Parent by Design
Workshop 1: RESOURCES
How You Create your REALITY
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
― Max Planck
q & a
When I say 'being in your child's business' I am referring to behaviour and outcome i.e. the external world. It's when you start to meddle in these 2 areas that you run into problems. Remember, this exception to this rule is safety. If you have any safety concerns then you have every right to be in their business, in my view. As for their internal world, (the way that they are and the way that they see the world- you can't help but be in their business, so to be concerned with or to pay attention to these is fine. How you do this is important and that is the focus of Workshops 2 and 3.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting your child to do well in school or in any other area in life, this is completely natural. The problems arise when this desire becomes the context your parenting exists inside of. This context (that you have created) forces you to BE and ACT in certain ways.
As an example, my Mum was adamant that I go to University, she saw this as key to me getting a good job and being able to afford the things that constitute a nice life. This context that she created forced her to see me and everything I did through this lens. She put a lot of pressure and expectation on me, and when I started to wobble she came down on me like a ton of bricks. She was critical and judgemental and she tried to force me to do well, by trying to control my behaviour (homework, studying, being grounded, no pocket money etc... the usual reward/ consequence stuff).
So, how did this work out?
I rebelled. Like a lot of teenagers, I resented being controlled and told what to do, I was being told how to live my life, and so I started to do worse in school. Her response was to come down on me even harder and we ended up in an ever escalating war, and nobody wins those.
The net effect was a loss of relationship between us, and me adopting beliefs about who I am like 'I'm not good enough' and 'I'm a failure'. The ramifications of both of these are still felt today, some 30-odd years later.
I know now that my Mum was doing her best and that she was acting out of love for me, but these are the potential/ probable consequences when you use your power to try and control outcomes, which are essentially and by definition, uncontrollable.
So, what is the answer?
You give up the need to control what your child does or who they need to become and you create a different context for your parenting. One that nurtures and supports your child to develop psychological robustness, to understand that they are capable, and the confidence to express their true nature. Their 'success' whatever this looks like (and that's for them to decide) is now much more likely, because you have helped to create and nurture the qualities that are required to BE successful (psychological robustness, capacity, confidence to self-express).
This is something we discuss in the following 3 workshops, because how this looks is personal to you. I will give you the framework, you just have to fill it in.
First of all, every interaction you have with your child will have some kind of psychological impact, that's just how life works, it's unavoidable. Also, you will never really know for sure just how your child will internalise and give meaning to their life experiences.
The difference is that now you are aware of this whereas before you weren't, which means that you can pay more attention to it.
Secondly, you now have some tools, you can use 'Fact vs Fiction' and 'Whose business am I in?' to lessen the impact of this.
Finally, in Workshops 2 and 3, you will develop a way of SEEING and BEING with your kids that will support and nurture their psychological robustness as well as create a relationship between you which is honest and open. This is vital if you want to be able to have conversations with them about what is going on for them in their inside world.