I believe that very often parents give away their own power. They blame their kids or their situation on what they think and how they feel. For example, some say, “my kids are driving me crazy,” or they’ll yell at their kids: “You make me so mad at you,” or they'll talk about the high cost of childcare and how difficult it is on them. Single parents, such as myself along with being a widow, it’s so easy to say, “this is so hard to do alone.”
I'd like to offer you the idea that these are all simply thoughts, and these thoughts are optional. It's not always helpful to have these thoughts and we really get to pick and choose how we think and how we feel. We can ask if saying to ourselves, or to others, “my kids are driving me crazy,” or, “the kids are making me so mad,” how is that going to make us feel about our kids? What feeling does that bring up just reading this now? How would that make you act towards your kids? What will be the result that could happen to the relationship with your kids?
My assumption is that if you're saying, “my kids are making me so mad,” that is going to create the vibration of anger inside your body. Then you might yell, you might send them to their rooms, hand out consequences, you might go in your room and ignore the kids for a few hours, or turn on the TV or IPads. These results are going to create patterns for your kids to be mad at you and you being mad at your kids. They create distance between you and your kids.
That doesn’t mean to say that being angry at your kids is wrong or bad, it’s about understanding that we have control in the situation. I'm just here to challenge you to think about what you actually want to think about your kids, about your situation, and if it’s serving you, and to think about what you want your results to be.
Taking responsibility for your own feelings is so important because there's a huge difference between saying, “my kids are making me so mad,” and “I simply feel that way right now.” For example, if my kids are running around playing and laughing and knock over a table, I get to choose what knocking over the table means. I can make it mean they are having fun and I can use that as a teaching opportunity to help them pick up the table and its contents, or I can choose it to mean they are irresponsible and disrespectful, which would probably create frustration and anger.
The object isn't necessarily to change your thoughts about every situation, or to never get mad at your kids, or frustrated with conflict, it's more about understanding that you are responsible for your feelings. When you place your feelings on others…your children, paying childcare, the person that cut you off on the freeway…you’re giving away all your power. It feels so much better and is so much healthier to take ownership for how you think and how you feel!