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In this Part 4, I want to continue with two objectives. 1) Bringing you, the parents relief from the frustration, sadness, hopelessness, or whatever you may be carrying around. And, 2) Putting you in the very highest place possible for helping your son or daughter. (If you haven’t read the earlier blogs in this series, you really should go back and do that. They don't stand completely alone.)
Part 1 – The kid is stuck.
Part 2 – It’s a family affair. But your kid won’t cooperate.
Part 3 – Start where you can. With you.
In both scenarios, the kid is exactly the same. It is really important to zero in on that one. What is outside of you is outside of you. We have limited ability to influence outside conditions and no ability to control them. A son or daughter who seems to be wasting away his or her life is a powerful example. The kid doesn’t much listen and virtually never acts on your wishes or advice. He is stalled. Or, perhaps it’s a serial start and stop pattern. Whatever the case, you see the trajectory of his life as sideways, or downward, and with a lot of pot holes along the way.
Mom and dad, you, are really worried. I mean, this is serious. You were concerned when the kid was 20. Now that he’s 26, you are convinced your son is headed nowhere good. You are judging like crazy. How could this have happened? What did we do wrong? What’s wrong with him? This is really, really, bad, and getting worse. Moreover, this is just the tip of the mental and emotional iceberg. Parents’ emotions range from just worried and frustrated. Carrying around a certain sadness. Being continuously faced with a high-stakes problem they can’t solve. Emotions run from there, to mom crying herself to sleep at night.
The kid, the external conditions, are exactly the same. Let’s say though you have done your healing and clearing work. Below, I am going to jump straight to the story of parents who have really figured it out. That have gotten there 100%. In reality, this takes time. Perhaps this fictitious couple in our illustration might have healed a great deal of the hurt in some months of focused “work”. Cleared out the majority of the judgments and inaccurate interpretations of reality that had been controlling them. Over time, they will clear away more and more.
And, I get that this is your son. Changing your thoughts and how you feel is not like snapping your fingers. But I know too it is entirely achievable. And, it’s critically important that you get all of this out of you, if you want to help yourself and help your child.
Lesson in acceptance
For sake of illustration, let's say mom and dad are truly healed. You have learned to accept what is outside of you as simply what is. You don’t have to like it. You just don’t need the emotional charge and distress from it. What? You mean I could run my car into a tree and total it, and step out and just be thankful to be alive? To feel no distress, self-condemnation, or any of that? Yep. You don’t have to like it, of course. But the accident has happened. You can learn to accept that external event as what is and not beat yourself up over it.
And, I get home and find out we let the auto insurance lapse and we just lost $40,000. I could be "not upset" by that? Yes, actually I do mean that. It is just a question of how far along you are in your development. But, say it again, the wreck happened. The insurance has lapsed. You have to go buy another car. The only difference is how you choose to think about it and the feelings you get to reap.
So, if I could use these same skills. If I had this same awareness, clarity, and understanding… What are you saying? That I would have the ability to not feel bad about anything? Even something as painfully important to me as the welfare of my child? Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. That is exactly where I would want to get myself. And, to be sure, being able to be in this clear place of peace does not mean I don’t love and care about my child. Not in the least. It doesn’t mean the situation is what I would choose for myself or for him. It just means I would want to accept what is outside of me and not beat myself up over. Not judge it, at a heart level.
Why is this important?
Two reasons. First is, you need some relief. I meet parents all the time who are just feeling this weight. It’s a heavy weight, crushing at times. The cost to you is massive. What is the cost of not having joy? The stress and cost relative to marital relationships. Financial costs. Can I, as a father or mother, be my best at anything while I am carrying around the weight of what seems like my child slowly going down the tubes. How easy is it to let these bad thoughts and feelings find their way to exaggeration? Even greater cost.
I will say it again. You need some relief. You need to lower this distress and open up your own life to more good stuff.
The second reason is for the kid. You can't get sick enough to help a sick person. Where you are coming from is always more important than what you say or do.
1. The kid is the constant. Outside of you. He is what he is.
2. You either hold it as wrong, with commensurate pain and negative thoughts and emotions. Or, you choose love, and peace.
3. You learn acceptance, at the heart/ emotional level.
4. You still want to help your son. You just come at it from an unwounded place.
5. You get to live your life with much less pain and upset.
6. From this healthy place, you are in the best possible shape to help him.
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