Not Doing is Doing
Posted on October 16, 2013

To paraphrase some recent statements from parents:

“Krissy, I just listened and validated and it was so hard not to tell him what to do when he clearly had a dilemma.”

 
“I usually help her with that part of her homework because I am an editor, it is like my reflex.”

 
“He needs me when he gets in such a low place, it is so hard for me not to join in with him emotionally when he is feeling that bad.”

 
“I’m afraid he might use (substances) again if he gets too overwhelmed, it is hard to say nothing.”

 
For many parents, refraining from habitual patterns – nagging, helping, fixing, telling, doing, reminding, managing, prodding – makes sense intellectually, but feels quite awkward and for some parents almost wrong. Parent’s responses of going into some type of action are hard-wired. Many parents feel even neglectful on some level when they don’t get involved in their child’s problem.

 
Well, I am here to remind parents that when parenting choices are intentional and conscious – you are actively parenting. Not doing is doing: parents are incrementally handing responsibility to their children to solve their own problems – what could be more empowering than that?

 
I recently used the metaphor of negative space in photography – any photographer knows negative space (space around the object) is just as important as the positive space (the object) in framing the photograph. Parents are actively playing a role when they listen, empathize, validate, ask questions, stay present, attune to their child and feel their own emotions. Parents are holding this space around the child and this is a critical, essential role, which is nurturing and allows children to tap into their own resources. It is not neglect.

 
Neglect is parents who sleep until noon. Parents who don’t know where their child is. Parents who don’t know what their child is working on academically, socially, emotionally, and so on. The parents I work with do not fall into this category – they are, if anything, over-involved. So backing into the negative space is supporting and framing the object – which is the child’s development.

 
When parents make choices consciously, then not doing is more powerful, productive, and effective than habitually going into action.

Krissy's lighthearted, humorous, gentle, and especially non-judgmental nature never failed to lift our spirits. I always appreciated her many stories and her use of metaphors to simply illustrate concepts which she felt we needed to deeply understand and begin to implement. I have worked in the medical field for almost 30 years now and have met many people along the way, but Krissy Pozatek stands out as one of the most gifted and talented people I have ever met. I wholeheartedly recommend her to "everyone" because I think that anyone would be lucky to have her as their therapist! We are forever grateful to her for her brilliant insights, her amazing skill at teaching us more appropriate responses, and most importantly, for helping us to heal our family. Susan P. (Parent of adolescent boy)
Having to send a child to Wilderness and then on to Therapeutic Boarding School was one of the lowest points of our lives and yet we realize now that we were truly blessed to have met Krissy. With her vast experience, eclectic knowledge, and abiding wisdom, Krissy has guided us through darkness and deep despair into the light and an ultimately successful outcome for our family. It has been an 18- month journey so far. During this time, she helped us “stay the course” when every fiber of our being wanted to “rescue our child.

 

Susan - California USA
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