I can’t tell you how often parents with young kids express to me how frazzled they feel, questioning if they are doing a good enough job and how they will ever make it through those early years. They question if they said the right thing, made the right decision and if allowing that one indulgence or inconsistency will damage their kids forever.
And that’s okay because questioning is good. It forces you to reflect, learn and ultimately grow. Questioning keeps you in check.
But sometimes you go several steps too far and that once healthy dose of questioning goes from being a humbling activity to a completely overwhelming insecurity that fills you with self-doubt.
And that’s when you know you’ve crossed the line from parenting with purpose to parenting from a place of fear and stress. I’ve seen this happen to parents & educators and have experienced it myself.
Parenting from a place of fear and stress
So what does this look like? Well, it usually takes the form of constant comparison & judgment, inconsistency & flip flopping and/or overreacting & underreacting to kids.
This may look like:
Constantly comparing the way you handle parenting situations to the way others do. Feeling badly that other parents seem to have it all together. Are we setting limits the right way? Did we handle that situation at the grocery store the right way?
Changing a parenting style or strategy often because nothing seems to work. We tried toilet training your way for a couple weeks, now we should try this method because your way isn’t working.
Being unable to handle daily situations with your kids and reacting very strongly to situations or not reacting much at all.
If this resonates with you, I want you to know that you can get back to a place of parenting with confidence and purpose.
But you need to really hear what I am about to say because parents do not hear this as often as they should.
In what can feel like the craziness of the day-to-day, the things is…
You know what you are doing in this life and you know what you are doing as a parent.
I want you to really hear this, so let me say it again. You know what you are doing in this life and you know what you are doing as a parent.
Instinctively, you know what is best. The gut reaction, intuition, 6th sense or whatever you want to call it exists in all of us. It has been passed down through evolution. It’s so human, so real and ingrained in us all.
We have the ability to use our intuition daily, to tap into that gut reaction. You may not realize that you already do.
Some signs that your intuition is at work can be when:
You know that something just isn’t right or doesn’t feel right, but can’t necessarily put your finger on it.
You find yourself thinking, “I know that we shouldn’t do this with the kids…” or “I know that we shouldn’t allow the kids to do…”, but you may do it/allow it anyway.
You immediately and inexplicably feel strong positive feelings or strong negative feelings over a certain situation, person or decision.
While so many experience these signs daily, there seems to be a shift away from tapping into this amazingly awesome gift. Some say that a gut reaction is irrational, all too “woo woo” and nonsense (know that research proves otherwise). Some are so stressed from the daily grind that tapping into their intuition doesn’t even feel possible.
Harness your Intuition
If at this point you are thinking you’d like to harness your intuitive ability but aren’t sure where to start...
Let me ask you to take a moment and close your eyes. Take some deep breaths and when you feel calm and relaxed ask yourself a yes or no question. It can be an easy question or something that you have been struggling to answer.
Step 1. Ask a yes or no question that has been on your mind and maybe you've been feeling uncertain about. I find that starting off with a personal question gets a pretty immediate answer. It could be as simple as, "Should I take on that new responsibility at the kids' school?" to something more complex like, "Am I happy with my parenting style?".
Step 2. Observe your thoughts and observe the physical sensations in your body. What do you hear? What physical sensations do you feel? Do you feel butterflies? Do you feel a nervous knot in your gut? Do you feel totally neutral?
Step 3. Tap into that gut reaction and listen. Be open to hearing and feeling the answer to your question even if you don’t want to, even if you don’t believe it and even if you feel scared by the answer. That’s your intuition and it’s speaking to you.
Make space in your daily schedule to allow for moments just like this one, because intuition along with a healthy dose of questioning make for a very powerful parenting recipe.
And remember that YOU ARE raising GOOD PEOPLE. While parenting books, blogs and Family Coaches like myself can offer great advice and tips to help you on the journey, just know that you have so much information inside of you and you can access all of it.