Parenting at times can leave me feeling inadequate, powerless and afraid. My response to these fearful feelings? Control of course! Control the situation, the behavior, and my child. Whatever I perceive to be causing my immediate discomfort I want to shut it up and shut it down. I don’t believe I’m alone in this. Control has been the tool many parents use to fight their fears. Many books have been written about how we might best control our children’s behaviors, thoughts and attitudes. This is how I was parented, how my parents were parented, and how their parents were parented.
But I don’t want to be controlled and I don’t believe anyone really wants to be controlled. I want to influence. I want to relate. I want to connect. Control is necessary at times, especially when safety is involved. Control often proves to be fast and even effective. But I know when I am controlling from a place of fear and disregulation, and that is never really helpful.
So what is the alternative? First I believe we must become aware of our own trauma responses. Recognize when we are controlling from a place of fear, inadequacy, and powerlessness. How can we begin to raise awareness of our own dysregulation and what are the tools that we can learn to help ourselves regulate? I have found developing a set of tools has required unlearning and reprogramming old and unhealthy habits. I am re-parenting myself. Creating habits that nurture and support my body mind and spirit. As I learn to regulate my fear response, I am better equipped to help my children regulate theirs. On this week’s episode I share many of the tools I have personally found helpful, things like breath awareness, music, yoga, journaling, and much more.