HI! I'm a recovering perfectionist and a mother of 2. *waves furiously*
Perfectionism was bound to show up in there somewhere. But I'd hoped and prayed that my kids never would have to deal with that stuff.
I knew the anxiety, the feeling of needing to people-please, and the constant sense of 'not good enough.'
While I was overcoming those myself, it never occurred to me they'd be picking up on the same stuff. Of course they would. They're watching my every move.
Which cued the perfectionist inside me to feel like a bad parent because I allowed this to happen.
See how this can so easily spiral?
If you've got kids that deal with perfectionism, anxiety, feeling inadequate, refuses to ask for help, has social anxiety (or just shy), low confidence, is hard on themselves, or just doesn't wanna try new things...
This is for you.
Because I know with all that comes YOUR feelings of frustration (that it's happening), helplessness (you don't know what to do), embarrassed (hello public meltdown), and very very alone.
Which makes you start to question yourself as a parent. Where did you I go wrong? How come no one else's kid does this?
Why should you care?
I had all those things going on too and I felt like I had to just hope for the best. Maybe the schools will help, or sports, or other activities, or just forcing him to do stuff he doesn't want...
It'll solve itself (crossed fingers).
I learned very quickly this was a huge lie. It wasn't getting better. In fact it was getting worse.
And just like you, I was on the hunt for tools and solutions to help my kid feel better and be able to simply cope with life. So he could be a kid! Kids shouldn't have to be so worried about everything.
I know you need solutions and haven't found many.
I know you want someone to help you find your way.
I know you need other people that just 'get it'.
This is important shit and no one out there doing anything about it. So I decided to.
Here's what you can do today to start reversing all the negativity and stress in your home.
Listen to your kid. (omg so easy, right?)
Do it without JUDGING, FIXING, or GIVING ADVICE.
You mean you want me to just sit there? Do nothing? Let him have his freak out and I allow it?
Why? What does this do?
A few things actually:
- We all just want to be heard. Yes?
- Allowing them to have emotions actually helps them regulate on their own. By giving them permission to have them in the first place, you're not only free to STOP saying "its ok, calm down, it's not a big deal, shhhhhh shhhhhh (omg plllleeeeeez stop!)"
- If they're not great listeners when it comes to you, there's a good chance it's because you've been the example. (I know, harsh, but I'm guilty as well)
Most of us well-intentioned parents (remember you're already a hero if you have kids PERIOD) think we listen but we're actually teaching our children to get over it. Their feelings are invalidated because we want them to move on and stop whining.
AND I SOOOOOO GET THIS. Whining is the 7th circle of hell in my house.
You know its a tiny thing in the grand scheme (the shoes won't tie just right, the drink is the wrong drink, they lost a toy, and so on)....
But in their limited world, it's HUGE.
Listening to your kid comes down to this:
They need to FEEL FEELINGS (I'll explain below with a train)
They need to FEEL HEARD (like they're not alone)
They need to FEEL VALIDATED (no feeling is off-limits, no matter how irrational)
By the way kids are irrational by nature. It's not their fault.
EMOTIONS ARE LIKE A TRAIN TUNNEL.
Imagine your child (or anyone for that matter, including you) is a train. You're going through life and a negative situation comes up.
Negative situations trigger emotions.
Emotions are like train tunnels. Meaning, if I'm a train, there's only one way through this tunnel. I have to go allllll the way to the other side in order to get out of it.
The only way to get through an emotion, is to feel it all the way to the end.
When we cut off our kids from feeling it fully - whatever it is - we keep them from learning how to get out of the tunnel. We teach them crazy tactics like breaking out of the side of the tunnel, not going into the tunnel in the first place, going backwards, or even jumping out of the train and climbing the walls.
You can see the insanity of this logic. But it's what we do when we shut them down, tell them their feelings are TOO BIG, inappropriate, not needed, and just calm down and get over it.
(Sidebar, if anyone ever tells me to calm down, I just get more angry. Don't you?)
So LISTENING in essence means allowing your child to get through the tunnel, no matter how long it takes.
And you'll be surprised to find out it won't be as long as you think.
When you do this, their "tunnel time" gets shorter. The recovery gets faster. It's less severe overall because they're learning how to regulate on their own instead of you doing it for them.
This is just ONE of hundreds of tips and hacks I share with my clients. All of them are as simple as this and can be done at home. You just have to know the right strategies, and everything reverses in no time.
The best part is, kids are quick learners. You'll see a difference in just a few days.
Email me if you'd like to work with me. Your child doesn't have to suffer anymore from low self worth, perfectionism and anxiety. And YOU don't have to feel helpless and stuck with how to help them work through it.
Come join the free Facebook Group and continue the conversation. We'd love to have you.