Yell less by saying no more

Today’s Question:

My kids are constantly pressuring me for sweets. They ask for sugary cereal when they get up in the morning, cookies after school, and dessert before they go to bed at night. My daughter tells me other kids tease her when she brings healthy food to school. She wants to bring processed junk food like everyone else. Everywhere we go, people are offering junk to my kids. Lollipops at the bank, donuts after a soccer game, birthday celebrations at school, it’s everywhere! My kids spot it, start begging for it, and keep pressuring me until I give in or yell. It’s been happening more lately where I get so sick of their constant asking and begging that I scream, yell, and throw a frickin’ tantrum. How can I find peace while living with sugar crazed kids in a sugar crazed culture? Lisa

Parent Educator Response –

You teach your kids how to treat you. Intermittent reinforcement is a conditioning schedule in which a reward (or punishment) is handed out in random intervals. Gambling is an example of intermittent reinforcement. You never know when you are going to win and that anticipation keeps you coming up back for me.

In Lisa’s case, she is unknowingly reinforcing her kids’ begging and pleading behavior, by intermittently giving in and saying yes. If she said yes, right away, every time, there would be no need for begging. If she said no, every time they asked for sweets, they would get bored and stop asking. Without realizing it, Lisa has created a scenario where her kids are randomly rewarded for their begging and pleading. Not only because intermittent reinforcement can be addictive, but because the reward is sugar, which releases dopamine, the reward chemical in the child’s brain. This floods the brain with feel good chemicals making the “sugar high” a fabulous reward and worth the occasional “no” or mommy temper tantrum.

For Lisa to get her kids to stop begging for sugar, and for her to stop yelling, she needs to pick a rule (any rule) and stay consistent with reinforcing it. When she creates a boring situation for the kids where they don’t get rewarded for asking Mom for sweets, they will stop asking. She can yell less, by saying no more.

Life Coaching Answer (or….why is this so hard to do)

It sounds like Lisa is battling something many moms struggle with, balancing “doing the right thing” with “making our kids happy”. Americans eat way too much sugar. Sugar is a highly inflammatory food. Inflammation is the root of disease. Since we care about our children’s health, the “right thing to do” is to limit sugar intake. Purchase, prepare, pack and serve healthy foods so our kids will be healthy. Whatever everyone else wants to do, is their business. If other kid’s parents have different values, so be it. If banks and dry cleaners want to offer candy to your kids, you can let your kid decide, or practice saying a polite “no thank you.” Consistency and conviction are key to making this become a non-issue.

Make sure not to be too restrictive, or too indulgent, or your efforts may backfire.

Those two things are hard to come because although we care about our child’s health, we also really like making our kids happy. We love it when their face lights up with joy and excitement! They look at us like every dream came true in the form of a frosted cookie. When WE grant permission for a sugary sweet, then we are the givers of joy and happiness and they know it. Then, WE get a little hit of dopamine! The reward center in our brain goes off saying, “more of this please!” We get hooked on being the source and provider of joy. This makes us want to hang on to all decision making power so we can bathe in mutual happiness and dopamine with our sugar eating kids.

When you’ve got two competing beliefs like this, it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of frustration. Leading to what I like to call, “the exploding doormat”. You get so tired of the begging and pleading from your kids, but also the back and forth negotiations of these two competing voices, that you end up exploding and yelling out of frustration. You just want your kids to STOP ASKING so you don’t have to listen to the negotiations going on inside your head. But because of the random reinforcement, your kids have been trained to ask so it’s easier to change mama’s behavior at this point.

In order to quiet these voices, mama needs to make a decision ahead of time. Ever wonder why some moms don’t struggle with this problem at all? It’s because they have made a decision. Here are some examples of decisions moms have communicated to their child to stop the sugar battle once and for all.

  1. You can have ONE treat per day. If you want that first thing in the morning, fine. If someone offers you candy later, you can accept it, but you have to save it for the next day. Or you can collect treats all day long then at night, choose one.
  2. I am not going to monitor your sugar intake anymore. If you eat so much that you feel sick and throw up, then maybe you will learn. This is your opportunity to learn foods make your body feel the best. If, however, you are so full of junk that you stop eating the healthy food I am providing for you, then I will take the responsibility back.
  3. No treats during the week, we save that for weekends.
  4. You’ve got to earn your desserts. Score a goal, win a donut. Let your brother go first, earn some fruit snacks. Clean the bathroom, we’ll bake cookies. Eat your vegetables, get some ice cream. Do something you are scared to do like an oral report or trying out for the school play, win a trip to Starbucks.

The rule you make isn’t as important as sticking to it with self pride, conviction and consistency. You want to think about 20 years from now, what are the results you will get from the two voices. The “I want my kids to be healthy” voice will result in healthier kids, with them respecting your authority and POSSIBLY having good boundaries with themselves and their eating.

The “I want to make my kids to be happy” voice will struggle when adolescence hits and they are grumpy and cranky. All the sugar in the world won’t turn that around but you’ll bend yourself backward trying to get that feel good dopamine hit of seeing them happy. Will you let them drink alcohol and smoke pot if it makes them happy? Will you buy them their dream car?  Kids aren’t supposed to be happy all the time so trying to make them so will exhaust you and make you, and them, miserable.

The best thing to do is focus on making YOU happy, not your kids. If you are tired of yelling and being an “exploding doormat” then focus on making decisions YOU feel good about. When you have a very clear NO, there’s no need for yelling, no matter how much kids be and plead. You get to be a mom you admire, today and 20 years down the road. Happiness is fleeting, make decisions based what will make you proud of YOURSELF in the long term.

 

When to stay consistent or try something new?

Today’s question:

I really want my son to eat healthy but he is such a picky eater. It drives me crazy that he’s so resistant to the foods I like to cook. I keep presenting the same foods to him hoping he’ll come around, like the experts suggest. I have heard that the definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over again but expecting a different result.” I’ve also heard that when it comes to parenting, consistency is key. When something isn’t working, how do I know when to stay consistent, or when it’s time to try something else? 

– Stacy

This is such a great question and demonstrates how mothering is more of an art than a science. It really comes down to what works best for you. The most important thing is for YOU to ENJOY your kiddos. If their idiosyncrocies start driving you crazy, or you “bending over backwards” for them causes resentment, then this 

is more of a reason to change than some arbitrary rule.

It was Einstein who is credited with saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.” He was not home with kids trying to get them to eat their broccoli.

The Parent Education Answer: 

If you lay down a rule like, “no dessert unless you try everything on your plate,” then you certainly want to be consistent. When parents are consistent in their rules, it makes kids feel safe and helps them respect your authority. You want your kids to believe you when you say things, and being consistent in words and actions is crucial.

The conventional advice for picky eaters is to sit down together as a family. Children learn by imitation so letting them watch you enjoy your food is great modeling. Always include at least one thing on the plate that you know your child likes. Encouraging your child to cook with you and help prepare meals helps the foods become more familiar. Make food friendly and fun-looking. Play games with food. Some kids need to taste a food ten times before it becomes familiar.

A study was done in England trying to figure out the most effective way to get a non-broccoli eating child, to eat broccoli. What they found to work the best was to have a teen of the same gender, sit down across from the child and happily devour a bowl of broccoli without ever speaking a word to the child.

One of the things that worked for me was understanding my child’s unique pickiness. My son was a “true” picky eater. He had some sensory motor integration issues and was hypersensitive to sounds, touch and textures. Realizing that this wasn’t his fault gave me compassion and patience. Here are 3 tips that worked for cooking for a kid with a sensitive palette.

  1. Cook and serve foods plain and separate so he can anticipate the textures of each item.
  2. My kid was so repulsed by new food, he had a hard time looking at it. We first worked on keeping it on the table, then his plate, then touching it, then eating it. When something is a big task, breaking it down into micro-steps can really help.
  3. Once we got him comfortable eating chicken, we built on it by offering pork, but called it chicken. Expand their palette by offering foods of similar textures. Mashed carrots could expand to yams to pumpkin pie.

My daughter was picky in a completely different way. She didn’t have a sensitive palette, just a strong will and strange opinions. There were times she would only eat red food, or she’d eat mac n cheese everyday for two weeks and then never again. We called her a “pig-a-tarian” when her diet consisted of salami, sausage, and bacon, but shortly after, she turned into a sugar & carb loving full vegetarian. This fickle eating drove me crazy because I never knew if she would eat what I served her. It did help when I noticed she had a three-day cycle. She would barely eat anything for two days but then pig out roughly every third day.

Because she seemed impossible to please, it was easier to let go of trying and just cook the things I wanted to cook for the rest of the family. 

The life coaching answer:

So, how do you know when to throw in the towel on a rule you have set which doesn’t seem to be working? How about 2 weeks. Or, just, whenever you feel the urge to stab yourself in the eye with a kiddie fork.

Supermom sanity has to be priority number one. Your child is not going to starve himself to death. Nutrition is important, but your mental and emotional health come first. It’s easier for a kid to eat when they are relaxed, not having a stressed-out-crazy-lady monitor ones protein intake.

In order to prioritize your sanity, you need to pay attention to how you are feeling. How do you act when you feel stressed? What are you trying to control that you have no control over? What are you ready to let go of? We get so focused on our kids, we forget to pay attention to how we feel. Priortize this and everything else will become easier.

A word of warning, make sure eating doesn’t become a power struggle. If you cling really tightly to how your kids should eat, it will probably become an area where they push back on and rebel against you. If this is your situation, email me and I’ll address it on another episode.

 

 Supermom Kryptonite: Cognitive Dissonance

You can see how these two thoughts “be consistent” but “don’t do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result” are competing with each other. This cognitive dissonance feels uncomfortable and makes us feel stuck and confused, not knowing which action to take. If you have an area of your life where you feel uncomfortable, stuck, and confused, look for some contradictory thoughts and see where you can make a decision. Making a decision on either side will feel so much better. I did it while writing this blog. I was feeling really tired and wandering around my laptop, looking at facebook, and avoiding beforeI stopped myself and said “just choose one”. I chose the question I would answer and what to write about, and then took a nap. Then I wrote the rest.

Indecision drains us. “Should I go to the gym or walk the dog?” It doesn’t matter, just choose one. “Should I sign myself up for a life coaching program or sign my daughter up for music lessons?” Give yourself the freedom that comes from committing to a decision today, knowing you can always change your mind.

 

Supermom Power Boost: Taking care of #1

Most of my clients have a hard time putting their needs before their kids. Do you know anyone whose mom doesn’t take good care of her mental, emotional, financial or physical health? It is such a drain on the child. The most important gift we can give our kids is our own health and happiness. Today’s Supermom Powerboost is to cook what you enjoy cooking. Go to the movies by yourself. Send yourself flowers. Do something to honor and appreciate yourself. This is not the job of your kids or husband but you can teach them how to treat you.

Once a month, I would get the Oprah magazine in the mail. In the next few days, I would find an opportunity to go “out to dinner with Oprah”. It was so lovely not having to cook or do dishes. I got to choose exactly what I wanted to eat and read what I wanted to read. We can get so hooked into focusing on the kids, that we forget to focus on ourselves. I highly recommend building a routine around self care so you don’t have to hit the boiling point every time you need a break. Create consistency around “mom time” and the kids will get used to it and won’t cling and cry like they can do if they aren’t accustomed to it.

How can I help my daughter make friends?


Today’s question: “My daughter is 9 years old and doesn’t seem to have any friends. There are girls in the neighborhood we carpool with, and kids she goes to school, gymnastics, and temple with, but she doesn’t seek these kids out on the weekends or after school. At recess or on weekends, she prefers playing by herself. Her brother, on the other hand, is always with friends: riding bikes, skateboarding, and generally having an active social life. I’m worried that my daughter isn’t going to have close friendships. She’s very opinionated, strong willed, and doesn’t like to compromise, so I understand why other kids may not choose to play with her. She doesn’t seem as bothered by this as I am. She likes to read and be by herself, while I’m the one scheduling play dates. How can I make my daughter make friends?”  Lea

Parent Educator Answer: It sounds like you are doing everything you can to support your daughter’s friendships. It’s wonderful that you have arranged so many opportunities for her to socialize and become familiar with other kids.

Between the ages of 3-9, most girls develop friendships based on proximity and convenience. They don’t discriminate easily and are usually happy to play with whoever is happy to play with them. Birthday parties can be huge during these years because it’s hard for kids to choose which friends they like best.

Between the years of 10-12 (once puberty begins) girls tend to want a smaller, more intimate group of friendships they can build closer bonds with. Developmentally, they are practicing intimate relationships by creating a more manageable group of girls they feel comfortable with. It’s common in these years to have hurt feelings as girls get edged out and left out while best friends are created. It is normal, however, for some girls not to be interested in forming these intimate relationships. In every class, there’s always at least one girl who is happy to play with whoever shows up. She doesn’t mind hanging with a different kid everyday, or even none at all. These kids are valuable assets for to those who have recently been rejected by their friend group. 

From what I hear in Lea’s question, there are at least 5 perfectly healthy reasons why this kid might not like playing with other kids:

  1. She hasn’t entered the stage yet of wanting an intimate friendship or friend group.
  2. She may be the type of kid who is comfortable with acquaintences rather than close friends.
  3. She is exhausted from being around kids all day long and needs time alone to recuperate.
  4. It’s more important for her to be able to hear and execute her own ideas while playing, than to expend energy compromising and explaining her thoughts to others.
  5. She hasn’t found a friend yet that allows her to be fully herself.

Kids who have strong ideas and opinions often enjoy the company of younger children. Younger kids are so excited to have the attention of a big kid, that they are willing to compromise more than children of the same age are. Little kids love the creative ideas for play that big kids come up with, and don’t mind being told what to do. Older kids can make great babysitters or mother’s helpers because they get to play the role of leader, boss, or director that they were born to play.

 

Life Coaching Answer: When our kids don’t have meaningful friendships, this can be a big trigger for moms who place a high value on friendship. It is really easy to “futurize” and “catastrophize”, imagining that they’ll never have friends and be sad and socially rejected all through adolescence. Moms can worry that their kids will ALWAYS struggle to make friends and believe this is a huge problem that needs immediate attention and intervention. 

First, we have to look at the problem that is CURRENTLY presenting itself. We cannot fix a problem in the future that hasn’t happened yet (and may never happen) and trying to do so will make us crazy.

The circumstance here, is that Lea’s daughter is 9. She hasn’t entered puberty yet. She likes reading books (a solitary activity), she doesn’t seek out playdates, she is surrounded by family members and family acquaintances almost every moment of every day, and she prefers to play by herself at recess, after school, and on weekends.

We want to take a look at what mom actually has control over. Can she make her daughter make friends? No. She can arrange playdates, carpools & neighborhood gatherings so her daughter has exposure to other kids and becomes familiar with the people in her life. She can sign her up for summer camps and gymnastics classes, but how her daughter interacts with the kids while there is not within mom’s control.

One thing we mammas do have control over is how we interpret our kid’s social relationships. Without meaning to, Lea may be communicating the idea that “there is something wrong with her daughter” because she doesn’t have the quality and quantity of friendships that her brother has. Can you imagine that there is an introverted mom out there in the world who loves to read, be by herself, and sees nothing wrong with her 9 year old avoiding social interaction? We have no idea how this girls social relationships will change with puberty, middle school or high school. This is a time of rapid development! After a day of obeying teachers and following their curriculum, she may have a higher need of listening to her own voice, directing others, or dwelling in her imagination.

It has never been easier to find one’s tribe than it is today. If you don’t fit in with the tribe of people around you, meetup, tinder, or youtube will help you find your village and connect you with people who appreciate your authentic self. Rather than thinking, “this is a problem that needs fixing”, try thinking thoughts that make you feel at ease.

“She is surrounded by people who love her.”

“She will find her people someday.”

“She is so true to herself that when she finds someone who likes her, they will really genuinely like her.”

“If she’s ok playing by herself, I can be ok with it, too.”

“I’ve done everything I can think of, the rest is up to her.”

“If she wants better friendships, she’ll be motivated to compromise.”

When you feel at ease around your daughter’s social dynamics, you communicate the message that there is nothing wrong with her the way she is. This gives her acceptance and belonging; the whole point of friendships in the first place!

 

Supermom kryptonite: worrying

I used to think that “good moms” worried about their kids. It seemed the opposite of neglect. When my worrying turned into anxiety, I had to make a change. What I’ve learned is that worrying is terrible for kids and robs us of our ability to enjoy our lives. Worrying is imagining bad things happening. Focusing on everything that can go wrong drains our energy and keeps us from appreciating when everything is going right. Once I stopped worrying, I was floored at how much more productive I was throughout my day, how much more energy I had, and how relaxed I was able to feel.

 

Supermom power boost: yoga

All exercise is good for us but yoga seems to be especially beneficial for overworked mammas. My theory is that yoga turns our attention inwards. With kids around, your attention is constantly being pulled outside of yourself. Even when we aren’t with them, we think about them, talk to our friends and partners about them, and get annoyed with them for leaving their mess all over the floor. Yoga brings your attention into your body, focusing on the subtleties of movement, muscles, positioning, and breath. This forced self attention and flowing movement re-energies us in ways beyond a typical workout. In my opinion, yoga is a quick and reliable energy boost.

 

Quote of the Day – “Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. 
Keep in the sunlight.” ― Benjamin Franklin

 

 

When a Chore Chart Doesn’t Work

Episode 6 – How to make a chore chart work

Today’s question:

I’ve tried chore charts in the past, but I have a hard time keeping up with them.

I let things slide, but then it bothers me that my kids don’t help out more around the house.

My older kid is more cooperative than the younger, so I end up asking him to do more work. He complains about the inequity and he’s totally right.

I get so tired of the negotiating and complaining when I ask my daughter to do a simple little task. My current system is unfair and unhelpful. How can I make a chore chart that sticks?   Melinda

The Parent Education Answer: 

When chore charts have the most success, it’s because it fits with the personality of the parent or of the kid(s).

Some people love the sense of satisfaction they get from checking a box, the pride from displaying their accomplishments, and the predictability of what is expected of them.

If this sounds like you or your kiddo and external validation is something you value, by all means, create a system and commit to it.

Even if it wanes after a month or two, that’s okay. Just create a new one and enjoy the novelty.

Allow the kids to have input on any adjustments to it.

Most parenting experts suggest not tying chores to allowance but instead reinforcing the child’s role in being a responsible member of the household.

If your kids are reluctant, you may need to provide an incentive like no screen time until chores are complete, or a reward once completed.

Sometimes a chore chart can make a kid want to rebel against it.

“Brag boards” are an alternative where your child gets to post and boast about the chores they have completed.

If you like the chore chart but your kid doesn’t, keep it for yourself as a way to stay organized, but find other motivation for your kid that works for them.

The life coaching answer:

What you’ve got here is a classic example of cognitive dissonance.

This means you have two competing beliefs going on at the same time.

Part of you places a strong value with kids helping out with household chores. The other part of you doesn’t want to negotiate and argue every time you want your daughter to empty the dishwasher.

When we are in cognitive dissonance, any system we implement is doomed to fail.

Your kids will sense your lack of conviction, “forget” to do their chore or talk their way out it. The only way to get a chore chart to work is to decide and commit to it.

Before you declare anything out loud, you’ve got to be clear inside yourself.

Right now, when you think about asking your kids to do chores, how do you feel?

My guess is tired, annoyed, burdened, or some other negative emotion. These emotions cause moms to act inconsistently and sabotage their own chore charts.

The first step is to accept things you have no control over. It sounds like your daughter likes to argue and negotiate. This is just part of her personality, so we need to let that go. Kids don’t generally like doing chores, so let’s not pin our hopes on some magic chore chart that will make them eager workers.

The next step is to decide which of your competing values gets top priority.

What is more important to you?

1. To never argue and negotiate with your daughter

2. To distribute the chores to both kids equitably

3. To have your children contribute to household chores

Which one will you be more proud of in the long run?

If you choose #3, you need to commit to this.

Be proud of your choice. Decide that this is more important and that no matter how much push back you get, it’s for a good cause.

If you incorporate a chore chart, do it with joy and determination.

How you feel about your chore chart is more important than anything else.

Decide you are going to love it.

Decide that it doesn’t have to last forever.

Prepare yourself for arguing, but plan ahead of time to just smile and point at the chart.

You will be amazed at how much more energy you have when you aren’t arguing with yourself inside your head.

Supermom Kryptonite: Open Loops

One of the reasons motherhood drains so many of us, is we are never done.

The tasks are circular, and it’s hard to get a sense of accomplishment.

This makes it even more important that we close as many loops as we can.

Having open loops, or things in our head that we need to make decisions on, follow up on, and complete, is exhausting.

To free up your energy, ask yourself every day: “What is weighing on my mind?” or “What am I trying not to think about?”.

Whatever your answer is to these questions, find a way to close the loop on the issue.

If it’s kids and chores, make a decision and stick with it.

If it’s a conversation you’ve been avoiding, have it and resolve it.

The more decisions you make ahead of time, the more energy, creativity and mental clarity you will have.

Supermom Power Boost: Softening

This is counter-intuitive because we think tension gives us power, and it does in a way.

Think of a runner in the starting blocks of a race.

Their body is tense, and ready to explode into action. After the race they relax and their body softens.

The problem with Supermoms, is the race never ends.

This is not a healthy way to live; we need rest and relaxation time.

Since many Supermoms struggle with this, I’ve found a short cut called “softening”.

Think about something that causes you tension, find the tension in your body, and physically soften it.

Eventually we’ll need to get the brain on board, but this is a quick first step.

This will give you energy because it’s more aligned with how our bodies are designed: to spend lots of time in rest and relaxation.

Quote of the Day

“Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.” Chinese Proverb

Would you like help with prioritizing your values and creating more rest and relaxation? Sign up for a free discovery call at www.lifecoachingforparents.com/work-with-me

 

 

How can I motivate my son to do his homework after school?

Episode #3

How can I motivate my son to do his homework after school?

Today’s question comes from Lyla:

“My son is in 6th grade and isn’t motivated to do his homework. He does the bare minimum to get by. Everyday after school, I suggest, plead, scream, command (depends on my mood) that he GET his homework DONE so he doesn’t have to think about it anymore! All he wants to do after school is get on his skateboard. You’d think that would motivate him to get his homework done! When I make him to sit at the kitchen table with his books after school, he dawdles, complains, and argues with me. If I don’t say anything, and just let him ride his skateboard, he’ll pull his books out at 10:00pm and fall asleep shortly after. How can I motivate my son to do his homework after school?”

This is such a great question because it’s the classic example of Mom having a perfectly logical and reasonable solution to a problem. Getting the homework done after school is a great idea. The problem is, it’s not working. 

Lyla asks the question, “How do I motivate my kid?” but what she is really asking is “How do I motivate my kid to do what I want them to do?”

Parent Educator Answer – Motivating kids is about finding THEIR currency. Most kids want to get good grades, they just may not want to do the work required. Motivating kids is about finding out what works for them and this takes trial and error.

You can try no video games during the week, pulling out a favorite snack during homework time, sitting down at the kitchen table with them to do your own work. When the possibility of video games is available, it keeps the brain flooded with dopamine and can make it harder for kids to do the boring tasks of reading and homework. Eliminating the option can help. If the lure of free skateboarding time isn’t working, then it’s time to try something else.

The most important thing is to avoid a power struggle and get on the same team as your child. When our kids hit adolescence, it’s helpful to switch from being the authority with all the answers, to the coach and cheerleader, asking “How can I support the player?” They are so wired to rebel against parental authority, they might refuse your idea just because it’s your idea. 

Answer compliments of spiritual teacher, Byron Katie –

There are only 3 kinds of business: my business, your business, God’s business (Universe)

My business – Creating a conducive environment for homework (distraction free zone, quiet music, relaxing). I can create natural consequences for poor academic performance like hiring a tutor, meeting with the teacher, or reducing cell phone access. I can reward the EFFORT, not perfectionism.

When kids lose motivation to do well, it’s often because their parents have such high expectation and they feel such pressure, that they purposefully rebel against them.

Your business – What, how, and when you kids do your homework. I can sit at the table and put books in front of you, but I cannot make you read.

God’s business – If school is interesting or boring, hard or easy, it’s God’s business.

Do they like to work hard? Are they detail oriented?  Fast or slow? Are they competitive or collaborative? We can help our kids to appreciate who they are and how they best learn. Do they learn best in groups or alone? Or when they are outside and moving? Be careful not to argue with reality, wishing your kid was wired differently. Once you’ve figured out what is God’s business, you can let it go. There is nothing good to gain from arguing with it. 

 

Staying in “my business”

Movement helps kids process their learning. What if skateboarding is helping him integrate the information he’s already taken in? As our kids grow, we want them to have a good understanding of who they are and how they best learn. As moms, our job is to recognize that there is no right or wrong way. What works for us may not work for our kids, and that’s ok.

What gets in your way when you think about giving up your authority? Do you have a fear of letting go control? It’s really common with Supermoms. But trying to control something you have no control over puts us into struggle. 

At sixth grade, Lyla’s identity is still very enmeshed with her son’s grades and behavior. Her ego is probably tied up with her son’s performance and it’s a great age to separate. How can you still be a good mom while your kid has a D in math? Just because your child has a bad report card, doesn’t mean you get a bad report card as a mom.

You can separate out your ability to feel like a good mom, from your child’s grades, by staying in your own business and the things you have control over. This will allow you look deeper at the issue to understand why he is struggling, without making either of you feel like you are doing something wrong.

The most common thought moms have when their kid has bad grades or isn’t doing his homework, is “I’m not doing a good enough job as a mom.” We think we need to do MORE! This, naturally, gets us all anxious, trying to control the situation.

Circumstance – My kid isn’t doing homework

Thought – I’m not doing enough as a mom / I should be doing more

Feeling – anxious, embarrassed, insecure

Actions – do more, yell, plead, encourage, restrict, get more involved, overreact  

Result – We don’t sound like a coach or cheerleader. We seem needy and attached. Our child HAS to great their grades up in order for us to feel calm.

Instead of the thought, “I’m not doing enough as a mom”, what if we changed the thought to something like ….“He’s showing me what works for him and what doesn’t” ?

Feeling – calm

Action – observe, pay attention to, learn more about who he is, what works, and what doesn’t.

Result – You both are learning more about how to help the “player” win at the game of school. 

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Unproductive worry. Productive means there is an immediate action step to take. Ask yourself, “Is this productive worry or unproductive worry?” If I’m worrying about his bad grade, I could email the teacher, ask a friend for a tutor recommendation. If there is no immediate action step to take, let it go. 

 

Superpower Boost: Only try to control things you have control over. Figure out what here is mine, yours, The Universe’s. Example: 

My business: The food I buy, cook, serve and store in my house.

Their business: What they put into their mouth.

God’s business: They have a sensitive palette, hypo-sensitivity, hyper sensitivity, sugar addiction. 

Make sure you only try to control the things you have control over. You always have control of the thoughts you think, the feelings you feel, and the energy you bring to the relationship. If you want your kids to obey, make sure you stay in calm, confident energy.

 

Quote “Pay close attention to the particular thought you use to deprive yourself of happiness”  Byron Katie