Why am I depressed? Anxious? Why do I drink? Why am I an addict? Why do I have an eating disorder? Why can’t I get over this thing that happened to me, it shouldn’t be such a big deal!? Basically, why can’t I function the way I want to in life?
These questions come from just about everyone when we first meet, but especially when they haven’t had any “major traumas” in their lives. It is as if they feel they don’t even deserve to be upset. They get even more upset, because they aren’t supposed to be.
People will tell me about how their parents did their best and tried to motivate them and gave them opportunities, so what is their problem?
Let’s look at the sneaky ways survival maps are created through this 15 min video on how to raise successful children.
The things I want you to remember and notice as you watch this are:
- How unhealthy messages (unhealthy survival maps are formed) are sent despite our best intentions as parents
- That children learn about their value based on what we make a priority (whether it is them, our work, our friends etc) and talk about with them (whether it is only about school, their successes, their failures, or their opinions and interests, even when we don’t share them)
- When children learn they are not a priority, whether it is because parents are more focused on their phones, email, work, or because time with them is not made a priority for other reasons, the end result is the same...they get the message “I don’t matter”. The same occurs when we give children conditional attention or praise, only in this scenario they learn “I don’t matter, UNLESS… “(I perform, I do as expected, I am tough, etc)
- Once we believe we don’t matter, we all default to similar patterns of coping, usually destructive ones when we use them long term. For example, we connect our sense of safety and worth to pleasing others or having control all the time, or perhaps to just avoiding. When we don’t matter, we also need to do things to avoid our own feelings, because if we don’t matter, we aren’t supposed to have them and certainly not express them, so we detach, we self sabotage so we can focus on what a turd we are instead of on how upset we are with someone else for not being there for us. Those avoided feelings may go into our bodies and we get stomach symptoms, headaches, pains, migraines. For some people we get stuck in the past or in the future, worrying about “What if world” as a way to distract ourselves from being present in the moment with our own feelings of hurt, anger, or even joy, because we aren’t supposed to have that either if we don’t matter.
- We NEED TO ALLOW KIDS TO FAIL! We have to give kids gradually growing responsibilities so they can practice. We also have to follow through on consequences so they learn about them when they don’t follow through on their responsibilities. Failure, disappointment and mistakes are things we want our children to become comfortable with in their childhood, so they are not devastated when it happens as adults. Click here for our ParentingNewsletter.June2015.final to see examples of appropriate age related responsibilities. You may also want to check out more of our Parenting resources here, or some of our self assessment and other parent related worksheets here (scroll down on the page for the Parenting ones).
Failure, disappointment and mistakes are a part of daily life, not allowing our children to fail is like not teaching a bird how to fly and pushing them out of the nest anyway.
Enjoy the video!
Your mission for today, should you choose to accept it…
Take a moment to reflect on what messages you received as a child and how these impacted you?
IF you really want an extra challenge; share with a friend, or with us online.
Have a great week!