Last week I read an article in the Atlantic, How to Quit Intensive Parenting and was encouraged by the author’s perspective and plea for a cultural change. As Haspel states, American culture and its family policies support this micromanaging style of parenting, creating competition among families and stress within each family unit. Read Full Article here
Parenting from a place of anxiety about your child’s past, present or future behavior drives much of the intense over-parenting approach. While the research highlights the negative impact on the child’s competence, confidence and even the health of the parent-child relationship, this parenting approach is a difficult habit to break. The hopeful news is that this is not an addiction that requires treatment. The intrusive patterns of “helicopter parenting” can be reset with supportive coaching,
I see this stress when I work with families and begin coaching them in self-regulation. Often when a family is referred to me, a pattern of dysregulated behavior has been identified as exhibited by the child. When we step back and take a look at the daily interactions between parent and child, we can identify that the parent is also dysregulated, stressed, anxious, and most likely at their wit’s end. Regardless of the parenting style, the family tenor is infused with reactivity and stress. The parent does not have the skills to manage their level of stress and regulate their emotions. Simply the stress is palpable and the child is uncomfortable and reacting.
Empowering parents with their own self-regulation throughout the daily routines and rituals is a game changer. For the adult to understand how their intensive input is reinforcing, the very behaviors that concern them, is often the missing piece.
Room To Move is helping parents find room within the daily routines to establish regulation practices, so that they can experience the benefits of NOT saying or doing something for their child and the opportunity to PRACTICE building new response patterns. Parents can strengthen their skill set and rely on regulating their worry, frustration, anger, and disappointment. This now provides immediate outcomes in their child’s functioning and positive interactions among all members of the family.
It is from this regulated, neutral or grounded stance that learning and relating is optimal for all of us. With the four part Room To Move consultation series, parents and caregivers quickly feel hopeful because they experience more peace and flow throughout the day. They soon see that they are able to help their child in learning the skills necessary to become a competent adult and they are relieved that their child can master the necessary developmental tasks before them.
While I agree that the American culture and its policies need a tune-up, I’d also like to include that we create room to take a look at ourselves and what is going on in our homes. The simple practice of pausing and regulating your emotions before responding, or going to vagus breath when you feel your pulse start to elevate – will go a long way in supporting the development of your children’s emotional health and their ability to participate in healthy relationships throughout their lifespan.
Reach out at roomtomove.com for a free chat about your family needs.