The last hour of the Stress Workshop I attended was supposed to be a Q and A about how to best address stress with you children once it rears its ugly head. I was looking forward to learning some tips and maybe even some proactive strategies. It didn’t happen.
Instead, these were some of the questions that parents asked:
- How can I get my kid to hand in her homework?
- Why won’t my kid do his homework?
- How can I get my kids to listen to me?
- Why won’t my kid do his chores?
You see the pattern? These weren’t actual open ended questions about how to HELP their kids; these were actually complaints disguised as questions.
Credit goes to Dr. Bevilacqua- he really tried to get the parents to see that this is not about how to “fix” their kids; it’s really about the approach WE take as parents. We can either keep doing what’s obviously not working and try to impose our will even harder onto our children (which will only result in MORE stress!), or we can change our approach.
But that seemed to fall upon deaf ears.
At one point, I chimed in when a father asked why his son refuses to hand in homework when he sees his kid doing it.
“Because it’s his only way to assert any power in his life,” I said. “I know, because I WAS that kid. I’m not saying this is you, but my father was so domineering that my passive aggressive behavior of NOT getting the grades he wanted me to get was the ONLY way I could have any control over my life. I hurt myself to hurt him.”
I think I even heard some applause at what I said.
Then there was the mom who was complaining about the A minus her daughter brought home because it was almost a B.
Erm… did you read the poster about the topic of the evening???
And, of course, there were the ones who said that the choices their kids are making today will affect their chances to get into a good college… which, in turn, will affect the rest. of. their. life.
I was getting stressed just listening to these parents! I can’t imagine how their sons and daughters must feel. Probably a lot like I did when I was their age. And I had a literal nervous breakdown at 17 and almost committed suicide.
Once the evening came to an end, I was left with more questions — and passion — then at the start of the event. Which is good! But what about the kids of those parents who came???
So I pose to you the questions I wanted to ask to those adults last Wednesday:
- Why do you need your kids to go to college?
- Why do you need to control your kids?
- Why can’t you allow your kids to learn through failure?
- Why is every moment a “make it or break it” scenario?
- Why is everything a “them vs me” struggle?
- Why are you more focused on them instead of yourself?
- Why are you so resistant to change… especially if what you’re doing (yelling, lecturing, threatening, etc.) currently isn’t working?
Make it your #153Promise to think about what’s working and not working in your house and start thinking about owning YOUR piece to the equation. Do you want to change the round peg, or reshape the square hole?