Do you parent with compassion or compliance?

I don’t have everything figured out.  

I don’t have some secret that I’m withholding from you.  

I don’t know any more than you, especially when it comes to your teen.  

I don’t think your parenting needs fixing or solving. 

You Are an Unbroken, Loving Parent

In fact, I believe with my whole heart that you are unbroken.  I believe with my whole heart that you are an incredible loving parent who is living your amazing life with your incredible teen.  Like me, you want your teen to reach their full potential in every aspect of life and be happy.  Right?  That seems like a tall order with all that’s going on in the world these days. 

You cannot control all of the things in the world for your teen, which often makes us feel helpless or powerless which makes us double down with our fear and lack and compliance parenting approach.

Once You Change, Your Teen Changes

Here is what I have worked on as a parent myself and as a pediatrician over many years, and that is, drumroll please, once I change, my teen changes.  Until coaching I thought I needed to change my teen to make myself feel better.  Wrong!  Once I learned the power of thoughts and that thoughts create feelings, I started to get curious and invested at least the last 2 ½ years (yes, years) in creating a more loving and supportive approach with my teens.

I was as stuck as a parent could be in a fixed and prickly relationship with my daughter.  I kept waiting for her to grow out of it and it seems like it took me forever to figure out that I’m the one who has to “grow up and out of it”.  Of course, she stepped up too with intention to create a more healthy dynamic between us.  I can tell when she is trying.  

I was parenting her from fear and lack and a belief that when I say something she should do it and collecting all of the evidence when she didn’t do what I said, take my advice which would, of course, at least in my mind, make her life so much better and make her more successful, then I could make it mean that the label I was assigning to her is true.  I became more self-righteous as a Mom and our relationship suffered or stayed stuck and I felt like a failure and felt defeated, hopeless and helpless.

Learn to Parent with Compassion Instead of Compliance

I was parenting with compliance and not compassion. A round of unfun for all! Yuck!

Now, the first and most important thing I learned is to put my self-love superpower oxygen mask on first.  

I learned how to stay in my lane, that I will continue to make mistakes (on the daily) and I learned how to set boundaries, which has helped me with all aspects of my life. 

I recognize that I cannot fix or solve my teen because they are unbroken.

I recognize I don’t cause or control all of the things and that I am a mere mortal and so is my teen.  

I learned that even though my actions came from good intentions, none of it was helpful when my actions, coming from my feelings, created by my thoughts I was choosing over and over even though they weren’t serving me, are what mattered.  All our teens know is our actions or inactions. In your head, you may be June or Ward Cleaver or Dr. Spock, but none of that matters if you are triggered to get in your teen’s lane every time they walk in the room.  

I created a curious awareness of my thought patterns that would send me into emotional reactivity and victim mode instead of taking responsibility for my feelings and responding as an emotional adult.  

Parent with Compassion and Stay Out of Shame, Guild, and Judgment

I learned to parent with compassion and not compliance and most importantly, to treat myself with compassion and not judge how good of a parent I am 

I stay out of shame, guilt and judgment of my teen and myself as a parent, most of the time.   

My teen and I just got back from a couple of college visits and we had such a great time.  We had our moments of tension which is fine, those will always happen, but so many glorious moments that we wouldn’t have had if I haven’t done this self-work.

You and your teen are worthy of your self-work. 

Self-love superpower, 

Dr. Karla