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Parents, Stop Living In The Past: 5 Essential Questions To Ask Yourself

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Parent Coach for Moms of Teens: Fern Weis

When our parents said ‘jump’ we jumped, right? That’s how many of us remember it. Ah, for the good old days; they were simpler times.

But the times we live in are not simple. Today’s world is complex and confusing for us and our kids. We have too much stuff, not enough time and energy, the kids are busier and sassier, and technology is running our lives. We get whiny about it, too. If only…

A Not Fun Or Helpful Place To Be:

As Byron Katie says, “When you argue with reality you lose… only 100% of the time.”

It’s okay to look back; however, making frequent comparisons keeps you stuck in an idealized past and unable to do anything about the present. A not fun or helpful place to be.

“When I was a kid…” Do your kids’ eyes glaze over when they hear that? It’s understandable. They know what they want and they want it now. The way it was 30 or 40 years ago is irrelevant to them. But we remember it fondly and wish it was so, and default to past experience. This is understandable, too.

We live in a rapidly changing world. The problem is that our brains are hardwired to resist change. What we’re doing as parents may not be working, but it’s familiar, so that’s where we go and where we stay.

“We have not parented them the way we were parented.”

Laying Down The Law Isn’t Working:

We lay down the law, we create rules. We punish. And we talk more than we listen. The fact that it (mostly) worked when we were kids doesn’t matter if it’s not working for us now.

Laying down the law isn’t working. Punishments don’t work (at least as far as our kids learning something productive from them). Expecting our kids to ‘jump’ and tow the line ‘because I said so’ is unrealistic. We have not parented them the way we were parented.

Will you remain stuck in your childhood and live with more conflict and frustration now, or adapt to today’s reality? Something has to give.

Because we are programmed to resist change and change takes time, it’s work. It takes intention and commitment. And it’s doable, as long as you are realistic and reasonable about the process.

5 Essential Questions To Ask To Stop Living In The Past:

1. Are You Ready To Adapt To Today’s Reality?

I hope so, because you have an opportunity to stop generations of attitudes and behaviors that stunt children’s emotional growth and satisfaction with life.

2. What Worked Against You?

The ‘good old days’ aren’t as good as you remember. For me, it was not having a voice and bringing this into my adult relationships. How about you?

“Explore what would bring connection and joy.”

3. What Do You Really Want For Your Kids?

You say you want them to be happy, to do satisfying work and have loving relationships. Is what you’re doing now nurturing that outcome? Or, has it become all about achievement?

4. What Do You Want More Of In Your Family?

Rather than focusing on what’s going wrong, explore what would bring connection and joy.

5. What Gets In The Way Of Change For You?

And finally, a little self-examination. Identify one stumbling block that you are willing and able to work on. Remember, keep the big picture in mind and implement in small steps.

“The good old days.” “When I was a kid.” Those days don’t exist anymore. It’s up to us to create good new days.

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About the Author:

Fern Weis

Fern Weis is a Parent Empowerment Coach for Moms of Teens and a Family Recovery Coach. She’s also a wife, former middle school teacher, and the parent of two adult children who taught her more about herself than she ever could have imagined.  

Fern partners with moms of teens and young adults, privately and in groups. She helps them grow their confidence to build strong relationships and emotionally healthier kids who become successful adults. She knows first-hand that when parents do the work, the possibilities for change are limitless; that it’s never too late to start; and you don’t have to do it alone. Learn more about Fern at www.fernweis.com.