When my daughter was a teenager, I could make it through the day. But at night time, when my head hit the pillow, in the dark is when it would begin. I would toss and turn, worried about my kid....Who was she with? What was she doing? Would she finish school? Would she be able to get into college? Am I doing the right thing? What was I thinking when I let her....? This litany of fears would spin out of control and take me to some very dark places. My mind could take me (if I let it) from sweet daughter to pregnant and living at home in less than 10 seconds! (By the way, my daughter just finished her Masters and got a job shortly after she graduated. Our worst fears are mostly unfounded.)
In recent study they found that "85 per cent of what subjects worried about, never happened with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions."
We worry because we think:
Maybe I'll find a solution.
I don't want to overlook anything.
If I keep thinking a little longer, maybe I'll figure it out.
I don't want to be surprised.
I want to be responsible.
Why it is important to stop worrying?
It shrinks our brain mass and lowers our IQ.
Causes premature aging...(You know all those grey hairs we blame our kids for!)
It often creates marital problems.
It paralyzes us and keeps us from seeing the facts clearly.
It zaps our energy and tears down our immune system. It makes us cranky and reactive parents.
It communicates distrust for our teen even though we may never "say" anything.
5 Ways to Stop Worrying
1. When you catch yourself worrying, replace the thought with a more positive thought. Just trying to stop the "whirling dervish" isn't sufficient. You will find yourself right back there in no time. My more positive thought substitution was, "I choose peace instead of this." Sometimes I would have to say this numerous times before a sense of calm came over me.
2. Think of 10 things you love about your teen. This helps to change your focus from what is wrong to what is right.
3. Think of one small thing you can do to improve on the situation. For example if your teen is getting a bad grade in math, get her a tutor. If your son seems depressed, get him into therapy. If you are worried about not being able to communicate, get coaching or take a parenting class.
4. Get clear. Journal, pray, talk to God, talk to your partner. When you get clear, you will more than likely know exactly what you need to do or say.
5. Trust your teen and trust that you have taught them well.
Trusting our child's path is one of the most difficult but rewarding challenges parents have. It is a path worth taking.
Note: If you feel your child is in danger, trust that feeling and get help.
Make a commitment today to stop worrying.
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