(Day 22) Coach Instead of Control (our children)

One of the biggest areas of stress in my life is in my role as a mom.

No longer does life revolve around me or simply my husband and I, but we are subject to the mercy and sacrifice of our children.

Oh I love them more than life itself, but when it comes to attaining a peaceful or calm atmosphere in a house with three toddlers to “dote” on all day long, it can feel near impossible. Unless they are sleeping that is.

When it comes to parenting, there’s a level of stress I think we all feel as mom’s and dad’s. Children can be very stressful as we try to nurture them up in the ways they should go. The way they should go can often become driven by control–to override the encouragement for them to learn it themselves, and instead do it for them or force it upon them. I get it, because I WAS the same way. Until my stress levels couldn’t handle it anymore.

I want to talk super brief today about the issue of striving to control our children instead of coaching them and how this can lead to changes in our stress levels.

Really, it’s a simple idea, but difficult to implement on a consistent basis. However, I really want you to know that this tip I’m sharing on parenting is not “my way or the highway.” It’s simply one of the ways I’ve seen differences in my own stress levels through implementing this technique. It changes my role from striving to control my children’s actions and reactions to one of coaching them towards positive actions and reactions to things. And it’s reduced my stress and tension and issue with control immensely.

It’s a subtle but drastic shift. But it releases feelings of tension when they don’t do things the way I wish, hope, think they should. It also creates a less stress-based reaction from me and instead I seek ways to positively coach them into choosing the right decisions. Perhaps this technique is best for the younger years (age range 0-4 is all I know at this time) however I think adopting this idea would work in every stage of parenting, and might be able to reduce the stress you feel in your own life when it comes to parenting children.

 

Another part to this issue is releasing the need for things to go a certain way and embracing the challenges as learning experiences. When my children aren’t behaving the way I wish, I adopt the mindset to remember I’m not here to control them in the ways they should go but encourage them, coach them, teach them… and let God do the rest. Letting go of the expectation for my children to react perfectly, realizing that parenting coaching is a constant process to train them toward muscles of understanding has brought less tension to my days at home. When we seek to control our children’s reactions or actions to things, a level of stress builds when things don’t go according to OUR plan. Not only do emotions escalate when children don’t do the very things we are trying to get them to do, but their emotions usually climb as well.

Now I’m no parenting expert or counselor, however I have found that when I seek to coach my children instead of control them toward the actions and reactions I desire from them, more often than not they follow suit. But even if they don’t, the stress is less because I’m no longer expecting perfection but imperfect progress as I coach them into making the right choices.

Because our children have little souls as well. They feel and think like we do. Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget this. You too?

As parents we desire them to become independent adults someday who are able to think and feel for themselves–obviously in a positive manner. But if we seek to control every situation to the outcome we desire, we may override their decision-making capabilities and it may foster a way of thinking where our children have difficulties making their own decisions in the future.

When I think of myself as their coach–coaching them to be polite, play nicely, or encouraging them to do something I want them to do–even if they don’t do it… I feel a pressure off of me with this mindset. My emotions tend to stay more level even if their emotions rise.

My responsibility as coach is to nurture them to choose the right choices, not lay it down like a hammer and a nail out of force. Over time it’s shifted the home to become less stressful and has created more positive reactions from my children in their behaviors and attitudes as they seek to please their “coach.” (aka. mom)

Hopefully this made some sense to you. You’re free to adopt it or throw it out. But the point is having the mindset of becoming their “coach” instead of becoming their legal authority of control. It has helped lessen the stress of parenting and made parenting much more fun for everyone involved.

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