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Why do parents flip flop between permissive and strict?

Managing our minds is one of the best things we can do for our relationship with our children. I’ve learned through my work as a business owner that when I cycle between extremes – bouncing from excited to panicked from week to week (or even day to day!) within my business, it’s because I’m having thoughts about my business that I haven’t really uncovered and examined yet. I’m being dominated by limiting beliefs and unconscious thoughts that I may not even agree with!

The same thing is true with parenting. As parents, we strive for being even-keeled and patient. We know how we want to be, but we get stuck in this cycle of swinging from one extreme to another. We go through periods where we are super relaxed with the rules and then decide we’re not being tough enough and swing too far in the other direction, trying to implement a level of structure and strictitude that we can’t actually maintain. Or we take time to play with our kids, getting really into their games and doing exactly what they want and then burn ourselves out, becoming irritable and intolerant of anything that triggers us – potential for messes, excessive volume, too much activity…

My question for you today is where is this happening within your family? And how can you uncover the thought that’s driving these wild fluctuations? Take some time today to do a brain dump and get all of your thoughts out on paper. Give yourself at least ten minutes and write down everything that comes to mind about both extremes.

Some possible culprits might be:

“My kids are out of control.”

“I don’t want to be too strict.”

“I want to just go with the flow.”

“I don’t want to be a drill sergeant.”

“I need to do a better job of guiding my kids.”

“I don’t like who I’ve become.”

“Parenting is hard.”

“I thought parenting would be more fun.”

Once you’ve gotten your thoughts down on paper, read back over it and look for the thoughts that drive your swings and take note. Don’t try to change them, just bring them to the surface. The point of doing this is awareness, and trying to shift your thinking too soon is likely to result in repression rather than true change. Repressing then will only lead to more of the same, and you’ll still find yourself cycling from one extreme to another.

When you’ve taken the time to complete this exercise, I’d love to hear what you’ve uncovered! Leave a comment here, or on this corresponding instagram post

Going Deeper

One of the best parts of being a coach is facilitating this kind of self-inquiry for parents. My work with parents goes beyond trouble-shooting everyday challenges. It’s really about facilitating the innerwork that will allow you to break the reactive patterns you carry that are contributing to the dischord you feel within your family. If you’re ready to explore this, you can schedule a free one hour consultation with me by clicking here. I’d love to connect with you.

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