Hi, I’m Dr. Hillary Mansik, a licensed psychologist, parenting specialist and a mom to three young kids. So I really get how challenging being a mom can feel. Today, I want to give you three things that you can actually take off your plate. Because I know as moms, we are so often inundated with what we should do, how we should feed our kids, how we should discipline them, what activities we should sign them up for, and it can feel really overwhelming. So today, I want to actually lighten your load and give you three things you can let go of and stop doing literally today.
So the first one, you can stop trying to fix your child’s feelings or keep them happy. Now, I know that for a lot of us, when we become moms, we truly believe it’s our job to keep our kids happy and calm. We believe that if our kids are sad, we have to cheer them up. If they’re mad, we have to help them calm down. That’s just how it works, right. But actually, that was never our job. And we are getting in the way of our kids building healthy emotion regulation skills. When we do that.
Here’s why our kids need to feel those feelings. It’s very normal, healthy for all of us, us and our kids to cycle through a wide range of different emotions every day. But for most of us, we were sent the message from when we were really young, that actually, you should just feel happy all the time, that that’s the goal. It’s not, we need to be comfortable tolerating a whole wide range of emotions. And so we can help our kids learn to do that, by you guessed it, letting them feel their feelings in our safe presence.
Now what that looks like is that your child might be sad about getting out of the bath. And instead of trying to make them happy again, or saying “Oh, but you can get back in tomorrow, it’s okay,” you’re just going to hold space for that feeling. “I get it. It’s really disappointing to get out of the bath, especially when you were having so much fun.” And you’re going to hold that boundary, “but it’s time to get out I’m going to help.” So you don’t have to keep your child happy.
Our child’s emotions are going to go like this all day long. And you don’t have to ride those waves, you just hold space for the feelings. You don’t have to fix them.
Number two, you can stop entertaining your child, that’s also not your job. I think for a lot of us, we feel like it’s our job to get on the floor or play with our kids be sort of like a cruise ship director. Well, you could do this next, or how about you do play doh, or why don’t we do an art activity. But that feels really stressful. And it means that we don’t get a whole lot of alone time or time to do the things that we need to do. And that feels stressful for everyone involved.
Here’s the thing, when our kids are bored, boredom is a feeling just like any other feeling. And so it’s our job to actually hold space for that feeling and to help them tolerate the discomfort of being bored, not to fix it.
So the next time your child is bored, you can say something like “I get it. Being bored is really uncomfortable. I don’t like feeling bored, either. I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next.” And then resist the urge to jump in and suggest an activity or figure out the next thing for them to do because what will happen, I promise you, it might take a little while longer than you think. But what will eventually happen is that your child will find something to do. And you will be amazed at how creative they will be when they are allowed to feel bored. So that’s the second thing.
And the third thing that you can let go of literally today, is trying to be perfect as a parent. Perfection in parenting doesn’t exist. It’s not a thing.
No matter how many parenting books you read, no matter how many parenting podcasts you listen to, you will never be perfect. Yes, even if you go to decades of therapy and do tons of personal healing, you will never show up as a perfect parent. Because perfect parents don’t exist, you’re human, you’re going to make mistakes.
And so instead of getting stuck in a blame cycle, when you make a mistake, oh, if I was a better mom, I would never yell at my kid. I can’t believe I said that. I can’t believe I did that. We need to let it go. We need to say to ourselves, I’m human, it’s okay that I made a mistake, I can repair with my child. Healthy repair actually strengthens your relationship with your child. So it’s actually good for your child, that you make mistakes as a parent. And not only are you getting the opportunity to repair with them and to model healthy genuine Repair, but you can also model self compassion in the face of your mistakes.
So go ahead and make mistakes. Give yourself grace and then repair with your child and watch the beautiful growth that happens in your relationship.
So to recap, you can stop trying to fix your child’s feelings, stop entertaining them and stop trying to be perfect. I hope that was helpful.
If you want to learn more about me and what I do, you can go to raise resilient.com I have a wonderful free guide for you. Six mindset shifts to ditch the overwhelm and parent in a way that feels good. And I also have a podcast called raised resilient with Dr. Hillary where I share parenting tools, strategies and stories from my own real life.
Dr. Hilary Mandzik is a licensed psychologist and mom of three who’s passionate about supporting parents. She’s actively working to change the narrative around parenting and to help parents break unhelpful generational cycles so they can parent in a way that TRULY feels good – for them and for their kids.
She has a private therapy practice where she specializes in perinatal mental health as well as an online parenting support business, where she creates content and offers online programs to support parents in raising resilient, confident kids with less stress (and more joy!). She’s also the host of the parent-loved podcast Raised Resilient with Dr. Hilary.
www.raisedresilient.com — Raised Resilient homepage
www.raisedresilient.com/podcast — Raised Resilient with Dr. Hilary podcast homepage
www.hilarymandzik.com — therapy practice (Hilary Mandzik, PsyD) homepage
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