Becoming insinuates making movement toward something. Its saying goodbye to the old and inviting the new. It brings forth opportunities to create. There’s a raw energy not confined by what-ifs or limiting beliefs, an edge of uncertainty that daringly pokes at the unknown.
What happens next isn’t so expansive. It’s that moment when you realize a gap exists between where you are and where you want to be. Overwhelm and discomfort set in. Now, you’re faced with a choice; do you stay exactly where you’re at or do you bravely take action to close the gap?
Staying is a conscious decision, the consequences already known and currently living. Stepping forward is a leap of faith, determined by countless efforts to discover the depths of your parenting power. It’s movement toward definitive resources, a grounded choice to live on the edge, releasing control and pushing against the status-quo.
It’s messy and it’s exciting, pulling you toward mystery and innovation. Still need a nudge? With only 38 percent of Americans reporting overall satisfaction, staying stagnant can no longer be a viable option.
Here’s 5 steps to observe the gap and choose your edge.
1. Boldly Question: You’ve acknowledged where you’re at, now what? Ask yourself, “what isn’t working?” This isn’t just about your parenting role, often times what’s happening outside the parent-child dynamic is equally important. Inevitably, if you experience stress in one area of your life, it will fuel overwhelm in another.
Now that you have a list, next to each parenting item, ask yourself “what do I want this to look like instead?” Get specific. If yelling is an area that needs attention, then talking calmly and responding, versus reacting, is an option. I encourage you to think beyond actions and really tap into the energy behind the behavior; “How would you feel during and after?”
2. Forgive the Messy: Completing the first step is a vulnerable process, exposing some of our yuckiest parenting moments. This magnification often invites guilt, and if we’re not too careful, can lead to a downward spiral of shame and self-judgments.
Forgiveness is not about making excuses. It’s about bravely owning your parenting mishaps, and permissively saying, “I don’t have it all figured out and I make mistakes.” You can’t change what already happened, yet your past can inform your future.
Create a container for self-compassion and ask yourself, “what can I learn from this messy moment?” or “how can this information guide me toward the parent I desire to be?”
3. Expand from your Center: This step is deeply personal and invites you to connect with your core, opening the space to ground in self-reflection.
Ask yourself, “who am I and what kind of parent do I want to be?” Think about this question from the perspective of your identity, how do you want to define yourself, and how do your parenting priorities and personal values align with the parent you desire to be. Like step one, the energy and vibe of what you want to embody is also important.
4. Release and Let Go: It’s time to acknowledge the old and say goodbye. We want to liberate the parenting version of who you were, setting free what no longer serves you.
This isn’t a frivolous act; we want to be intentional in our farewell.
Old templates of how we acted provide valuable information, showing us what may have been necessary at a specific time, or highlighting parenting lessons we needed to learn. For that, we can practice gratitude, thanking the earlier parts of ourselves for playing this role.
When we take a curious approach to what was, we have a greater chance of letting go, no longer harboring resentment, and making room for the new to unfold.
5. Step into Practice: Now that you have a strong sense of the parent you want to be, ask yourself, “What’s needed for me to be the most successful?” The answer will help ground you in your next right action. The answer may require new boundaries, learning to say no, increasing resources, acquiring new skills, or changing a pattern.
Change isn’t easy, so expect some bumps along the way. Part of taking action is course correcting. As you step forward with a new practice, evaluate your efforts. Identify what’s working and what isn’t. Ask yourself, “does my action feel aligned?”
As you close the gap, detach from outside chatter and undue influence. Dare to dream and step into your power as the parent you want to be.
Christina Trujillo Sieren, is an author, speaker, and mom of two. Christina is a licensed psychotherapist with a private practice specializing in high-risk adolescents and families. She is the Founder and Lead Coach of Unapparent Parenting, INC., where she provides coaching to parents of teens. Christina supports parents to question mainstream parenting concepts and embrace the messiest of moments, daring parents to re-define their most authentic parenting blueprint from the inside out. Christina is the author of Parenting Teen Girls: A Positive Parenting Approach to Raising Health, Independent Daughters. For more information and to connect with Christina, visit www.christinasieren.com.