What If It All Turns Out Okay?
August 17th 2017
One of the characteristics of secure attachment is that a person has a sense that “good things will come their way” (Raising A Secure Child, page 15). Trusting the world to hold goodness and trusting that there is enough goodness for us all, is a secure perspective. This idea could show up as thoughts such as, “even though things won’t always work out, I trust that most things will end up being okay for me”. This idea could also show up in feelings, such as a relaxed flexibility when your expectations don’t get fully met or plans have to change.
In parenting, our ability to stay within our own secure perspective allows our children to build their own secure perspective. When we Take Charge in a moment that requires it, we build security by firmly and kindly setting the boundary. A child will have a deeper understanding that may say, “even though I don’t like it that my mom said no, I trust that she is doing it to take care of me and there will be other things I can do”. When we offer closeness and connection to our children during big feelings, we build security by offering a warm and safe place to find help in making sense of what just happened. A child may experience “good things” when out of control feelings start to go away because their dad gave them a hug.
Of course, we will all have moments as parents when we can’t hang on to a secure perspective. Children will struggle in school and we will wonder if they will be able to successfully get to graduation. Children will fight with friends, be a bully or get bullied and we may worry that they won’t be able to navigate relationships. Children will make big mistakes such as skipping school, stealing an item at a store or lying to us about where they were going. And we may become fearful about their future - what if they end up doing something that changes the course of their lives in a big way?
Sometimes, the worst does happen. Our children get hurt. They make bad choices that lead to more bad choices. Our children don’t graduate or have trouble with relationships or holding a job.
But more often, our children end up being pretty okay. They will struggle and learn and end up in a good place. They may not get into their first choice for college, but meet their lifelong best friend at the school they attend. Your son might be a rebellious teenager but a responsible adult. Your daughter may struggle with her self-esteem as a teen but be a confident leader in her career.
When we can hang on to our own secure perspective as a parent, we will be able to help our children transition into those good places. Parenting from security doesn’t eliminate the pain, hurt and struggle but often the transition is quicker and less intense. When there is less anger, fear, worry and bad decisions, then there is less to have to repair and transition from.
However, when we struggle with our own big feelings, it is easy to move into an insecure perspective. When we do this, we can feel exhausted, overwhelmed, worried, fearful and more. Obviously, this is not the ideal situation for healthy decisions. Without even realizing it, we may actually be contributing to the negative results that happen when insecurity runs the show. Insecurity often creates more chaos, more rigidity, more weakness and less connection. We get caught in endless cycles of consequences, yelling, time outs and we lose family time, humor, delight.
What if we could rest in security? What if we trusted that being Bigger, Stronger, Wiser and Kind could result in good things coming our way and our children’s way?
How would you parent if you knew that your child would turn out okay? Would you let go of some of the smaller stuff? Focus on connection more than consequences? Allow more room for your child to make mistakes? Make more time for family dinners at the table and less time for technology?
No matter how you choose to parent, it requires effort. Secure parenting offers more opportunities for connecting moments that fill both of your emotional cups - which then helps both of you navigate the difficult moments. Taking a moment to parent from Bigger, Stronger, Wiser and Kind will help create security in you, which will allow for more trust that good things will happen - for both you and your child.
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