Is This Care Or Control?

Be Honest - Is This Care Or Is It Control?  

Responding to life’s circumstances, with self-awareness and emotional maturity, instead of unconscious programming from our past, is the key to living in the New Parenting Paradigm. When we are on autopilot with our kids, our thoughts are unknowingly full of fear, worry, and we are constantly doing. When we are conscious, we are able to stay connected to ourselves, make clear choices, attune to our kids, and our guidance.

As parents, one of the hardest things we have to give up is the idea and practice of control. Yes, control. Control comes when we fall back on using the old parenting paradigm, the way we were raised. We have been conditioned to be ruled by fear, and control is a natural state while operating in fear, especially for parents who have been indoctrinated to having control over their children. One of the ways we cover up our deep attachment to control is by pretending we care. Caring then becomes a great ploy and disguise of control. 

Kids who have parents who accept them as they are, and show understanding and attunement, have higher life satisfaction and better mental wellbeing throughout early, middle and late adulthood. By contrast, children whose parents used control, had significantly lower contentment and fulfillment in their adult life. 

One way to begin to discern and recognize the difference between our caring and control is to ask:

  • Is it really about me or the child?
  • Is this for me or the child?
  • Is this going to benefit me or the child?

And if you are honest, inevitably, everything comes back to the being about, for and benefitting the adult. For example:

When the child excels with great grades. 

When the parent dresses the child in an adorable outfit. 

When the child participates in extracurricular activities.

It is all about and for us.

However, there are some things that are caring for the child and not for us. They are life-affirming boundaries. Things that, if the child were to follow through on, would enhance their life experience and be beneficial for them.

What are these?

  • Less screen time and more social time 
  • Less disorganization and more organization
  • Less junk food and more healthy food
  • Less late nights and more sleep

Life-affirming boundaries have to do with sleep, hygiene, self-care, socialization and education - essentially.

Anything that blocks these from occurring - at a basic and “good enough” level - is something we can afford to care about and attempt at creating boundaries around.

But how do we create boundaries in a caring and compassionate way?

I wrote a blog post about stone boundaries and sand boundaries - which one will you choose?

When you begin to go through each area of life that is causing stress, you begin to differentiate between care and control. When you detach from what others think of you as a parent, what would best work for you, what would be most convenient for you, and what would meet your needs best, and instead attune to what is truly important for the child, you are able to drop your agenda and motives.

As you begin to align with what the child truly needs from a life-affirming perspective, you begin to connect more deeply with the child. There is less conflict and more clarity. The relationship with your child will change and grow. This becomes extremely important as they grow older because once they get into their adolescent years, the stakes get higher. The foundation you built when with them when they were young, becomes most valuable. This is when life and death become real. Your child will trust you when you have shown them real care by being a parent who keeps their word while holding life-affirming boundaries with them.