That’s a painful thought, but a common one. I’ve had it many times myself.
One of the things that has helped my relationship with my daughter was letting go of all of my expectations for how my daughter’s life should turn out.
When you think your life would be so much easier if your teen was not abusing substances, that thought is causing you pain and keeping you from seeing your choices about what you can control in the situation.
Even if your teen wasn’t abusing substances, they wouldn’t live up to your dreams about how their life should turn out.
We all have this best case scenario in our minds for our children’s lives, and its just not reality.
I am a member of a group coaching program where I get to see a lot of mothers get coaching about their kids.
It’s fascinating to see that no matter how good their kid is doing, they are panicked about grades, or laziness, or not being motivated to get jobs, their life choices, all the things that come up with kids.
When I first watched those mothers getting coached, I thought about all our differences.
I thought about how it was harder for me because my daughter abused substances and those other mothers had no idea how easy their problems were.
But one day it hit me.
It’s the same for them!
They haven’t experienced what I’ve experienced, so they’re just as worried about junior high grades ruining their teen’s entire life as I am about how substance abuse will ruin my daughters life.
It’s all relative to their life experiences and circumstances.
Their thoughts that their child isn’t on the track to their dream life for them, are just as painful as my thoughts that my child isn’t on track for my dream life for her.
At that moment I realized, life would not be so much better if my daughter wasn’t abusing substances.
Our brains are wired to look for what is wrong.
Not to look for what is right.
How often do you find yourself running through the list of things that can go right or will be amazing?
Unless you are conscious about it, your brain defaults to all the things that are wrong.
This is how I know, my life would not be so much better if…..
My life is better today because I work at making it better every day.
Not because of any circumstance in my life.
I am not saying we shouldn’t have rules and expectations for our kids.
I am saying that our happiness should not be attached to them.
The reason we get so attached to whether our kids meet our expectations or not is because of what we make their actions mean about us and how painful that is.
We are good parents when our child meets our expectations.
We are bad parents when our kids don’t meet our expectations.
Everyone fails in this situation.
You unhappiness and your child’s unhappiness is guaranteed.
When you drop all of that, you can be truly present with who your child is, figure out how to stay neutral about what they do, and be confident in yourself as a parent no matter what your child is doing.
You get to be the thermostat for your life, you aren’t a thermometer checking your teen’s temperature to see how you should feel that day.