If you’ve been following me awhile you’ll know I used to have straight hair. Well, it used to look straight at least. I’ve always had curly hair, (I’ve not had it permed recently), but I’ve been straightening it for years. The control freak in me wanted it all straight and looking ‘just right’.
Why the need for control?
A few months ago, my hairdresser commented on how curly it was getting as I grew it out a bit, and asked why I don’t leave it curly. I realised I didn’t have an answer – well not one that sounded sensible anyway.
So why am I telling you about my hair and what on earth has it got to do with parenting? Simple, the control freak in me wanted my hair perfect and was controlling that thought process in my brain. When it’s curly it’s a little unruly. I’ll be honest I struggle with it (any pointers on controlling it gratefully received!). This is the same with parenting. There are parts of me that want everything to be perfect. To make sure it all ‘looks good’. To show the world I have this parenting malarkey sussed and have the ‘perfect’ child. I learnt awhile ago this is all complete rubbish! I’m not perfect and aspiring to be causes unnecessary stress.
Learning to let go
Letting go of my hair looking ‘perfect’ hasn’t been easy (ridiculous I know), but it’s the perfect analogy for my parenting. Being perfect and in control of everything isn’t top of my priority list anymore. There are plenty of much more important things to focus on. Worrying that my son has worn the same shirt to school, for 3 days in a row, ‘because it’s the comfy one’ isn’t one of them! My mum was telling me this week that I insisted on wearing the same socks to school every day for the same reason. I’m not sure what that says about how alike we are, but it reminds me the shirt thing really isn’t important!
If your internal control freak is in control maybe have a look at how helpful that is. Obviously, as parents, being in control is crucial at times and helps our children to feel safe. I know there are times when my need to control everything isn’t helpful and can actually stop my son from developing in many different ways.
Working out the difference isn’t easy. I have to make sure I’m open to hearing his needs, even when he doesn’t express those verbally. It’s very easy to miss the small signs. Looking after myself, reducing my own stress levels and letting go when I don’t need to be in control of every tiny bit of detail definitely helps.
As I’ve relaxed, I’ve seen my son relax more and grow in confidence. Slowly over time it’s helping both of us.
If you’d like some help with your inner control freak, or just to be part of a supportive group of parents come and join us in my free Facebook. www.facebook.com/groups/connectiveparentingusingnvr