If you could wave a magic wand, what would your parenting look like? No really, what exactly would be happening in your daily life?
Please don’t let that little voice in your head dismiss this question as pointless or impossible. Clients come to me all the times saying they "just want it to be different" with their teen or 20-something kid but, as we explore farther, it turns out that they haven’t given much time to defining what they want instead.
So, take up my challenge and explore.
Make a list, write it down.
* Which situations with your kid do you want to be handling differently? OK maybe you wish those situations would just GO AWAY but, until they do, my dear, how do you wish you’d be able to navigate through them?
* Which triggers do you want to be less reactive to? You know what robs you of your reason and flings you into fight-flight-freeze. Is it when she uses that snarly tone of voice? Or when he comes home 20 minutes after curfew again and again? What knocks you off your center? Be as specific as possible about where your autopilot takes over.
* Which of your automatic reactions is getting in your way? Mine was yelling and shaming? What about you? Do you go from calm to fuming in 1 second? Are you instantly unable to think clearly? Do you habitually shut down, go client or walk away? Do you cry and plead? Or are you more likely to berate and blame?
* What specifically will you be able to do or say that you currently can’t? Close your eyes for a moment and place your hand on your heart. Breathe gently. Allow space for your true answer to arise. Start at least ten sentences with, “I will be able to ___.”
* What will be possible when you break free from that automatic reaction? For you? For your kid?
Write it, draw it, paint it, sing it.
Hold your vision clearly in front of you.
Make a little ritual and fling its seeds into your future.