It's hard to keep our advice and opinions to ourselves...but, if we REALLY want to be helpful, the best way is to keep our mouths closed and our eyes, ears, and heart open.
I had a little discussion about someone who appreciated this reminder. She noticed that it's not at all hard for her to do this for her friends, but when it comes to her kids, she has a hard time keeping her thoughts and advice to herself. Here's what I told her:
I know!!!! It is SO challenging!!! I think there are a couple of things going on.
The biggest may be that the line that separates us parents from our children is often kind of blurred, although we don't really see that. When we have spent all their lives tending to their every need so intimately, it's hard to see them as a truly separate person. We become so heavily invested in their lives and their journey and their path. We can forget that they are NOT US (or, rather, an extension of us).
When I was pregnant, I remember reading that having a child is like seeing your heart walking around outside your body! It's intense!!!!
I think that may be some of it.
And, it's OK to recognize that intense feeling and then redirect it to something that is within our control (like organizing something that we've been avoiding or jumping into a passion) while still being present for our kids.
Of course, another piece of this is that we are hard-wired to want to help! That's a good thing; however, we often feel, understandably, that helping is an action verb, not a state of being. In fact, it's both, and it's good to parse out when to respond with action and when to respond with mindful presence. If you're not sure which, opt for the latter!
To learn more about making peaceful parenting choices, you could get in on one of the Making the Switch to Peaceful Parenting teleclasses that are being often offered. It doesn't matter where you live. Visit the Upcoming Events page to find a class that starting soon at a time that works for your schedule.
Photograph courtesy of erik lamont.