When you are anxious or fearful, you are living in the future. Worry is all about not being able to control how things will turn out. What you need most when you’re worried is a plan, and a plan begins in the present moment. Live in the present, and the future will take care of itself.
Louise Hay, a pioneer of the self-help movement and author of “You Can Heal Your Life”, said, “Your power is in the present moment.” The present moment is the only one you have. If your mind is roaming through the unknown future, who’s minding the store? You’re making up a story that hasn’t happened yet, and have no way of knowing if it really will happen. This keeps you from thinking clearly and being mindful of what’s going on around you.
When you live in the future, by necessity you revert to functioning through habits, doing things by rote. That doesn’t mean it’s the best way or the right way for you; but it comes automatically and fills the void.
When you live in the present you can positively influence the future.
Come back and live in the present moment where you can be an effective parent. Here you can be grounded, experience clarity, and keep your vision for your child front and center so as to make the best decisions possible.
Think about a time you reacted emotionally to something your child said or did (or didn’t say or do). That was probably fear speaking. Would she make a mistake? Would someone think poorly of her or of you? Was she veering off the carefully constructed path you had planned for her, and you’d have to say goodbye to the perfect vision you hold for her future?
Consider the words you use and the decisions you make for your child when you are projecting into the future. I remember times when I lowered the bar; I thought I was doing my child a favor when things were difficult for him. What I didn’t realize was that by lowering expectations, I was really telling him that I didn’t believe he was capable of doing whatever it was. Later on he was able to tell me so, and I was horrified at the unspoken message I had sent. I didn’t believe in him, and he stopped believing in himself.
It’s a sad day when your parents stop believing in your potential. Your child may tell you she doesn’t care, but she does. What you think of her matters to her.
Studies show that children who are raised by mindful, in-the-present parents are less likely to be depressed or anxious, or to resort to drugs for self-medicating. Justin Parent, lead author of one such study at the University of Vermont, proposes these key factors to mindful parenting:
1. noticing your own feelings when you’re in conflict with your child
2. learning to pause before responding in anger
3. listening carefully to a child’s viewpoint even when disagreeing with it
These skills potentially help preserve the parent-child relationship, while also providing positive role modeling of how to handle difficult situations. (Get hands-on training with these skills when you watch the replay of the Eye-Rolling Webinar.)
Mindful parenting works. It keeps you in the moment where you have the power to influence the future. Projecting into an unknown future prevents you from being the clear-headed, empathetic parent your child need to calmly guide her into her future.
Live where life is happening. Live in the present.
Fern Weis is a certified life coach who learned that caring and good intentions are not enough in parenting. In fact, they are often the problem! Fern supports parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations, including addiction recovery. She helps parents release guilt, end enabling and confidently prepare their children to thrive through life's challenges. Her articles are featured in Thrive Global, Medium, Motherly, The Teen Mentor, and Bergen County Moms.
Learn more about coaching and classes at www.fernweis.com. And then download your free guide, "Five Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk." For information on Family Recovery programs, visit www.familyrecoverypartners.com.