Can I use this? Be driven there? Be bought that? Invite such and-such over?
It’s hard to be the recipient of rapid-fire school holiday requests from our kids.
Mark and Sarah were in the thick of this with their two early-high schoolers. There was building resentment at how much they were being called on for, and concern that they were somehow growing up ‘entitled’ kids. They each wanted to give their children childhoods with happy memories but were stretched and flagging from all they were doing trying to keep the kids ‘happy’ after so many unhappy COVID months.
Their stress was primarily showing up in them zigzagging between being over-accommodating and reactively exploding in ways they didn’t feel good about.
We tackled this on a few fronts. Firstly it was important to note that as kids move into their teen years it is normal for them to ask at 5:56pm (just as you are putting dinner on) for a lift to a questionable-sounding gathering that they and their friends literally just arranged 7mins ago.
Mark and Sarah, as part of their Parenting Reset, mapped out the requests they were finding most taxing.
From there we brainstormed what value-driven limits they could pre-emptively set with the kids.
Next we worked out some pre-formulated Emotion Coaching responses they could reach for to kindly but powerfully hold to those limits in the thick of the ‘urgent askings’.
We stay most empathetic when we remember it is our child’s job to check where the limits are, and our job to let them know. If we are scared of them being disappointed then we are robbing them of opportunities to learn how to process that feeling.
I’m Mel and you can hear from me each Sunday night on topics like this if you subscribe to the Love Parenting Newsletter.