stress causes reactingOver 3,000 parents read the Huffington Post article I posted on FB entitled: Having it all kinda sucks, by Amy Westervelt.

This powerful article explores the heart of a huge issue…doing it all. She begins with the issue of “Throw it at me world, I am a strong woman and I have it all and I have got this.” The article asks whether that statement is really true. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it, read it here.

I agree with the author; can we have it all? Can we do it all, do it all at the same time, and do it all well? Or is “having it all” an illusion? I believe “having it all” is an illusion that’s eating our lives.

Here’s a quote from the article that sets the stage.

“No woman (or man, for that matter) ever said, hey, you know what would be great?
If I could get up at 5 a.m., make breakfast for everyone, then get dressed (with heels, natch),
drop my kids off at daycare, go to work for 10 hours, pick the kids up, come home, cook dinner, clean up,
put the kids to bed, work in bed ’til midnight so I don’t get behind at work,
then do it all again tomorrow on 5 hours sleep.”

The author articulated the issue beautifully, I have nothing to add on that topic, so I won’t. However, she did say something that got me fired up with regard to parenting.

 “I do think, though, that we should cut it out with the fairy tales already.”

I couldn’t agree more! What fairly tales am I talking about? I’m referring to the fairy tale we tell ourselves each time we loose it with our kids. The fairy tale is different for each one of us, but you know what I’m talking about.

It’s time to stop believing that arguing, yelling, and punishing is okay—it’s not.
We’re better than that. We know more than that. We have evolved beyond that.

Parents everywhere feel like their life is out of control. Between stress at work, stress at home, and feeling like all you do is correct the kids, parents are wiped out, at the end of their rope, and reacting. They thought there would be more joy in this “having and doing it all,” turns out there isn’t. I believe parents feel a great sadness as a result.

So, how did life get this way?

Amy Westervelt’s article fully articulates the female empowerment aspect involved in all of this. What I want to address, of course, is the reacting parents are doing.

There are many “styles” of parenting. Each style stems from one of two types of authority, either reactive or authentic.

Reactive authority uses arguing, lecturing, yelling, and various forms of punishment to deal with behavior, leaving very little room for guiding a child toward the skills that need to be learned.

It’s time for us to accept the fact that reacting doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The way we raise our kids does impact society as a whole. When kids are raised with yelling, arguing, and punishment, the beliefs created from those experiences tell kids, this is the way we treat people, and this how you raise kids. Hence the bullying and pervasive continuation of spanking that goes on every-single-day.
We know better than that.

The authentic authority comes from a calm, firm, empathetic deep place within and uses concepts that guide a child toward discovering self-discipline and responsibility. The authentic authority inspires aha moments which create the wisdom a child will use for the rest of their lives. Punishing doesn’t provide the opportunity for true wisdom to be gained. An authentic authority uses practical and simple, yet very powerful concepts that can be understood by emotional children, and remembered by emotional parents. Here are two tiny examples.

Reactive Authority: “What’s wrong with you? You’re grounded! No video games or TV either! Don’t you ever do that again! Get to your room!”
This parent went from 0-furious in 1.2 seconds, and no learning occurred.

Authentic Authority: “I am so surprised that you would behave that way.”
Child using an attitude: “I was with my friends, what did you want me to do?”
Authentic Authority: “That is the question. I’m going to let you think about that. Come talk to me when you have an answer.”
Here the parent sends the calm, firm silent message, I have faith in your ability to learn from this, this is not over, we have lots to discuss, and a possible learning consequence may occur.

When we attempt to “do it all” we become filled with stress and resentment which produces a toxicity inside of us causing unconscious reactions. And since reacting doesn’t teach a child the skills needed to change behavior, the behavior shows up again and again, we get stressed again, and react again. And this goes on every-single-day.

You know who you are, and how you want to parent, but you’re torn between the calm you want in your parenting and the reacting that’s happening. The two aren’t aligning and you’re conflicted. It’s time to stop trying to “do it all” so we can get off the reaction wheel.

When we change the way we parent we’re not only investing in our kids, in our peace of mind, and in the health of our bodies, we’re reducing a ton of emotional stress, too. It’s time to create the kind of family life we know in our hearts can be lived. To that end…

I am delighted to announce our brand new website and series, The Authentic Parent Series.

The Authentic Parent Series consists of 3 seminars, plus handbooks that help move you from using a reactive authority to using an authentic authority. You’ll learn:

  • Ways to deactivate the reactive authority and replace it with an authentic authority
  • New perspectives that shift the way you see your child’s behavior
  • The motivation behind your reactions and how to change that
  • How kids understand corrections, and how to work with that point of view to change behavior
  • Phrases and sample conversations to get the ball rolling, and so much more.

One mom wrote, “I’ve seen sites like this before… they look like they offer great stuff, but give fluff or BS. I’m amazed at the immediate results with my child and myself. I’m in control… I don’t get emotional or upset. I now use situations as teachable moments, and my child totally responds.” Erin from Oregon

As part of our launch we’re offering this series at a special price. The price won’t last long, so grab it now while you can.

As Amy Westervelt said, “Let’s redefine “having it all,” or better yet let each woman define for herself what the best version of her life might look like.”

We believe you should be the one to define what works, and what doesn’t work, in parenting, too. We know there isn’t just one way to do anything. So we encourage parents to mix and match concepts so they work for your unique situation, child and family.

Take a look around the new Proactive Parenting site. If you find something that doesn’t work or there’s a mistake, don’t be shy, let me know.

Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think about “doing it all.”
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Thanks, Now Go Hug Your kids!