October is fright month, but it’s not ghosts that spook parents. As responsible guardians, most of our fears concern our children. Anything from autism to allergies, bullies to pedophiles, and concern about good schools and good grades. We worry about them having healthy emotions, or about them growing up to be “good” citizens of the world who are not just outwardly successful, but happy to the core. The list could go on and on. Often times, we are not fully aware of our fears as they lurk in the back of our subconscious minds. Yet, these fears are responsible for many of our conscious thoughts and decisions. For example, a parent’s fear of their child contracting the H1N1 virus could result in a snap decision to end all play-dates or outings to public venues. While the decision could protect a child from contracting the virus, the consequence of social deprivation and external stimuli for the child could have negative impacts far beyond basic boredom. A parent could instead use this opportunity to educate themselves (see www.cdc.gov) as well as their child (hand washing) on the risks of the disease and methods of precaution. Healthy thoughts and healthy actions can lead to win-win situations for the whole family. Of course this is a simple example but the points to remember are that our fears do emerge in our lives, and that children are very observant and are constantly taking cues from parents on managing emotions such as fear. What kind of a teacher are you about the very specific emotion of fear?
Consider completing these questions as an exercise to evaluate and manage your fear.
What about your children’s present or future life scares you?
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most realistic), how realistic is this fear?
What parts of this fear must you put aside because they are unrealistic or there is no way to manage them?
What parts of this fear can you actively manage? How will you do this?
How will these actions impact you and those around you?
What thoughts or behaviors do you need to adjust to create a win-win situation for all involved?
What are your children learning from your thoughts and actions?
What changes would you like to make to be a better teacher to your children?
Hearty congratulations if you completed this exercise! You have shown a willingness to go through the hard work necessary to improve your life and that of your children. Keep your answers in a safe place and revisit them in a week or a month. Assess your stress level regarding the fear and adjust your answers accordingly. If your stress about your first fear is gone, then repeat the exercise for a different fear. If you would like a Certified Life and Parent Coach to assist you through the process or guide you through other personal or family issues, then contact Keyuri through her website www.ontheballparent.com.
Please feel free to leave any suggestions, feedback, or personal breakthroughs in our comments section.