Are You Worn Out and Stressed?
Does every day feel like a Monday with everyone in the family making demands on your time? “Mom, where is my homework? Honey, can you pick up my dry cleaning? Mom, I can’t find my Lego Hero Factory toy!” It is easy to allow yourself to get so caught up in everyone else’s issues and hover like a helicopter ready to land and triage every situation. But that takes a lot of energy and at the end of the day there is nothing left for you!
I used to be that exact same way and truth be told I sometimes revert back to that, until I catch myself feeling drained and then I realize that I am doing it again. Sure, I don’t want people in my life to suffer unhappiness, disappointment or discomfort, but is it right for me to be the only who experiences those emotions? Furthermore, I am robbing a learning experience every time I swoop down to rescue them.
For example, if I find that Lego Hero Factory toy for my son, he will never learn that his things are his responsibility. Sure, he will be upset when he can’t find it right away, but once he finally does he will have learned a lesson that no amount of lecturing could have ever taught and that is that he needs to keep track of his toys!
Listening to the Love & Logic® CD, Helicopters, Drill Sergeants and Consultants, I am reminded that trying to rescue my kids from all of life’s challenges burns me out and sends an unspoken message to my boys that they don’t have what it takes to solve their own problem. The thought of that scares me because I want my boys to grow up knowing that they are capable of taking care of themselves! This same principle applies to rescuing my husband, family members, friends, etc. All this rescuing and before long I have run out of fuel and crashed to the ground.
I have found that the easiest way to allow them to solve their own problems is to show the empathy that I truly feel and then ask them what they are going to do? It lets them know that I care, but that I am confident that they have the answer if they just take a moment to think it through to a resolution. Here is a great script to use:
Oh, honey, I am sorry. That’s got to feel (sad, frustrating, etc…)
What do you think you are going to do?
Practice this and then the next time someone else’s problem comes your way, experiment with saying these words with sincere empathy. Simply fill in the blank with whatever emotion you’re guessing the person is feeling. Then give suggestions while allowing the person to own and solve his or her problem.
If you are experiencing the helicopter syndrome and feel like you need some more support, give me a call. As a Love & Logic® Parenting Coach I can help you with this and other parenting situations that leave you feeling worn out and stressed!