I heard about three concepts in a recent yoga class: rising, rooted, and malleability. Here’s a quote from my yoga instructor: “As you move through, move with awareness from your center. That’s where the wisdom comes from. That’s where you get grounded from.”
I’m going to change that a little bit: “As you parent, parent with awareness that’s from your center. That’s where the wisdom comes from. That’s where you get grounded from.”
The reason I mention this, and it struck me is that so many times I’m talking to parents, and the issue of parenting confidence comes up. We all know that parenting is not an easy task. We’re dealing with 8-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 10-year-olds, 16-year-olds, whatever age they are, it challenges us and it sets us off balance. This yoga class was about rising from within. Not rising from the bottom, where you think is where you would get grounded from, but my instructor kept talking about looking within, to your center, because that’s where the wisdom is.
Trust Your Instinct
You know a lot more than you think! And every time you doubt and question your decision-making process, you waver, all that wavering gives opportunities for holes, and those holes are where our kids go through to get to us, to find ways around our boundary setting, and all of that. You need to be a flagpole, not the flag. The flagpole stands strong in it's stance, knowing its job.
So it’s really important that we look within and we rise from that center point. We rise from thw place that is our core. A place that we trust. And the way we do that is listening to our own intuition, connecting with a parent coach or a support group, or whatever it is that helps you grow. A lot of times we listen to Facebook, other social media, in-laws, parents, whoever is giving us information that just doesn’t sit with us. That doesn’t allow us to grow. So it’s really important, again, that we look within.
Rooted means staying firm in that groundedness. So, as we make decisions, it is really important that we’re steadfast in those decisions. And trust your parenting confidence. Trust who you are. Trust the decisions you make. Trust your values. I don’t know if I’ve given this example before but we went to a party once, and there were some older children there who were about 8 years old. My older child is 6 ½. My older daughter came to me and said, “Mom, can we do a YouTube video?” That’s not something I’m comfortable with. I said, “You’re welcome to watch them do the video, you’re welcome to hold the camera, but I don’t want you being videotaped." And later we talked about why.
When I made that decision, I parented with confidence. I felt good about what I said, and I didn’t let any other doubt or fears infiltrate. If you take that same situation and look at it from a position of fear, this is what it looks like:
We’re at a party and my daughter comes up to me and says, “Mom, could I do a YouTube video with my friends?”
I say, “Hmmm, I don’t know.” And the thoughts coming into my head are, “What are the other parents going to say? They’re going to look at me like I’m crazy or I’m strict. What are the kids going to say? What if my daughter has a temper tantrum?”
Those are all thoughts that are legit, and they come from fear. So instead of allowing that, I was very clear on what my boundaries were. I was rooted. I knew where I stood. And that wisdom came from within. I trusted myself. It’s something I had thought about before, so I was somewhat prepared, and I knew, this is how I’m going to parent with this topic.
Sometimes parents are caught off-guard. I was talking to a mom who said she had been out to dinner when she received a text from her son. His friend had just gotten his driver's license.
Her son said, “Hey mom, can I go for a ride in Jessie’s car?” And the mom was caught off-guard. She didn’t know what to say, so she was like, “Uhh, uhhh, yeah.”
And guess what? The rest of her dinner was spent with her feeling stressed. She didn’t enjoy it. Why? Because she was afraid. And she was annoyed! “I just said yes and I didn’t want to say yes, but I was caught off-guard, and I just wanted to get back to my dinner.”
She wasn’t rooted. She didn’t have that parenting confidence. In that moment, you could say, “Hey son, I’m really sorry, I’m out to dinner. We’re going to have to table this. For tonight, the answer is no. But when I get home, or tomorrow, let’s talk about it. I think it would be a really great thing for us to discuss, but for now, the answer is no.” We need to feel confident about the decisions we make.
Malleability is something I talk about a lot. I talk about drawing a line in the sand, which is malleable—it’s moveable. And drawing a line in stone. There are very few things that are hard fast rules. Health and safety: No, you can’t ride your bike without your helmet on. That’s a safety issue. You can’t walk to the corner store by yourself when you’re only five. That’s a safety rule. There are other things like, “I don’t want to eat my peas.” OK, absolutely. There’s something we could work with here.
“I don’t want to do my reading homework first. I’d rather do my math homework first.” That malleability comes in being able to know that yes, we’ve set some boundaries, but we can have a conversation about this.
We can see what’s going to work for both of us. That might be a great opportunity to say, “Hey, kiddo, I know you want to play outside before you do your homework.”
For me, homework is really important, so how can we both get our needs met? I want you to get your homework done and you want to play outside. We look at how we can make this happen.
Just being able to let go of our rigidity, and control makes a difference. I know I tend to be a very controlling person. I like things a certain way. I’m very structured, I’m very organized, I like to be on time, everything has a place, and in my opinion, it all works really well, when things go the way I plan. But that doesn’t always work for everyone. Being able to have that flexibility, that malleability, is huge.
It takes practice, too: practice allowing that flexibility. Because we are two individuals, right? Whoever we’re dealing with: Me and my child. Me and my husband. We have different needs, those needs change, different emotional internal landscapes that we’re experiencing. It’s really important to make sure we are grounded, as important as it is to make sure we’re growing. We also not to be aware that we can be flexible, when the time calls for it.
I want you to take this with you as you parent. Rising. Rooted. Malleability: “As you parent, parent with awareness from your center. That’s where the wisdom comes from. That’s where you get grounded from.”