Tell me I am not alone.
When your child struggles, you struggle too?
When they come home with a big emotion because they’ve had a cringey experience. Or when you leave them at school, or see them walk out the door, and you know they don’t feel their best - they aren’t ready for a test, they are having a hard time with a friend, they have to confront a teacher… - you feel the heart wrenching pain with them.
And while you may mentally know that your child needs to live their own experiences, you also know how difficult school can be, and so you dive right into your feelings about it all too.
Am I Right?????
Until I learned about compassion work, I didn’t know how to catch myself in these struggle spots. In fact, I didn’t even know I was struggling with my kid when they were having a tough time.
Let me explain.
When we stress out because our kid is upset about a test, or they are having a hard time in class, or insert whatever they are struggling with at the moment, they feel our frantic energy. It’s a normal response, we all likely have as a parent. We want to jump in to help our child, or we ask questions about what’s happening with the experience. But turns out this stressy energy is the opposite of helpful. And when we do it, our kids either tune us out, lie about what’s really going on, or internalize our stress while experiencing our own.
So, what can we do to stop ourselves from sharing our struggles with them?
First is to normalize that it’s going to happen.
You are an amazing parent for feeling so deeply about your child. Know that. But we can feel our feels and respond to ourselves *before* reacting to our kid’s struggle.
Here we go - try these tips to managing your own reaction before responding to their pain:
#1 Check Yourself. When you notice your thoughts start to spin and your body starts to react to stress (think heart beating fast,) STOP. take a break and remove yourself from the convo. Ask for a minute away, take a bathroom break, whatever you need to get away fast. This is something I dig deep into in my coaching, how to catch yourself in the struggle!
#2 Get Curious. Ask yourself with mindful curiosity, "How are you feeling?" It could sound like: why am I responding in this way to the experience? Did something happen in my past that’s similar, or am I worried about their future? This brings in so much amazing awareness for yourself, take it all in ❤️
#3 Feel compassionate towards yourself! You are a great parent for feeling so deeply for your child. Talk to yourself with kindness and process your feelings for as long as needed. Speak out loud to yourself about what's happening, breathe deeply, hold yourself with care, just give yourself what you need in the moment to move the feelings through. When you are ready, your body and mind will know. That’s when you can show up and respond to your child with validation and logic, and successfully help them through their situation.
The work of compassion is daily, and the most rewarding for you and your family.
As September rolls to an end and we start to experience the school year’s real effects, lean into these steps and dig into this work if it feels right for you 🥰