As a mom, parent coach, and therapist of many years, I can tell you with 100% certainty that you are not alone if your kids’ attitudes and behaviors drive you nuts some days. You’re also not alone if you get triggered and are not proud of how you act at times. Yes, these young people can be hard to take sometimes.
Underneath our adolescent’s aggravating behaviors lies a hidden message for all of us parents. Unknowingly, our kids lift the hood and poke at what wasn’t tolerated in us as children. They prod at our needs that didn’t get met. They unconsciously mirror the parts of us we haven’t come to peace with yet.
Don’t like their big reactions?
That makes sense if you grew up where big reactions from the adults were scary. Or if YOUR big feelings weren’t tolerated.
Wish they were more appreciative?
That makes sense if you learned as a kid that your value came from over-giving and people-pleasing.
Get triggered when they yell in anger?
That makes sense because so many of us have some degree of trauma around fear and anger.
Wish they were calmer?
Were you allowed to express the fullness of your emotions as a kid? How is your internal state?
The reality is that our kids, just by being kids, are hyper effective at showing us where we are not gentle with ourselves. We can study parenting skills all day long, but if our brains hijack us with past wounds and trauma responses, it can be next to impossible to show up with the love and compassion we want our kids to experience from us.
Oof. I’m diving deep on this one. This email is a loving invitation to keep on keepin’ on the journey of making peace with your past and your present. Transforming your inner dialogue is the most effective way I know to be able to calm your nervous system enough to show up in the way your kids need you to.
A parent doing their own internal growth is an investment in their kids’ well-being. Otherwise, family patterns are like dominos that keep knocking down the next generation.
Being the domino that changes the pattern and doesn’t knock down the next generation takes a lot of strength and courage. Being that domino also brings profound joy from changing generational patterns and showing up better for your kids than the previous generations were able to. I’m not sure there’s a bigger gift we can give our kids.
Wishing you bon courage on this journey.
Be the change you wish to see in your kids.