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Touching the Hot Stove

Touching the hot stove is an analogy I use for teaching my children.

I tell my children "don't touch the stove it's too hot", meaning that something is a bad idea.

Lately, we have had the opportunity to experience a couple of "touch the hot stove" moments with our children.

These moments are when parenting can feel the most frustrating and exhausting and you probably feel like you aren't getting paid enough for this job!

This is the whole reason we do thought-work and coaching, to help us manage all these emotions that come up in life. A lot of emotions that we experience are not useful. If you don't learn how to process these emotions properly then you are not going to show up as the parent that your child needs you to be or frankly that parent you want to be.

Let's be honest, parenting is just a lot more fun when our children listen to us, but that is not usually the hand that we get dealt and it isn't the hand that brings us the most opportunity for personal growth.

I have found when I do the work in these "hot stove" moments they become a lot less dramatic and actually become opportunities for me to feel closer to my children.

Here are three great questions that I find completely useful to ask myself when I experience a hot stove moment:

1. What am I making it mean?

2. How am I showing up?

3. How is this affecting our relationship?

1. What am I making it mean?

What do you make your child's success or failures mean? Do you find that some of your self-worth might be directly tied to the successes or failures of your child?

As parents, we have to be careful with how we measure our self-worth. If we are using our child's decisions as evidence for our personal success or failures this is a dangerous way to view ourselves. When you do this you are then putting your value as a parent into the hands of your child's choices. That will feel completely powerless.

As a parent, your main job is to love and support your child while teaching them rules, boundaries and consequences. Their reactions to those things have nothing to do with you.

In parenting, the key is to remember that your children’s results do not have any bearing on your value or worth as a parent.

2. How am I showing up?

When your child makes a choice that you don't agree with how do you react? It is completely understandable to feel disappointed or sad with some of our child's choices but if you are parenting from those emotions you are not being the parent you need to be.

When we let their behavior affect us emotionally then we know we aren't in a clean space. Once you remove the emotion (you stop making your child's choices mean something about you), then your job becomes much easier because it’s not about you any longer. All of your parenting decisions should be about your child not about your feelings.

Evaluate whether you are showing up in a way that values your relationship with yourself. You are responsible for your emotions, You get to decide how you respond to your child's behavior. You have options. Your work is becoming aware that you have a choice and then making a conscious choice to think and feel in ways that allow you to show up as the parent you want to be.

3. How is this affecting your relationship?

Let me give you the best advice - you can't control your children. You're probably thinking, obviously, but I want you to realize that intellectually you know this but we still take action from a part of our brain that acts like we can control our child's decisions.

We implement timeouts, consequences, and countless lectures in hopes that our children will learn to make good decisions. But even with all the teaching we do, our children are still going to make some bad decisions.

You should just expect it. It's just part of the human experience, I know it is part of my human experience.

You know what you can control, how you feel about your child. When your child makes a bad decision, I advise you to stop the drama! You know you are dramatizing it when you are in full judgment of your child. It will be a lot easier for you to feel love for your child when you can move your thoughts from judgment to compassion and curiosity. This keeps you feeling connected and present to your child and ultimately strengthen the bond with your child.

This is key to remember: We have all touched the hot stove.

The only one who didn't was Jesus Christ, so let's be generous in these moments. Generosity in these moments can help others get through the healing faster. In those frustrating parenting moments, it is very helpful to remember that our children will grow from their mistakes and that is exactly why we are on this earth, to grow and to learn.

Parenting can be a tough job. Having a coach will help you become a more confident parent. Learning how to generate useful emotions is a skill that your entire family will benefit from. I can help you do this. Book a call with me to start the process of being the parent you want to be.

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