Monday, March 16, 2015

A Toolbox

Today I had a fantastic discussion with one of my clients about "parenting". I had a rough weekend with some emotional news regarding family issues. It rocked me to my core, and opened the door on some issues from my own childhood. It made me contemplate my own parenting practices as well.
In my conversation this morning we discussed some of the things we've found that have worked and maybe "not worked". We talked about the different types of children we have and the struggles that come with different personalities.

We talked about how important it is to tell our children "I'm sorry" when we make mistakes. There are definitely days that I think I apologize to my kids more that anything else. I told her that I think that especially with older kids respect goes both ways. I have to respect my kids if I expect their respect in return.

I told her how much I absolutely LOVE having teenagers, which I never thought was possible! But it's so true... the older my kids get, the more fun we have. Our relationships change, but get stronger and more "real". I told her that parenting a teenager feels like being a "back-seat-driver". They are at a point where they are making their own decisions, but I am there to support them. I can offer my advise, but ultimately the choices are now theirs! It's a fun new stage of life, and it's so exciting to see the amazing women my girls are growing into!

Consequently, after dinner tonight I had a chat with my Miss BiGaddi. She is quite a little perfectionist, and has started struggling with anxiety lately. It has seemed to escalate in the last bit. She has a bit of a meltdown tonight and I thought it would be good to address. We talked about having a toolbox with us to tweak and fix things as needed. I told her that I want to help her have the tools she might need to handle some of the things that come up. I told her that some "quick-fix" tools might be taking a deep breath, going on a little walk, walking away from a situation... or something that might give her a moment to re-group. She seems to get worked up, and once she is in that place it is hard for her to get out. So we talked about using tools before she gets to that place, and tools to use to get out.
We talked about remembering positive things when our mind wants to just focus on the negative. (We are working on not using absolutes... Always, Never, etc.) We talked about working through the "what if's?" Like what if something doesn't happen just right? What if I can't get whatever I need at the moment? What if... what if... what if? So take a minute to answer the what if and follow it out. Is the world going to end? Are you going to die? If the "What if" happens will you still be just fine? Chances are, there might be a little discomfort if your "what if" happens... but everything will be fine.

We talked about the pro's and con's of Perfectionism, and sometimes the tool becomes just reminding yourself that doing your best is all you can do... and that's okay!

Anyways, Addi needed some one-on-one time tonight so we had a little date night at Barnes and Noble. On our drive there she piped up from the backseat. "Mom, do you know what other tool I have?" I said "What's that?" She answered "Knowing that you want to help me. That's the best tool in my toolbox!" It was all I could do to not wipe the few tears that ran down my face. "That's right sweetie, You have people in  your life who love you and always want to help."
But it made me realize that this is something she will have to work out. Cori went through something very similar a few years back, and she had to figure her way out of it. She manages stress SO much better now, so I know Addi will figure it out. But I love that she knows I am always there. It was one of those parenting moments that made my heart so happy. If nothing else... I pray that my children know I love and support them NO MATTER WHAT!

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