When our children are born we start off with nearly 100% control over them, We decide what and when they eat, what they wear, who they spend time with, and when they sleep (well maybe not that one so much).
And then they grow up.
As they get older, they start to make their own decisions and our level of control decreases. We no longer have control over things like what and when they eat, what they wear, who they hang out with, and when they sleep (well nothing has changed here).
While we worry, stress, and turn gray over the things we can not control with our children, it's the circle of life, we did it, our parents did it, and so on. So instead of trying to control things we can not, let's focus on what we can control. Find ways you can still impact and influence their future, planting the seeds of success and support as they grow up and grow old.
During this time we can be the example of the behaviors we want for them. Those behaviors that will build a strong foundation for when the time comes for them to make their own decisions, far away from our influence.
So show them what it's like to make good decisions and how they impact the future. Talk to them about the decisions that brought you to where you are, celebrate the success, and share the missed opportunities.
Help them learn about good hygiene and how that can affect their health, and possibly medical bills as well. Teach them to brush their teeth, take a shower, wear deodorant, and deal with their periods. These are life skills we take for granted.
Show them what self-respect looks like. Explain the importance of standing up for themselves, and believing in themselves. Show by example how much we should love all the parts that make us, us.
Teach them how to learn from mistakes, there is always a lesson there. Let them know about the lessons you've learned, the opportunities gained and lost, and how your mistakes helped you grow.
Help them learn to be domestic. Teach how to cook, shop, do laundry and fix a flat tire. Their future partner will thank you one day.
Show them that self-care is not selfish. Show them the importance of learning to relax. Share that most things look better after taking a breath and relaxing. Let them know it's okay to do whatever they need to be okay with themselves.
Teach them to stay positive. Help them find the silver lining in every situation, there is always a gift to be found. And show them how to laugh whenever possible, they say it's the best medicine.
Show them the importance of respecting others. Use "pleases" and "thank yous", hold the door open for others, share what you have with those that don't. Be the example of treating everyone kindly, with understanding, acceptance, and love.
Be the example of a good friend and partner. Surround yourself with positive relationships, let them see what they should do and what they should expect from others.
Live with your morals and values leading the way. Show them what life can be when you are true to yourself and follow your personal moral compass.
Our kids are always watching, so while you still have control, be the example of what you want your children to be. You are planting the seeds as they grow to find themselves.
With that level of support, and some good hair dye, we can feel better about losing control and letting go, because one thing is for sure, it's going to happen.
How much control do you have? Is that where you want to be?
ref and h/t to Positive Discipline, Lynn Lott and Jane Nelson