Fear and uncertainty are as much a part of parenting as bruises and band-aids. They are part of your every day and they will continue to be so no matter how old you get nor how much your children grow up.
But that’s ok.
Because you’re better than your fears and uncertainties.
And as troubling as they can be, they don’t need to weigh you down in your mission to empower your child.
Here’s the secret that great parents know –> raising an empowered child is not about eliminating fear and uncertainty, but finding ways to master it.
1. great parents embrace uncertainty
Uncertainty deals with the realm of what we do not know. Which is to say, almost everything when it comes to our role as parents. And the vastness of that uncertainty can be overwhelming.
Even for great parents.
The difference is that great parents are nevertheless willing to venture into the realm of uncertainty.
Why? Because it pushes them to grow as a person and as a parent.
You see, great parents are willing to make mistakes.
They are willing to look like fools in front of other parents.
They are willing to put up with public displays of anger or affection.
They are willing to hear everyone from experts to strangers tell them how they are wrong in their parenting.
And they’re willing to do this for years, not knowing whether they are even making the right choices.
They do this knowing full well that it represents a life wrought with mortification and heartbreak. But they do it anyway, because great parents know that this uncertainty is a small price to pay for the extraordinary opportunity to shape a human life.
2. great parents uncouple fear from uncertainty
Fear is simply our reaction to uncertainty.
Think about all the things that keep you up at night. When you look closely, you realize that they are all based, not on fear, but on uncertainty.
- Your fear that your child has low self-esteem is an uncertainty about whether you have instilled them with a positive sense of self.
- Your fear that your child is being bullied is an uncertainty about whether your child is empowered to take care of themselves.
- Your fear that your child is not excelling at school is an uncertainty about whether your child is bright and capable.
Our fears are based not on what we know (i.e. your child has low self-esteem, is being bullied, is failing) but on what we think might happen (i.e. they won’t be able to thrive or take care of themselves).
That’s a big difference and it’s important to understand it. Because even though uncertainty begets fear, it is not the same thing.
Fear is an often-times paralyzing emotion, uncertainty is doubt about specific events that may happen and can be addressed.
Great parents experience uncertainty, they just don’t let it cripple them in fear.
3. great parents acknowledge fear and what it is trying to tell you
Fear itself is not a bad thing. It’s actually a warning, giving you a heads-up about something that might happen. That doesn’t mean it will happen.
Great parents understand this and use fear as an indicator of things they need to focus on:
- Your fear that your child has low self-esteem means you should focus on helping your child develop a positive sense of self.
- Your fear that your child is being bullied means that you should focus on empowering your child.
- Your fear that your child is falling behind in school means that you should focus on finding strategies that work for your child.
4. great parents do something
Uncertainty when not managed properly can be crippling, and our tendency is to wait and see what unfolds. When we take that approach, what is most likely to unfold is precisely whatever we feared. Because remember that fear is a warning about something that might happen. When we ignore that warning, we make it that much easier for something to actually happen.
So, the best way to counter fear is simply to act, to do something – anything.
In fact, this is how fear can push us to grow, by forcing us to move beyond our uncertainty and do something productive about it.
Great parents turn fear into an opportunity to solve problems:
- Your fear that your child has low self-esteem forces you to talk to your child about their fears and uncertainties, to empower them to move beyond their uncertainties, and give them courage to believe in themselves.
- Your fear that your child is being bullied forces you to talk to your child about how they handle bullies and the different strategies they can use to stand up against others.
- Your fear that your child is falling behind in school forces you to understand your child’s particular learning style and identify strategies that work for your child.
5. great parents are brave
We tend to think that brave people have no fear, but that’s not the case at all. They have fear, they just don’t let the fear stop them.
You see, being brave is about hope.
It’s about moving forward in the face of uncertainty, riding the hope that you will surface on the other side better for having been on this journey.
Great parents have fear and uncertainty, but they also have hope.
They know that they will make mistakes.
They know that they will have regrets.
They know that they will suffer great heartbreak.
That doesn’t stop them, however, because they have faith in themselves and in their extraordinary child.
And that is what pushes great parents onward despite the fear and uncertainty that they live with.
But you know this.
Because you are a great parent.
You know what you are fighting for and you know that it’s a small price to pay.
So, you’re not a perfect parent.
And you do not have a perfect child.
But this child is fiercely yours and that is a truly extraordinary gift.
Don’t let your fear and uncertainty prevent you from realizing that.
* (image courtesy of Christine).
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