What are you most afraid of as a parent?
You could probably answer that without thinking too hard. In a world full of frightening messages, we might believe there’s a lot to fear:
- Fear that we’ll mess up our children
- Fear that something bad could happen to them
- Fear that our child won’t measure up to their potential
- Fear that we won’t know how to guide them through the teenage years
- Fear that we are inadequate parents
The list could go on and on. It’s valid to identify your fears and own them. But I invite you not to stay in fear-based parenting—for your own sake and your children’s.
Parenting from fear can actually hide your child from you.
Your fears come from either the past or the future. In other words, your fears are either unhealed wounds or worst-case-scenario worries. Your fears are never rooted in the present moment, even when they look like they might be.
In those moments when you parent from fear, you are not seeing your child in the present moment.
Fear robs you of the present moment. It prevents you from loving and honoring your child as they are. Not only that, but fear-based parenting puts all your focus on what you don’t want—which means you’re actually more likely to create it.
Are you parenting from fear? Here’s how to evaluate your parenting fear level:
Pay attention to how often you say or think the following ideas:
- I’m worried/nervous/afraid that she’ll…
- I just don’t want him to…
- I don’t want to do that like my parents did.
- The worst that could happen is…
If your language or your thoughts often focus on what could go wrong, what you want to prevent, or what you don’t want your child to experience, you may be parenting from fear more than you think.
It’s okay! Being aware is the first step to making a positive change.
You can free yourself from fear-based parenting.
Becoming more positive-minded and free of fear is a practice, not a one-and-done experience. Consider which of these steps feel correct for you and revisit them as often as you need:
- Look at the family you grew up in as a child
Which family patterns are you afraid of re-creating in your own family now? What are the dysfunctional parts of your parent-child relationship? Identify them. Write them down. And then release them.
- Teach your children personal responsibility
When you get anxious, trying to prevent certain situations, consider the possibility that you may be afraid that undesired outcomes are all your fault.
When you claim responsibility for all the outcomes of your child’s life, you put that child in a space of powerlessness. Teach your children, let them know your opinions and ideas, and then allow them opportunities to make their own choices. Allow them accountability for those choices, even for those that you don’t agree with.
- Create the experience you want
Stop spending so much time worrying about what you don’t want. Choose the parenting experience you do want to create instead. Write yourself a script for what you want to experience and the kind of parent you want to be. Then act on it as inspired and enjoy what shows up.
Let me be clear: Choosing the experience that you want to create does not mean controlling your child’s behavior to be the way you want. You get to choose your experience, and your perception of your children, not control or dictate your child’s experience.
Your child can help you live free from fear!
Don’t let this post give you one more thing to fear… fear that you’ll be parenting from fear!
The really great news is that your child gives you daily feedback that can help you identify your fears and release them. Children are emotional mirrors who can clearly reveal to us what we believe, think, and fear.
If a worrisome experience shows up in your relationship with your child, you can ask yourself,
“What am I thinking, believing, or choosing that is causing me to feel afraid?”
You have incredible power to alter your thoughts! When you discover a thought or belief that is keeping you stuck as a parent, you have the power to change it.
Start believing in the experience you want as if it already existed. It will exist sooner than you might think.