The Emotional Rollercoaster of Parenting

Do you sometimes feel like you are on a rollercoaster ride with your child as the conductor, bringing you high when she is doing well, feeling successful and happy and plummeting low when he is struggling, in pain and distressed?

I used to believe that I could only be ok and have a good day if my child was ok. If he was having trouble at school with a teacher or friends, or out of school for an extended period of time or just not seeming to be doing well, I would flip out, the ever dramatic drama queen.

I might have known that my thinking had something to do with the drama unfolding, but I would never have believed that it’s the only thing that creates my feelings.

I mean come on, “look at what my kid is doing” or “who wouldn’t feel this way if there kid was so destructive” or “it’s not fair the way the teacher picks on him.” How can you tell me the situation isn’t somewhat to blame for how I feel?

Today I see something vastly different.

My child (or the situation my child is in) isn’t the conductor controlling my emotions. No one and nothing has the power to come inside of me and plant an emotion. If he is struggling, that struggle is not what creates my feelings.

Only my thinking about her struggles can create a feeling in me. What I make his struggle mean about him or myself, my expectations that it should be different, my judgments about how she is or isn’t handling the situation or my fears about his intense pain.

Believe it or not, this small change in direction (looking inside-out instead of outside-in) to explain why we feel what we feel has huge ramifications for our emotional well-being, clarity and peace of mind. Imagine being able to parent our children from a calmer place, not fearing the natural ups and downs of life (ours or our children’s).

Ride The Wave

By Aviva Barnett, MSW

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with peace of mind.

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