Is Your Child An Emotion Addict?

Dec 14, 2020

Whenever someone joins the Real Life Momming group, I ask them: If I could wave a magic wand and make one parenting wish come true, what would it be? The most common answer has always been: "No more yelling!"

We all do it. We all know we shouldn't do it. And, we all struggle to stop doing it.  

But don't give up your quest for less yelling, because the less we yell, the sooner our kids make better choices. And the key to less yelling is something I like to call: giving less craps about kids' behavior (aka 'neutrality' if you want to get all fancy about it). Is that possible? Is that even healthy?!?!

Many of my clients feel weird about this at first. It feels almost WRONG to be so blasé about kid's behavior!  Isn't it important for kids to know how their bad choices hurt others?  Don't we need to show them how upset we are when they do wrong, or how proud we are when they do right?

The answer is no! The problem with getting emotional when we discipline is that humans have an addiction to emotion just as strong as any drug addiction! When a drug addict has no access to drugs, they make lots of good decisions (like getting a job, paying debts, not breaking the law, etc.) But as soon as drugs are on the table, an addict is incapable of making any choice other than the one that will give them a hit. When it comes to emotion, people are just the same. We are hardwired to want emotional intensity from the people around us, which makes our kids powerless to stop the behaviors that give them their 'hit'.  So, when we get intense we are:

  • Incentivizing our kids' bad behaviors
  • Blocking them from ever making a better choice
  • Feeling confused and frustrated when they do the same misbehavior over and over again (which repeats the cycle of intensity)!

The other problem with emotional parenting is that it is damn hard to stop! We adults are emotion addicts too.  We desperately want closeness, connection and love from our relationships with our kids, and our brains don't care if we get it in unhealthy ways, like a screaming power struggle, for example.

So, while it's very important for us to have tons of emotion showing unwavering love for our kids, it is just as important for us to show NO emotion about the decisions they make. The goal is loads of emotion around our relationship, and very little around our discipline.  Tricky, right?!?!

I preach this stuff all day long and it's tricky for me too. No one can do this alone.

  • We need to learn skills to handle behavior without intensity.
  • We need an empathic and safe space to explore our emotions and grow (so we actually DO give less craps about our kids' behavior)! And,
  • We need to know we're not alone - amazing parents just like us are walking this same tightrope every day.

This is why I created a lifetime coaching program for all the ups and downs of parenthood, at an affordable price that makes it the best thing you will ever do for yourself and your family, and a total no-brainer.  Parenting is hard and intense. This coaching group makes it easier, healthier, and a hell of a lot more fun!