|Stop Tiptoeing and Start Parent Coaching!|
|Posted on August 14, 2012|
I recently looked at Susan Stiffelman’s book titled, Parenting without Power-Struggles. A powerful metaphor she uses in the book is of a captain of a ship. When on a cruise, the only reason all the guests can relax by the pool, drink at the bar, attend shows and generally feel at-ease is because there is an abiding trust in the captain to skillfully navigate the waters (minus the recent media story).
The captain is not looking for cues about whether he is liked or not liked. The captain is not changing his mind on where to sail the ship based on the passenger’s whims. And the captain is certainly not tiptoeing around the passenger’s feelings.
This sense of authority and skill in a captain reduces anxiety for passengers and the same concept applies to parenting. Parenting with authority, tends to reduce anxiety in children.
Yet, tiptoeing around our children’s moods, likes, dislikes, whims and emotions has become so pervasive across the parenting spectrum today. Most of us are unaware that when we tiptoe are we increasing their anxiety. Indirectly we are sending the message that there is a lot to worry about; that children are so delicate and fragile that we have to walk on egg shells. My question for parents is: would you like someone to tiptoe around you, or would you prefer others to be direct?
In some ways this may seem simple and obvious, yet many parents may not even be aware of the extent of their tiptoeing, and many of the patterns of tiptoeing stretch back to toddler years. How much are you reading your children’s cues rather than asking questions directly? How much energy are you spending behind the scenes to try to make everything “smoother?” How much on-edge are you as a parent? Does your parenting decisions change based on your child’s emotions? Does your child have an ability to override the captain of the ship? Do you think that makes a child feel safer to have that level of control over a parent?
The case for Parent Coaching:
Try parent coaching to examine patterns, build new skills and foster more security in the parent-child relationship.
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