You know what I’ve discovered after helping families for a few years?
So many of us online parenting mentors are gaslighting and invalidating parents concerns by not taking into consideration the context of their mental health, when offering advice.
“Lower your voice to hear your words”
“You can do hard things”
May be helpful for those who are consciously withholding love and using aggressive tones to mould their child’s behaviour.
But more often than not, what we are dealing with, are parents who are coping with trauma and/or mental health challenges. They want desperately to do the things we advise them to do, but they are struggling to because of their other challenges.
We find this out and we recommend therapy which is basically brushing them aside. Saying your problem is beyond the realm of “normal.” Even if they are able to seek therapy, often the therapist has no knowledge of child development so that piece is missing. Therapy is often necessary but parenting tools specific to those parents struggling with emotional triggers, is also a necessary piece of their healing journey.
❤️ We need to offer different tools to these parents.
❤️ We need to meet them where they are at and help them build from there.
❤️ We need to teach them how to give themselves grace.
❤️ We need to give them permission not to be perfect.
They look to us for guidance and we fail them when we only offer an idealistic view of parenting. We fail them when we say “it’s all about connection.” Parenting is filled with emotional triggers that you never expected and it takes some people years to deconstruct, decondition and develop emotional intelligence skills, rather than avoidance skills.
This Guide to Survival Mode Plans was written as a tool for these parents.
Parent: “Sometimes I have to walk away from my child… but then I feel guilty”
If we don’t process those feelings of guilt, than we are going to increase our long-term distress. It is completely understandable that you would feel guilt, sadness, frustration, and loneliness when you have to walk away from your child to take a mental health break. These feelings are to be expected.
But the choice you made to walk away was to protect your child from your behaviour, while dysregulated. Parenting is filled with moments when we are stuck with 2 crappy choices and we need to decide which one is a little less crappy.
That’s what people actually mean by “let go of the perfect ideals.” We’re not talking just a Pinterest worthy lifestyle. We’re talking about those moments you have in your head where you want everything to “just go smoothly for once” and then when you are faced with two crappy choices, you struggle to choose because neither fits your ideal of how you wanted this to go.
Ideals people think are realistic but may not be for YOUR child
1. Is able to get ready to leave the house with minimal assistance
2. Brushes teeth, washes hands, brushes hair willingly
3. Goes to bed on time.
4. Eats food that is provided for them
5. Picks up after themselves
6. Is appreciative of all gifts, treats and special outings
7. Does not do something again after being told not to
8. Remembers how to ask politely for things
9. Self-regulates when in distress
10. Doesn’t use “unkind” words
People will say… “yeah but there are standards in my house.”
That’s fine. Every house should have rules and boundaries. But they should be developmentally appropriate. If a rule or boundary tends to be a common emotional trigger for you, you should think about
Why that might be?
What beliefs do you hold about how your child SHOULD behave?
How would your parents have responded to you not doing as they asked?
What messages have you received about these ideals during your childhood?
These are all questions you can ask yourself in an effort to process all the big emotions and complex feelings that come up when you need a parent-time-in.
A Survival Mode Plan is a Responsive Parenting Tool for parents who find emotional triggers and parent anger is causing them to react, more than respond. This tool helps parents learn how to use Preparation, Reflection and Reconnection to survive some of your most challenging parenting moments. While also growing and learning from these experiences; and over time, thriving, more than surviving.
This PDF guide will help you prepare Survival Mode Plans and give you reflection tools and insight to support your healing and parenting journey.