Tips When Kids are Staying Up Late

You could help your daughters create an environment that is more conducive to rest and relaxation. For example: 

kids staying up too late

-No media input an hour before bed. 

-Time for the girls to sit, talk, and process the day with each other. 

-Do yoga stretches together to get them out of their heads and prepare their brains for sleep. -Meditate together or listen to a guided visualization designed to help prepare the brain for sleep. 

When it’s time for them both to sleep, it sounds like having something for their brains to think about would help.

Because you mentioned your girls are “thinkers” you might try a bedtime story podcast like Be Calm on Ahway Island or the Stories Podcast. (Listening to things like podcasts and audiobooks doesn’t count as “screen” time because listening activates the areas of the brain that are good for us.)

The idea is to address the core issue of your daughters’ busy brains at bedtime, rather than seeing it as a discipline issue that requires consequences, and to empower THEM to experiment and figure out what works for them and what doesn’t.

Making sure they get enough exercise in the day time or doing calming yoga stretches before bed can help get us out of our brains and into our bodies. 

You might consider giving your 12-year-old permission to ignore her sister. Can she wear noise-canceling earphones and read a book in her bed? She is trying to be kind but her “helping” isn’t working. It’s teaching the 10-year-old to look to someone else to solve her problems instead of learning that she has the ability to calm herself down. Just like Momma thinks this is her problem to solve, older sister might be thinking the same thing. 

 

What else do you have control over? 

You get to decide what time YOU go to bed and how to handle it when they get up and come to you. You can model for your 12 year old what it looks like to ignore the 10-year-old. Not in a mean way, just a way that makes it really boring and unrewarding for her to get up and come to you. 

If your kids are getting back up after bedtime and coming to find you, the trick is to be non-reactive. You don’t want to be overly kind and affectionate, or overly annoyed and exasperated. If getting up to see mom is as boring as staying in bed, they will lose motivation.

Now if your daughter comes to you and finds your door locked, you taking a shower, reading, or sleeping, it’s going to naturally steer her away from getting up out of bed. If you say you prefer your children to be intrinsically motivated, this is how you help create it.

 

Life Coaching Answer: 

What will get in the way? 

End of the day fatigue and the feeling of losing control. 

At the end of the day, we are TIRED. All we can think about it is “When am I DONE?” 

We want to have nice, quality time with our precious ones, give love and cuddles, and then pay attention to ourselves for the first time in 23 hours. 

It is REALLY HARD to implement these strategies at this time of day. 

Under stress, we regress. Most of us default to either overly authoritative or overly permissive. 

When Andria is tired, her default seems to be to look to consequences, “What can I take away” which is another way of saying, “I want there to be an action I can take to feel in control.” If we think, “There’s nothing I can do, I have no control over when they go to bed.” isn’t going to feel good either. 

We think, “I just need to get them to sleep and then my husband and I can relax.” 

We put our ability to feel relaxed and enjoy the evening in the hands of our ruminating, chatty children. This doesn’t work very well. Any time we try to control something that we don’t have control over, we will get frustrated. 

Focus on the things you DO have control over. 

What time you go to bed.

How you feel.

How you respond to their problem.

Whenever a mom is wanting to change up a bedtime routine, I suggest practicing it early in the day. Make a game out of it.

Walk through the steps of the new routine before everyone is exhausted. Take pictures of the kids: brushing their teeth, getting their jammies on, doing yoga, etc.

When night time comes, you just have to remind them of the new routine that they already have a positive association with. 

Supermom Kryptonite – Thinking every problem is ours to solve.

It is so easy to get stuck in the habit of fixing our kids’ problems. When they were younger, it seemed like everything fell on our shoulders.

This is too much weight for one person to carry, especially since problems will increase as life becomes more complex. When kids’ adolescence starts, it’s good to practice letting go of trying to fix things. 

You might notice moms start to lose their status as the one and only “She who must be obeyed”. Kids give more credence to teachers, babysitters, coaches, YouTubers, often even Dad’s status gets elevated over Moms.

You might give your daughter the same advice as her gymnastics coach, but your words fall on deaf ears while the young, pretty teenager’s words get put on a pedestal. 

Trying to maintain that “mother knows all” status can drain your energy when, developmentally, your kids are more interested in guidance from peers, older teens, young adults, or relatives who aren’t so involved in their daily lives. 

In Andria’s case, she can encourage her daughters to solve their own problems (ask an older cousin or babysitter for suggestions). She can also delegate to an external resource like an app or podcast designed for tweens.

There are many: Calm, Insight Timer, Simple Habit, Headspace, that have bedtime stories, progressive relaxation, or other auditory ways to facilitate sleep. The goal is to cultivate your children’s resourcefulness, and show them that many people can help them accomplish their goal. 

 

Supermom Power BoostDelegate!

Want to know how to get your kids to eat broccoli? So did social scientists.

They discovered one of the most effective ways is to sit your child down at a table and have them watch an older teenager (of the same gender) sit across from them and happily devour a bowl of broccoli. No talking, just role modeling. 

 

You can use this natural tendency kids have to listen to outsiders to your advantage. 

Email your pediatrician before an appointment. Ask her to mention the importance of vitamins, sunscreen, or exercise or whatever you are tired of nagging about.

Email your child’s teacher or coach.  Ask him to please praise your son for making mistakes and trying new things because you are working on developing a growth mindset. 

Ask your friend to compliment your child on something her new haircut if he is feeling insecure. 

Find a YouTuber or “influencer” who preaches self-love and care. 

Ask your niece to come over and help your daughter organize her bedroom. 

Have an uncle you trust, talk to your son about safe sex and respecting women. 

You do not have to be all things to your children! Utilize your village and expand your child’s circle of trust. This encourages independence, resourcefulness, and a feeling of safety as your child grows into adulthood. It also frees up your time and energy, helping you feel supported by your village.

 

Quote of the Day:

“Embrace it. Especially because of the lives we live, a lot of times other people have to care for our kids and you have to have that mommy time. Get your sleep!” Jennifer Hudson

Depleted and Burned Out Mom

Feeling depleted and burned out? This episode is for you.

Episode #48 What to do when you feel depleted and burned out?

“What do you do if you feel completely depleted as a parent and you feel like you are just kinda burned out as a mom? I have given so much to my kids, starting when my first son was born, and 6 years later I’m completely depleted. Now I don’t like the version of me I am. Somehow I feel like I’m not showing up as my best and I don’t know what to do to change it.” Carrie

My heart goes out to you. I have totally been there and I think it’s wonderful that you have enough self-awareness to notice how you are feeling, identify it, and ask for help. This is a big and very important first step.

It also gets me excited! I know exactly what to do to help you get back on track. I feel like helping moms find their way is my life’s calling, and I KNOW how much better your life is going to get from this point on. If you relate to Carrie, schedule your free coaching call at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com

Parent Educator Answer

Conventional wisdom on this topic of what to do when you feel depleted and burned out as a mom leads me to talk about the two dreaded words for Supermoms: self-care.

To me, a Supermom is someone who goes ALL IN on parenting. We try super hard to do everything right for our kids, not realizing that our expectations are a bit perfectionistic. Our thought is that a good mom “does everything right for their kids.” There is no “it takes a village” for a Supermom! We assume a lot of responsibility (even if that means managing our nannies, husbands, housekeepers and grandparents while they help us!). If our kid needs us, we. are. there.

This type of vigilant, hard-working, self-sacrificing parenting can only last so long before it becomes depletion and exhaustion.

Caring for our kids makes us feel capable and responsible but when it comes to caring for ourselves, it’s a struggle.

Self-care can be defined as the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness.

Self-care can be anything that gives your mental, emotional, or physical health a boost:

Sitting in the sunshine, folding laundry while watching your favorite show, yoga class, going for a walk, getting together with girlfriends for a “vent session”, scrapbooking, playing piano, or singing.

Self care is very individual but includes taking care of your body’s health (exercise, massage, and nutrition), your mental and emotional health (meditation or life coaching), social support (friends, online groups, even authors and TV shows) and most importantly, connecting with YOURSELF.

Here are examples of ways my clients take care of their bodies:

Yoga, swimming, dance class, running, soccer team, tennis, etc. Also, putting on favorite music and dancing while cleaning, walking the dog while listening to a favorite podcast, starting a hiking club, or joining a stroller walking mom group. Don’t forget about eating healthy, taking care of your hairdo, putting makeup on, receiving massages and mani/pedi’s. Going to the chiropractor, acupuncturist, esthetician, anything that puts loving attention on your body.

Here are examples of ways you can take care of your mental and emotional health:

Meditation, life coaching, counseling/therapy, online support groups. Even finding authors you resonate with, TV shows that light you up, movies that speak to you. Online support groups like Supermom is Getting Tired, venting with girlfriends (anything with girlfriends!).

Most right brained activities give our brains a break. Pick your favorite: doing puzzles, creating art, playing or listening to music, reading books or listening to audiobooks, cooking, decorating, designing, organizing, gardening, window shopping, crafting, planning a vacation, daydreaming.

You certainly don’t have to do all of these, but I have never seen a depleted mom who has a regular habit of prioritizing self care.

The most important self care you can do when you are feeling burned out and depleted is to RECONNECT WITH YOURSELF.

Most moms who find themselves in Carrie’s shoes say something like “I feel like I’ve lost myself.” If you have a life full of self-care activities, it’s hard to feel burned out and depleted because you have to pay attention to YOU and notice whether your activities feel good to you or not.

depleted and burned out mom

Life Coaching Answer – What gets in our way from self-care?

SO MANY THINGS!

Has neglecting yourself become a habit? Are you believing self-care isn’t important? Do you think you have to be with your kids 24/7? Are you “too tired, burned out and depleted” to do something that GIVES you energy? Are you unsure which self-care activity will help you feel better? Do you think taking care of yourself somehow takes away from caring for your children?

When I first started going through my life coach training program with Martha Beck, there were difficult questions that I could not answer.

“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”
“If you could not care what people think, what would you do ?”
“What do you really, really, really, really want?”
“What is your wildly improbable goal?”

I didn’t know how to dream about possibilities for myself. I didn’t know what I wanted.
Yes, I could tell you what my kids want, what my husband wants, what parents wanted for me. I could even tell you what I was SUPPOSED to want. But I had never asked myself those kinds of questions and so I couldn’t come up with any answers. I didn’t know how to dream about what could be. How could I ask for what I want if I didn’t even KNOW what I wanted?

The way I start my clients back into this journey is of connecting with themselves is this:

Imagine you had a secret bonus day snuck into the middle of your week. You fall asleep like normal but in the morning you wake up in a different bedroom in a different location. The rest of your family will stay asleep while you get to do anything you want to do, without anybody knowing. There are no rules and no judgements on this dream day. You can wake up next to Brad Pitt with Zach Efron massaging you and Justin Timberlake serenading. Even laws of physics don’t matter. If you want to wake up in Hawaii and fall asleep in Italy and the time zones don’t make sense, no worries.

Reconnecting with Self when Burned Out and Depleted

If Carrie was on the phone with me, I’d ask her to close her eyes, and before she opens them in this new bedroom, I would ask her to notice what the sheets feel like. Are they silk, flannel, or cotton? Then I would tell her to imagine opening her eyes and noticing what color they are.

I don’t want you to THINK about what color or texture you want them to be. I want to bypass your thinking brain and move into your intuitive brain that already knows what you want. Our brains block us from KNOWING what we want because we think “I can’t have that”, “It’s not practical”, “I’ve always preferred something else” or “What will people think”. Send your thinking brain away for a bit and just notice what you see in your mind’s eye when you think about your ideal, dream day.

Notice what the sheets feel like, notice what color they are. Put your feet on the floor and notice what kind of flooring there is: wood? Carpet? Tile? Then stand up and walk to the window, what do you see when you look outside? Describe the view.

What do you feel like doing? Do you want to go out there? Get dressed? Have a cup of coffee and sit on the porch? What would feel most delicious to you?

After you do your preferred activity, then what do you feel like doing? What would you eat for breakfast on your ideal day? Would you prepare it yourself or just have it magically appear?

When you feel ready to get dressed, notice what type of clothes are in your closet and what you feel most drawn to wear. Once dressed, what will you do or where will you go?

As my clients imagine this fantasy day, I am listening for themes. Is she craving solitude or company? Is she yearning for adventure or peace? Does she want recognition and validation? A way of expressing herself creatively? Sensory rich experiences, physical activity, or rest?

I have no idea what my clients need to feel better and enjoy their lives more. I just ask the questions to get them out of their own way so they can find out for themselves.

Once you start paying attention to the feelings and activities you are yearning for, take a look at the beliefs that are keeping you from going after them.
“I have to put my kid’s needs before my own.” and “I don’t know what to do.” are probably the most common and toxic beliefs.

Steps to Take

The smallest step I recommend you take is to set a timer on your phone 5 times a day asking yourself the question, “What am I feeling?” (Notice it’s not HOW). Try and come up with a one word emotion. Even if you don’t have an answer, just asking yourself the question will get you back on the path to reconnecting with you.

A bigger action step I recommend is right now, book yourself two nights in a hotel room by yourself. When you have a full day away from your daily life, to do whatever you feel like doing, and no one else around to distract you, ask yourself and answer the question, “What do I feel like doing?”

To be able to go where you want, eat what you want, go to bed when you want, read or watch whatever you want is HEAVEN and such a necessary step to get back to feeling like you again.

Supermom Kryptonite – Putting yourself last

It is a slippery slope. In order for babies to survive, we have to put their needs before our own. Toddlers will get into all sorts of trouble if moms don’t supervise them diligently and constantly. Taking care of our babies fills our brain with oxytocin which bonds us and feels amazing. We love making our kids happy and seeing the world through their eyes. There are moments when ignoring ourselves and focusing exclusively on our precious ones feel amazing. Taking care of someone else can give purpose and meaning like we’ve never had before.

But there is a cost to getting into the habit of putting the needs of your children before your own. When no one asks us “How are you feeling?” “What do you want for dinner?” “What do you feel like doing today?” We stop asking ourselves these questions. Our families and our friends start asking about the kids instead of asking about us. Over time, we feel depleted and lost because WE aren’t front and center in our lives anymore. We lose connection with our essence; our spirit. Getting it back isn’t difficult, it WANTS to come back, but it does take time and attention.

I created a Supermom Challenge to help moms who feel lost and depleted, reconnect with their essence. It’s 15 minutes a day of journal exercises to reconnect with yourself and what you want. Right now I share it with my clients but I’m going to open it up to everyone and do it as a new year’s resolution challenge inside my Supermom is Getting Tired Facebook Group.

Supermom Power Boost – Forward Momentum

A body in motion tends to stay in motion. A body at rest tends to stay at rest. When you are feeling really burned out and depleted, it can be hard to make big changes, even if you really want to.
If you feel like you are drowning, the trick is to make one small change to start the momentum going in a positive direction. Let’s say you binge watch netflix and drink wine every night and you’d really like to go to the gym instead. This can feel really overwhelming and hard to do.
Start by changing one small thing, like watching netflix and drinking wine in the bathtub. Try switching to sparkling wine, going to a movie theater, or switching up your routine by showering and getting your pajamas on first.

Changing one small thing will get you out of your rut, create some new synapses in the brain, and give you some forward momentum. Once the ball is rolling in a good direction, your positive emotions will give you some confidence and motivation to keep you going.

Quote:
“Self Care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.” Katie Reed

Mindfulness

This week’s podcast: Mindfulness

Episode #47 Interview with Hunter Clarke-Fields, Mindful Mama Mentor

Are you familiar with the mindfulness movement? Mama mentor, Hunter Clarke-Fields is here to talk to us about how to use mindfulness to become the mom we want to be.

She is the host of the mindful mama podcast and author of the soon-to-be-released book, Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting.

You can find her at www.mindfulmamamentor.com

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Starting Mindfulness

Using the words “I can’t”.

“I could never to take 2 nights away”

“I could never send my 9 year old to summer camp.”

“It’s my daughter’s soccer game and I can’t miss that.”

Try to eliminate the words “I can’t” from your vocabulary. When we say “I can’t,” we give away our power and authority over our life. Consequently, this makes us feel helpless and powerless.

 

Supermom Power Boost: Mindfulness as a Habit

Switch “I can’t” to “I am choosing”.

“I am choosing not to go on vacation by myself.”

“I’m choosing not to send my child to summer camp.”

“I’m choosing not to miss my daughter’s soccer game.”

This small change will get you back in the driver’s seat of your life. There is a cost to thinking “I can’t do what I want”. Reminding yourself of how much power you actually have is a huge boost of power.

mindfulness

Caught kid watching porn

Episode 46 – Caught kid watching porn

“Dear Torie, I am so upset. I just walked in on my 9 year old son. He was looking at our lap top and shut it as soon as I came in the room. I asked him what he was looking at and he said “nothing”. When I looked up the browsing history it was very clear he was watching porn. Not just any porn either, but 3-way super inappropriate born. I am so upset that this is first introduction to understanding what sex is. I know he will never be able to un-see the images he saw. How am I supposed to tell him about how sex is a special thing that happens between two people who really love each other? I want him to have a healthy sexual attitude but am mortified that this was his introduction to it. I feel like his innocence has been ruined.”     Tama

kid watching porn

Parent Educator Answer:

I have been teaching classes on how to talk to kids about sex since the 1990’s. It’s amazing how much has changed around this topic when sex itself has not changed at all.

The frequency with which kids seeing online porn is probably the most significant and disturbing change to have occurred.

Sometimes, kids seek it out, sometimes they stumble upon it by accident, other times friends share it with them.

Either way, it can be hard for a parent to know what to say and how to handle catching a kid watching porn.

In this situation, there are a few points I suggest you address with your 9-year-old son.

1. Acknowledge his curiosity.

When our kids ask us questions we don’t know the answer to, it’s pretty easy for them to “Google it” or “Ask Siri”. “What’s the capitol of Bulgaria?” “Ask Alexa”. “What’s the weather going to be like on vacation? “Look it up”.

So it’s no surprise when kids hear something about sex at recess, they take to the internet to find the answer. We know he was the one searching out sexual content because of the search history.

Letting your son know that it’s really normal at age 9 to be curious about the human body (especially the opposite sex) and how it works would help put him at ease.

Tell him it would have been ok for him to come to you with his questions and that you are going to buy him some books with factual, age-appropriate information and answer any questions he might have.

The message you want to communicate is there is nothing wrong with being curious about sex.

I have an online sex education class, “Time for the Talk” that I designed for parents to watch with their 9-12 year old son or daughter. You can purchase this class at www.TimeforTheTalk.com and also receive a list of books I recommend for different ages.

2. Make a house rule about porn.

Tell your child that there is something called pornography that he stumbled upon, that is different than what real people do in the privacy of their bedrooms. “Media sex” is fake. It’s designed to be shocking and exaggerated as a way to make money. It is very different than the kind of sex real people have who are in intimate relationship with one another.

Let him know that it is against the law to show pornography to a minor and a kid watching porn is thus not allowed.

You can tell your child,

“Allowing pornography to be viewed in our house by you or any other minor is punishable under federal law. Therefore, your Dad and I will not allow pornography to be viewed in our house. We understand that you can find all sorts of inappropriate content online and we hope you will make good decisions going forward. If we find out that you have been watching it here (or with friends), we will further restrict your internet access in order to keep you safe.” 

 

3. Tell him to follow his instincts. 

Instincts are designed to keep us safe. Tell him,

“When I walked into the room, you immediately jumped up and shut the computer. These were your instincts telling you that what you were watching was not appropriate. If it had been something interesting in a healthy way or funny in a healthy way, you would have said, “Mom, come here, you gotta see this!” Instead you shut it down like it was on fire and ran away as fast as you could. Your higher self knew you shouldn’t have been watching this and I want to encourage you to learn to listen to these instincts.”

 

Life Coaching Answer:

 

What gets in our way from being able to have this conversation? Nerves! It’s uncomfortable to talk about these subjects when we didn’t get great modeling from our parents!

Most of us didn’t have an example set for us that we want to emulate, nor did we have the issue of online porn to contend with. If we had seen our parents handle it a way that felt comfortable, it would be much easier for us to know what to do.

Many parents worry about doing it wrong. We don’t know what to say or how to say it, so we end up just saying nothing at all.

We get afraid that we will make it worse or cause our kid to react in an awkward way. It’s this fear that keeps us giving our kids the information they need to navigate this modern world.

Sex education at age 9 is mostly about science, health and respect for the body.

Kids are smart, they know food goes into stomachs and gets pooped out. When we tell them babies grow in mom’s stomachs, it doesn’t make sense to them.

I believe 9-12 year olds deserve to know all about reproductive anatomy and physiology, puberty, in a way that helps them appreciate and respect the human body for how magnificent it is.

Even if your child hasn’t started puberty yet themselves, their friends may be and they will want to make sense of the changes that are happening around them.

Open Communication 

If your kid hears other kids talking at a sleepover, you want him to come home and ask YOU, not google, for more information. You want your child to be able to hear gossip and think, “I don’t need to listen to you, my parents already told me what I need to know. I’ve got books and all the information I need at home.”

Rather than trying to have the perfect conversation at the perfect time, aim for authentic instead. It’s ok to say to your kids “My parents didn’t talk to me about sex or online porn so I might get nervous or embarrassed. Hang in there with me while I fumble over my words. It’s important to me that you know the truth, even if I’m a bit cringy.”

There will come a time in the future when we want our children to have an intimate, possibly embarrassing conversation with their partner. We want our kids to be capable of discussing things like birth control, monogamy, and condoms with their future partners.

When we model for them, feeling embarrassed and saying it anyway, we teach them the importance of intimate relationships.

With today’s culture of online porn and casual “hook-ups”, it’s great for kids to experience the benefit of emotionally intimate relationships, starting with these important but embarrassing conversations with parents.

 

Supermom Kryptonite – Expecting your teen to misbehave

Do you want your teens to watch porn, have sex, drink and do drugs?

There is one sure fire way to get your kids to do these frowned upon activities and I see parents doing it all the time. All you have to think and say is, “I know they are going to do it anyways,”

When parents have this belief, “I know they are going to do it anyway.” They subconsciously send the message to their kids, that “this is what you are SUPPOSED to do.”

In education, we have this saying, “Children rise to your expectations”. When a parent expects their child to drink, experiment with drugs, have sex or watch porn, that’s exactly what happens.

This expectation keeps parents from giving information about the risks and consequences, or advising them not to do it. It also doesn’t give room for the teens opinion to come into play.

He might be scared or disinterested but feel like he is doing it wrong if he doesn’t live up to his parent’s expectations.

It may be that you want your child to fit in and be popular and you think that’s the only way it’s going to happen. Figure out how you WANT your teen to behave and start expecting that behavior.

Expectations 

Do you want your child to be tempted but make healthy choices instead? Tell him you expect him to do that.

Do you want your child to have friends and romantic partners that have her best interest at heart? Tell her you expect her to find that.

Expect your child to listen and obey your rules around online porn. If he doesn’t, then take extra precautions and limit his access to technology.  However, always make sure you align your expectations with what you hope to see.

 

Supermom Power Boost: Teaching your kids about instincts and intuition

 

We are born with instincts designed to help us keep us safe. An instinct is a physiological response in the body.

When a giant spider surprisingly lands in your hair, you jump, scream and flail. Nobody taught you to do this, it’s just an instinctual reaction.

Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Or, a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why.
Over time both of these senses evolve, picking up more information about what is normal and what isn’t.

I like to find examples of listening to instincts and intuition that don’t scare kids.

Trusting Instincts

I went on vacation on the French Island of Martinique. It was a tropical paradise: warm and beautiful with crystal clear waters.

As soon as I stepped into the warm sunshine, my instincts had me take off my long-sleeved shirt and walk to the water in my bikini.

Once in the water, I realized many of the other women were swimming and sunbathing with their tops off. One of these women came up and started talking to me. I felt so uncomfortable! My intuitive alarm bells were going off telling me this was not normal!

It was a physical feeling in the body of “uh oh” “weird” “wrong” but my brain told me to ignore it, look into her eyes and be polite.

After two days of seeing women without tops on, it felt totally normal to me. No more alarm bells going off, my intuition wasn’t telling me something was wrong.

Your son’s intuition was telling him that what he was watching was wrong. Pointing that out to him will help him learn to trust himself and his gut, keeping him safe in the future.

If he was continually exposed to online porn, like I was with the boobies, the alarm bells would stop going off and he would lose this sensitivity to knowing right from wrong.

Teaching your kids to trust their instincts and intuition can be a huge energy boost for mom. This is because you realize it’s not all up to YOU to keep your kids safe. They have a built-in mechanism designed for this purpose and are WAY better at listening to it than adults are!

Instinct and Intuition 

When I was a new mom, I hated the words instincts and intuition.

“Trust your gut” or “Listen to your maternal instincts” were so annoying. I had so much fear, anxiety and worry swimming around my brain that I couldn’t access the physical sensations in my body.

Kids are much more connected with their bodies. They haven’t developed the social skills to talk themselves out of what they know to be true.

Look for opportunities when your child listens to his intuition and point it out to him. Help him get familiar with this built in ability he has. Kids will often use words like “weird” “wrong” “funny” “uh-oh” or “cringy” to describe the feeling that something is off and their instincts have picked up on it.

Quote of the Day:

You have the gift of a brilliant internal guardian that stands ready to warn you of hazards and guide you through risky situations.
Gavin De Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

Teen alcohol party

Our topic for this podcast: teen alcohol party

Episode 45 – Dealing with a teen alcohol party

“Last night was Halloween and my daughter (age 16, straight A, athlete, good kid) invited some friends over for a Halloween party in the basement. There were about 10 teens, boys and girls, hanging out, playing party games, watching Stranger Things. My husband and I were home and keeping a distant eye on them. We heard happy sounds coming from the basement.

One of the parents must have pulled up to our house and texted “I’m here” because two kids came upstairs and said goodbye as they walked out the front door. They reeked of alcohol as they walked past! I ran downstairs and found the kids had snuck one of our bottles of liquor and mixed it with their sodas! They had all been drinking! It was a school night! One girl even drove herself so I had to drive her home, leaving her car at our house. I’m so livid I don’t know what to say.

I don’t know what to say to my daughter, to the other parents who trusted me to supervise their kids! My husband doesn’t think it’s a big deal. He says it’s totally normal, and I’m sure it is, but for some reason that is not helping me. I want to do the right thing but I don’t know what that is.”
-Ashley

teen alcohol party
Group Of Teenagers Drinking Alcohol In Bedroom

Parent Educator Answer:

I’m sorry that you feel duped by your daughter and grateful nothing bad happened as a result of your unintentional Halloween party. As I’m sure you are aware there could have been some pretty dire consequences from hosting a teen alcohol party.

It sounds like a good time was had, no one was puking or getting in trouble. I can’t tell from your question if the other parents are aware that drinking occurred but it sounds like knowing what to say to them, as well as your daughter, is what you’d like help with.

Your daughter needs to experience consequences for her actions but since nothing bad actually happened, you’ll want to impose some consequences of your own.

My parent educator answer is for you and your husband to sit down with your daughter when everyone is calm and talk to her using these four steps.

Step 1 – Calmly and clearly explain the problem:

Give your daughter some factual information why an alcohol party for teens is not allowed.

It is against the law to serve alcohol to minors. The reason the drinking age is 21 is that the brain is in an active growing period during the teen years. Whatever substance you introduce during this time can cause the brain to form around it, building a dependency. Around 25, the frontal lobes of the brain are fully formed and therefore is a better age to introduce any mind-altering substance.

Explain that an alcohol party for teens have more serious consequences.

If one of your friends had driven home intoxicated, they could have lost their license, been arrested, paid a fine, hurt or killed someone else or themselves. The consequences of your simple act of stealing and drinking alcohol could have been tragic. It is also possible that your Dad and I could have been arrested, sued, pay fines, and have this incident permanently on our criminal record.

When people drink alcohol, they are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors. It impairs judgment and leads to making poor decisions.

 

Step 2 – Explain the real and current problem.

Continue talking to her about the current problem and listen to her side of the story.

We are very grateful none of those things have happened. So the biggest problem facing us today is that we lost trust in you. Trust is something that takes a long time to build but can be lost in an instant. Even if you apologize and say you will never do this again, we can’t trust that. You will need to earn back our trust by showing us, through actions over time, that you are telling the truth.

We would like to understand what was going through your head last night. What motivated this action? What were you thinking and feeling? Please tell us your side of the story so we can get a clearer picture from your perspective.

 

Step 3 – Impose Consequences

You can ask her what consequences she thinks would be appropriate or decide on some yourself. Just make sure you and your husband are on the same page.

We would like you to write a letter of apology to the parents of each friend who was at our house on Halloween. You don’t need to say they were drinking, as you really don’t know. Just let them know that alcohol was served and you now understand how serious the consequences of this could have been. They trusted you to be a positive influence on their teen and you violated that trust. Your Dad and I will also be calling the parents to let them know what has happened.

The liquor cabinet will remain locked from now on and you won’t be allowed to attend or host parties for the remainder of the school year.

Depending on your daughter’s version of the story, you may want to restrict access to certain people or revoke driving privileges, things like that.

 

Step 4 – Follow through

Make sure you follow through on the consequences you impose or she will learn you don’t mean what you say. You want to trust her again. Model that for her by showing her what trust looks like: meaning what you say and saying what you mean.

 

Life Coaching Answer:

Before you can do ANY of that, you need to give yourself some much needed TLC and compassion. You’ve got a whole bunch of negative emotions spinning around: anger, fear and the big daddy of all sucky emotions….shame.

Anger is a quick and easy default emotion for most of us. In its healthiest form, it’s a signal that an injustice has taken place. Your daughter violated your trust and that sucks.

Fear is future thinking. Worrying about what could have gone wrong, what the other parents are thinking about you and your daughter.

Worrying about things you don’t have control over. You can apologize and inform the other parents, but then you can let it go.

Fear and worry are a waste of energy and don’t serve anyone.

Shame is the emotion we all dread feeling. Nobody likes feeling shame but we all have it so it’s worth getting to know it. The way I think about it, embarrassment means “I did something wrong”, shame means “I am wrong. Something is wrong with me. I’m a bad person.”

Resisting it and running away from shame, will make it last forever. If you can allow it, say hello, and confess it to a compassionate witness, it will go away.

Just because shame is common, doesn’t mean it needs to stay. Shame is an emotion that is coming from a thought in your mind. Your daughter snuck alcohol and served to her friends, this doesn’t make you a bad person.

But my hunch is you thinking some pretty bad things about yourself: “The other parents are going to think I’m a bad person” “The other parents won’t trust me with their kids.” “I’m untrustworthy and irresponsible.” Something that is coming from a perfectionistic part of your brain that says “I’m either a good person or a bad person”.

Your husband doesn’t share this black and white thinking. He’s not worried about what other people will think and he doesn’t see it as a mark against his character.

He might be mad that she violated his trust but he’s not making it mean that HE has done anything wrong.

It’s very common for parents to enmesh with their kids and feel shame when their child does something wrong.

Your daughter made a mistake, but you didn’t.

When you recognize that you didn’t do anything wrong, you are a good person and worthy of trust, then it will be much easier to problem solve this situation with your daughter.

 

Supermom Kryptonite – Shame

According to the dictionary, “Shame is a painful feeling of humiliation caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.”

What this means is that shame, this horribly toxic emotion, comes from our beliefs about ourselves, that we are disgraceful and not worthy of compassion. When it sits in us unnoticed, it causes us to act desperately.

The reason I presume Ashley is spiraling in shame is because of her level of desperation. Shame causes us to act desperately, craving acceptance because we are unable to give any to ourselves.

The most self-destructive behaviors: addiction, violence, bullying, eating disorders, all have an element of shame to them.

If Ashley was to try and talk to her daughter, and the other parents, from shame, it would not come out the way she wanted it to. When we act from negative emotion, we get a negative result.

The good news is that shame can only live in the dark. Once we shine a compassionate light on it, it cannot survive. Telling your story to a compassionate witness, as Ashley did by writing this question, will help her find compassion for herself. When she can feel like a loving, caring mom, despite her daughter’s alcohol party, she will find the courage to have the necessary conversations from a calm and peaceful place.

Supermom Power Boost: Understanding your shame spiral

There are days when you just feel HORRIBLE for no reason. You get mad at your husband, you complain to your sister, you vent with a girl friend and you take it out on the kids, but it doesn’t go away. You keep beating the same drum, looking to feel better. Chances are you are in a shame spiral.
A shame spiral is continually thinking negative thoughts about yourself that isolate you from others. “I’m not worthy” “I’m not good enough” “I’m a bad person”. Complaining and blaming is our attempt to connect, looking for forgiveness and acceptance.

Understanding how you act when you are in a shame spiral will boost your energy next time you find yourself in one. Sometimes, just putting a name on something makes a crazy, out of control emotion feel manageable.

How do you act when you are in a shame spiral?

Mine is a two part response: First, I get mad and blame everyone around me for making me feel bad. Then, once I realize I’m in a shame spiral, I call people that I know love me and ask them to tell me why they like me and why I’m a good person.

Shame is a natural human emotion (and a sign that you are not a sociopath) so it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. When we can understand how we act in a shame spiral, and what to do to makes us feel better, we can bring it out of the dark (where it controls us) and move into compassion. When we have empathy and compassion for ourselves, it’s easier to act courageously and in ways that we are proud of.

Quote of the Day:

“If you put shame in a petri dish, there are three ingredients it needs to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgement. If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive.” Brene Brown

I know what I want but I can’t afford it

Episode for the Week: Money Worries

Today’s question comes up a lot.. See if this has ever happened to you

You get some time away, to take a break and feel like yourself again.

OR

You have a free discovery coaching call with me and get excited about your potential and possibilities for your future. 

You get a glimpse of what life could be like with a little more balance or a little more fun and an idea of how great life could be if you felt more like you. 

Has this ever happened to you? I hope you aren’t so entrenched that you haven’t experienced this.

It feels so exciting; so freeing, that it scares us. 

The thought of so much positive change happening in such a short period of time is overwhelming. Every time we leave our comfort zone, even for something we want, fear comes along for the ride. 

But fear is sneaky, it sounds like this:

“The kids need me. I don’t have time. I could never do that. My husband wouldn’t like it. What would people think? There’s too much to do.”

And the most common of all the excuses is today’s question: 

Question of the Day: “What if you figure out what you want but you can’t afford it?”

The belief “I can’t afford it” is so prolific that it seems silly to question it. It feels true for many Americans, regardless of how much money is in their bank accounts. Just living in America puts us in the top 5% of wealth, not to mention the many potential opportunities to increase our wealth, that it seems crazy so many of us share money worries.

Parent Education Answer: 

There is a parent education answer to the question, “What if you figure out what you want but you can’t afford it?” 

You never want to send the “I can’t afford it message” to your kids. It’s a thought that makes us feel like a helpless victim. Take a look at what the thought “I can’t afford it” creates. When you think this thought, notice how you feel.

Thinking of money worries and believing the thought “I can’t afford what I want” creates a heavy, weighed down feeling in your body. It’s like putting shackles around your ankles.

It keeps you stuck in one place. When you think this thought, there’s no imagination, no exploring alternate possibilities, no believing in your ability to create more money.  It just keeps you where you have been. 

 

money worries

 

Instead, teach your kids that everything is a trade-off. “We can afford anything we want, it’s just a matter of priorities.” Talk to your kids about the value of things. 

We decided to put our kids in private school, so we moved into a smaller home in a less desirable neighborhood. Our family values experiences more than things, and our gift giving reflects that.

Instead of party favors at birthday parties, I sent the kids home with memories of fun games and activities. I skip name brand clothes unless I find them at Ross for half price, but we pay extra for super high speed internet. 

The message to send kids about money is that everything is a trade off and to align your spending with the things you value the most. 

 

Life Coaching Answer:

The thought, “I can’t afford it” is really about fear. When we think about doing something good for ourselves, something that could create positive change in our life, we get scared. It’s a natural reaction. Our minds perceive change as scary, even if it’s a good change. “I can’t afford it” is a socially acceptable way to say, “I’m nervous”.

Let’s say you take your child to the hospital for an asthma attack. They say the treatment costs $1800. Would you need to think about it? Would you say “I want to pay but I can’t afford that” or “let me talk it over with my husband?”

No, the asthma treatment is of such a high value that you would spend the money, then later figure out how to pay for it. If I said you had to come up with an extra $10,000 in 2020 or your children would perish, you would figure it out! You would get creative, you might throw morals out the window, but you would get it done. 

Spending is always about values and priorities.

Can you see any benefit on holding on to a belief that makes you feel trapped and keeps you from noticing possibilities? 

The truth shall set you free so any thought that makes you feel weighed down and trapped is not a true one. 

Handling Money Worries

We spend money on gym memberships, mani/pedis, hair, and clothes. We’ll spend money on private schools or tutors, club sports, extra curricular activities and SAT prep classes.

We always have a choice on where we spend money and what we think is worth going into debt for. We justify our spending based on what we SEE other people spending money on, but the most valuable things to spend money on are things you can’t see. 

Many families take kids to Disneyland because they want to make them happy. They think seeing happy kids will make them feel like they are doing a good job.

The truth is, our ability to feel happy and satisfied in our job as mom does not come from our kids. It comes from the thoughts inside our own heads.

If you put your ability to feel happy into the hands of your kids’ trip to Disneyland, as soon as they melt down, cry, and fight with their siblings, you are going to get super annoyed. You spent so much money trying to feel happy, just to have ripped away at the first temper tantrum.

When you take responsibility for your own happiness and satisfaction, then it doesn’t matter how your kids behave. You get to feel the way you want to feel whether you are at Disneyland, at home, or dragging your kids through Target.

Life coaching is the best place to spend money because you learn the meta-skill of how to be happy any time you want. You can save so much money buying things that only bring you temporary pleasure. 

You can spend $20,000 remodeling your kitchen, then, 6 months later, start complaining about the bathroom needing to be redone. The new kitchen doesn’t bring you long lasting happiness because that comes from your thoughts.

If your brain is trained to look for problems to solve, you will just find more problems. It’s the state of mind we get stuck in that keeps us from getting the feeling of satisfaction and joy we crave.

That new toy you bought your kid only provided a week’s worth of peace for you. Wouldn’t you like to learn how to feel peaceful anytime you want? 

You loved your new car when you first got it, but one year later all you can think about is how messy it is and how much driving around you have to do.

Spending money on your mental and emotional well being is one of the BEST things to spend money on if you want long-lasting happiness and peace. 

Most of us agree that taking care of our bodies is a good idea. We can see the value of joining a gym, eating healthy foods, moisturizing, taking vitamins, and getting massages or facials, but what’s the point of having your body in top shape if your mind and emotions can’t appreciate it? 

Can you imagine who you would be without the thought “I can’t afford it?” If this thought was completely unavailable to you, how different would you feel? 

You still have the same amount of income and outflow, but your thought is “I can spend money on the things I value most” or “I always have enough for the things that are important to me.” or “There are many ways to make more money.” These are the beliefs we want to pass to our kids and it starts with believing them yourself.

If you could think these thoughts, how do you imagine you might feel? 

Open? Hopeful? Creative? 

What actions steps might you take if you are feeling hopeful and creative?  You might cancel memberships to things you aren’t using. You may say no more easily when your son asks for something, but say yes to something special for YOU. You’ll start scanning your budget to see how aligned your spending is with the things you value most. You might ask for a raise or start a side hustle, just because you want your money to be aligned with your values. 

 

Today’s Supermom Kryptonite: Thinking that the way things have been is the way they will be in the future.

Look around you right now. What do you see? I see a laptop, a sofa, a coffee mug, a box of tissues. Everything you see began in someone’s imagination. If we want to create something new, we first need to see it in our imagination. The thought “I can’t afford it” blocks our ability to use our imaginations to create what we want. 

If you grew up hearing “We can’t afford it” then it’s an easy thing to repeat, but it costs you the ability to step out of that way of thinking and create a new reality. Just because things have always been a certain way, does not mean they will always be. Change can happen on a dime, at any time. You just have to want it. 

 

Supermom Power Boost: Get Creative! 

There are 100 ways to get what you want. I have a friend who said, “If I ever came into extra cash, I would sign up for this writer’s retreat and workshop.” Two months later, her old company liquidated stock options and (surprise!) extra cash came in the mail and her writing career began. If she hadn’t used her imagination FIRST to think about what she wanted, she very easily could have gotten that check, used it to pay bills, and not used it to create an exciting future aligned with her values.

 

To set loose your creativity and use your imagination to create what you want, try this exercise: Pick one thing that you would LOVE to spend money on. Something that feels very aligned with your values and your heart’s desire. Make sure it feels fun and slightly indulgent. Got it? 

 

Estimate how much you think it will cost. Now list 20 different ways you can make that much extra money. 

Let’s say you want to sign up for my 12 week Supermom is Getting Tired Coaching Program because you want to feel better. You are tired of being cranky all the time and you want to show your kids how to take responsibility for your own happiness and create a life you love. The cost of the program is $1668. 

Let’s say you promised your husband you would make up that much more money in 2020 to pay for it. You could…

  1. Become a door dash driver
  2. Ask for a raise or promotion
  3. Offer to drive other kids around for a fee.
  4. Sell stuff on ebay or letgo
  5. Sell jewelry on etsy 
  6. Bake cakes for birthdays.
  7. Advertise on social media for your favorite businesses.
  8. Rent a room in your house on Airbnb
  9. Take in an exchange student
  10. Turn off your electricity and live by candlelight
  11. Trade your car in for a cheaper hybrid.
  12. Barter services with hairdressers, handymen, friends. 
  13. Become a dog walker or dog sitter

 

Quote of the Day: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” Benjamin Franklin

Constantly nagging and repeating myself

Episode 42 – Constantly nagging and repeating myself

“I feel like I’m constantly nagging my kids to do things. Hang up your jacket, put your clothes in the hamper, clear your plate, turn off the xbox and do your homework — It’s like I only have two channels: the “nagging, frustrated, annoying mom” channel and the “leave me alone, I just can’t deal anymore channel.” I am so tired of repeating myself, but it’s the only way to get them to do anything. I’m certain there is a THIRD channel, and it feels like everyone else has found it except for me. How can I get them to this magical place where they do what they are told without constantly nagging and repeating myself?”

Danielle

Parent Education Answer:

This is BY FAR the most common complaint I hear from moms asking to join the Supermom is Getting Tired Facebook group. So you are certainly not alone in this dilemma. I’m sorry to say there is no magical place, but you are right in thinking there is a THIRD channel.

Why do so many moms hate repeating themselves? There is nothing inherently wrong with this act. We might say “I love you” every day and that doesn’t bother us. We repeat ourselves when we say “excuse me” “please” and “thank you”.

The reason it bothers moms to repeat themselves is because of the energy we are rooted in when we do it. It’s the same nagging, reminding energy that makes us not like ourselves. Our kids don’t want to be around us when we are acting this way, but neither do we.

When we nag, repeat, and remind, it’s coming from a place of defeat. It’s as if we’ve already lost.

The kids didn’t do their homework like they were supposed to, so we are rooted in failure. They failed, which means I failed. We repeat ourselves: “Stop goofing off and do your homework.” “Quit talking it’s time to focus.” “You are running out of time.” When you communicate from this energy, everyone feels like a loser.

Sometimes we are jumping the gun and assuming ahead of time that they will fail. “Don’t forget to feed the dog.” “Remember to brush your teeth before bed.” “You’ve got a big test tomorrow, you better take your book out.”

These future reminders PRESUME they won’t do it. You don’t trust them. When we communicate this way, we are subconsciously sending the message that they need you or they can’t do it on their own.

Kids like to feel capable and competent so they will either
Believe us, and not do things unless we remind them.
Reject us, ignore us, and rebel against us.

Nagging actually teaches kids to NOT listen.

The Third Channel: Because Nagging Isn’t Working

The “third channel” is the calm, confident channel. Believing your child WILL listen the first time, and following that up with action.
The moms that participated in my Confident Kid Challenge were also stuck in the ‘nagging to get anything done’ cycle. Listen to how they pulled themselves out:

Sara: Yesterday my daughter was reading a book and never heard me say (about a dozen times) that it was time to leave for piano lessons…so she got left at home. It took her 30 minutes to realize we’d left. She was a hot mess of emotion and “why didn’t you tell me! You could’ve shaken me to get my attention!” I wasn’t emotional about it, other than to express sincere empathy that it wasn’t fun leaving her and that we missed having her there. Today she’s come each and every time it’s been time to go somewhere.

Jontue: My kids were making a huge mess in the living room and were told if they made a mess they would have to clean it up (including vacuuming) themselves. Well, they continued to make a mess. Afterward they threw a fit and cried about having to clean it up. I wanted to take the vacuum from them and clean it up (faster and easier), but I let them struggle through it. It took them about 3 times as long as it should, but they did it. I also discovered that my kids can vacuum (who knew?).

How do you get out of the cycle of you nagging and reminding your kids?

  • Allow them to experience negative emotions.
  • Follow through on natural consequences.
  • Allow them to struggle
  • Let them make their own decisions.

That third channel you are looking for is calm, clear, and confident. You become rooted in the energy of trust, believing your child will learn lessons from this experience.

Popular career advice is to make yourself indispensable to your employer: work so that your company depends on your skills, talents and expertise.

With parenting, our job is to do the opposite. We need to make ourselves dispensable, non-essential. One step at a time we reduce our role in our child’s life. We learn to love more but do less and care less. The goal of parenting is to work ourselves out of a job, and into unconditional love.

Life Coaching Answer:

What gets in our way of doing these four things for the benefit of our kids?

WE DON’T WANT TO FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE.

Watching your child struggle or feel sad is HARD!

Somehow we got the mixed message in our culture that “doing everything right” is more important than raising independent adults. We want our kids to become more responsible without us having to do the hard work of watching them suffer and struggle.

Letting go of control is hard for many of us Supermoms, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

I love the warm and fuzzy cuddles as much as anybody. I would be very happy if the whole world could live in blissful harmony. But when I see the research about how detrimental it is to the psychological well being of our kids to coddle and try to prevent them from having negative experiences, it motivates me.

It’s hard to feel happy while watching kids experience the negative consequences of their actions or inactions, but you can feel PROUD of yourself. We’re proud when we do things that are hard to do.

You can also feel compassionate and purposeful. These emotions can keep you in your calm, confident energy.

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Empathy Dials

Close your eyes and imagine two dials are in front of you. Both dials are labeled 1 – 10. The first dial has the word ME on it. Notice what number the dial is pointed to. The second dial has the word OTHERS on it. What number is this pointed to.

If your ME dial is turned way up, and your OTHER dial turned down, you are going to struggle to put yourself in other people’s shoes. It will be hard for you to feel compassion and understanding for what your kids might be experiencing.

You may find yourself frequently irritated and annoyed by your kids. They might say you are mean, that you don’t understand them and they try to avoid you. If so, see if you can turn your “ME” dial down, and your “OTHER” dial up inside your imagination.

If your OTHER dial is high and your ME dial is low, you will feel exhausted. It will be hard to hold your kids accountable and allow them to experience negative emotions. You may feel lost and overwhelmed with a whole lot of responsibility on your shoulders.

People might tell you that you are “too nice” and that you should “let go” more often. If I ask you how you are doing, and you tell me how your kids are doing, your “ME” dial is too low. In your mind’s eye, see how high you can get this dial to go up, and simultaneously turn down the “OTHER” dial.

Supermom Power Boost – Invisible problems require invisible solutions.

Just because we cannot see something does not mean the problem isn’t real. When a kid sees monsters under the bed, what helps her feel safe is “monster go away” spray that she keeps in a spray bottle near her bed.

“Over-empathy” is an invisible problem. Empathy is your ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

You can’t see how much empathy a mom has for the kids, but you sure can see the consequences of it: fatigue, overwhelm, a decrease in life satisfaction. Moms who have their “OTHER” dial up too high struggle to parent with calm confidence and to follow through with natural consequences. When you learn how to turn your ME dial up and your OTHER dial down, you reconnect with your dreams and desires. You get a break from responsible caretaker and start feeling ALIVE in your life again.

Sometimes we all we need to do is to learn to use our imagination to create what we want.

 

Quote: “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” Goethe

nagging and reminding