I worry. I will lay awake at night worried about the stress my daughter is under over college decisions and high school exams. I worry my oldest won’t pick the “right” college major or how she is adjusting to college life, and that my 14 year doesn’t like to read. None of this worry of course does me any good, but I can’t seem to stop. I have though learned over the years how to keep it in check and in perspective (most of the time). Here are four things I do to stop myself from becoming overwhelmed with worry.
It’s Their Journey
Over my 19 years of parenting 4 very different kids, the one thing I have definitely learned is that you can’t rush their journey. And their development and path is just that – a journey not a destination. Every child will develop at different speeds and in different ways. The earlier you can make peace with this and learn to accept it the easier your parenting journey will become (and the less worrying you will do). They will get to where they are going when they are ready. Our job as parents is to guide them and protect them not show them the destination.
Find a Mentor
Seeking advice from a parent who has similar values and older kids can really help you keep things in perspective. Chances are these parents have gone through similar things or know of other parents who have and their reassuring voice and words of wisdom can help a lot. Find someone you admire and trust and don’t be afraid to ask their advice.
Stay Focused on Values
When Joe and I started out on our parenting journey we got crystal clear on the primary values we wanted to teach our children and we work hard every day to live and teach these values to our kids. We certainly aren’t perfect and make many mistakes, but one thing I know for sure is that our kids definitely have a strong understanding of our core family values. So when they head down paths or make choices that make me worry, I always stop and ask myself “Are they living out the values?” If the answer is yes, then I try not to get caught up in the details of how they are doing it. This has helped a lot when it comes to letting them figure out how to get their homework done, study for a test, and manage their money. I still give them advice, but I try very hard not to tell them how to do it.
Trust in a Higher Power
My faith is important to me and I rely heavily on it every day. For me it’s God, for you it may be the Universe, Allah, or something else. When you are worried, afraid, and unsure sometimes the only thing you can do is trust in something bigger than you.
I think the day we decided to become parents, we were destined for a life of worry. It will probably never completely go away, but for our sake and the sake of our kids let’s try and find ways of making peace with the worry.