I have a confession to make. At the moment, my parenting is making me sick. Actually, I’m sick and tired of worrying and taking on my children’s junk. By junk, I mean the stuff that should be their responsibility to work out and accomplish.
We hear all the reasons why over-functioning for our kids, or helicopter parenting, isn’t doing our kids any good but what about us? How can we as parents learn to avoid this type of parenting? Is your parenting making you sick and tired?
Well, allow me to share a few red flags that we can recognize when our attempts at good parenting go bad.
- I neglect the things I need to do to take care of myself.
- I’m over-functioning doing the things that my kids are suppose to do—cleaning their rooms, picking up their dishes, pressuring them to pursue an activity more than they want to.
- My thoughts are consumed with worry and anxiety about past parenting mistakes.
- I blow the littlest things they do out of proportion.
- I blame myself for things as small as my kids being slobs and not picking up their room or messes around the house, to the bigger issues like my child’s poor decisions.
- I’m not focusing on living my own life.
- I am investing way more in my kids than in my relationship with my spouse.
Maybe you’re at a stage where your parenting is making you sick and overwhelmed with worry. You might be absorbing the pain, anxiety or unhappiness your child is feeling or stressed by your child’s poor decision-making habits. Or perhaps, you simply find it difficult to allow you child to make his or her own choices.
Do you continuously need to be in the driver’s seat of your child’s life? If you have a tween, teen, or young adult, “letting go” is a process we must all go through as parents—releasing our grip on the rope a little at a time. Parenting is to be a progression of teaching, then training, and eventually coaching. It’s not easy to do, especially when our kids don’t want our advice.
Many of us are holding on to what isn’t our life to live. This past week, when I was struggling with a decision my adult child made, someone shared some inspirational words that helped change my perspective on things. The person said, “You Sheryl, are not the author of this child’s life. God is the author and finisher of their life and he is not done with them yet.” This brought peace to my heart and calmed my fears.
When my parenting begins to make me sick and I am prone to over-function and worry about my kids, I ask myself the following questions to guide my next steps.
See if any of these may be helpful to you:
- Does this feel good to me?
- Is this my struggle to carry?
- Is this what I want to be doing right now?
- Is this actually helping my child?
- Is this what my child really needs from me?
- Where am I trying to be the captain of my child’s ship or the author of their life?
- How can I take care of myself right now? What would feel good to me? How can I shift my focus in order to create joy in my life today?
If there is anxiety or pain, allow yourself to feel it, release it, and put the responsibility back where it belongs. You don’t have to take responsibility for your child’s junk that isn’t yours to carry.
Today, focus on your life. Create your own joy. Fill your day with interesting activities. Exercise. Talk to a friend. Do that one thing you have been putting off. Play some music—maybe even dance! Today, live in the present moment and do what you can do to enjoy this moment and this day.
Do you relate to the questions? Is your parenting making you sick? What areas do you want to over-function for your kids? What are some ways that you find helpful to let go of your kids junk and live your own life?