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You Are in Control.

This is not standard parenting advice. But you’re not the standard parent, right? I mean, you’re here, you’re thinking about how you can improve your relationship with your child, how you can better support their sensitivity.

This one is huge:

Shift your thinking.

We all have patterns of thinking that influence the way we feel and act. And the way we feel and act affects our relationships with everyone around us, including ourselves and our kids.

When we take the time to examine our thinking and decide whether or not we want to accept it, our whole world shifts. Parenting becomes less frustrating and more fulfilling. We become more present. We can even learn to stop taking our children’s behavior at face value and get curious about the thinking driving their actions and where they need our help.

Maybe you’re thinking this doesn’t apply to you. Maybe it doesn’t. But do any of these thoughts sound familiar? 

It’s just a phase.

This is just the way they are.

They’re just being a [three year old].

I don’t know what to do about this.

These are deeply ingrained ways of thinking that I hear reinforced even by forward thinking parents all the time. Let’s take a closer look at them.

It’s just a phase/They’re just being a three year old.

This one’s reassuring, right? If it’s just a phase, we just need to accept it and endure and they’ll outgrow it soon enough. We resign ourselves to the terrible twos or preteen angst and feel okay about it because we are sure it will pass.

Think about it, though. Do you want to be a resigned parent? What if you shifted that thought just a little bit, from “It’s just a phase,” to “They’re working on figuring out how to communicate their ideas.” There’s a huge difference here. If they’re working on communicating, yes, it’s a phase, but it’s also something they could do better with our help. We’re more likely to feel encouraged and supportive than resigned, we step up our game and help them find the tools they need to regulate themselves and the words they need to express their ideas. 

That’s just the way they are.

This one’s similar in that it tends to trigger feelings of resignation and reluctant acceptance. Can you get more specific about “how they are?” Do they feel things deeply? Are they easily overwhelmed? Do they need extra time for transitions? Do they need support making friends or encouragement to go out in the world? When you get specific about “the way they are,” it becomes crystal clear what kind of support your child needs from you and how you can help them. 

I don’t know what to do about this.

This is another one that keeps parents feeling stuck, but moving past it doesn’t require you to make a big leap in your thinking or believe out of nowhere that you have all the answers. Try “I have the resources to solve this problem” on for size. See the difference? One leaves you feeling deflated, defeated, hopeless. The other gets you thinking about your resources, how you can solve the problem, and who you can turn to for help.

Our thoughts are the driving force for how we show up for every bit of our lives every day. If you want to show up differently, you’ve got to change your thinking.

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