A friend once told me how her dad's commanding style created stress for the entire family when she was growing up.
“Chop! Chop!” he’d yell, slapping his hands together to convey his sense of urgency.He had very little awareness of other people’s needs—or that different needs are actually something to pause and consider.
Even family outings at the lake were a misery.
No sleeping in on a lazy Saturday morning for them! My friend and her siblings had to get up NOW and getting moving NOW so they could get to the lake for a day of sailing.
Chop! Chop! Let’s go! Everybody up!
Never mind that the kids didn't share his love of sailing. Or that they had different preferences for spending the weekend. Or that they would have liked to move at a slower, more enjoyable pace.
Nope. They had to fall in line and fall in line quickly.
Her father's enforcement of HIS needs onto the family caused a lot of resentment and bitter feelings. Not exactly the premium experience of closeness and connection he was hoping to achieve.
This is what happens when we assume the position of drill sergeant.
Believe me, I've certainly played that role.
Without boundary awareness, I can be commanding, demanding, and incredibly impatient.
That's why BOUNDARY WORK is so crucial.
When we're able to set boundaries with OURSELVES (so we can pause and consider the needs of others), we can tap into an authentic power that unifies instead of divides.
There's a big difference between taking charge and controlling others, dear one.
And you'll know which mode you're in by the reaction of the people around you.
Is it relief? Respect? Or resentment?
Humans of all ages want HEALTHY leadership. They want someone who will respect them and treat them like an equal instead of an inferior being whose needs and desires simply don't matter.
Good leaders LISTEN.
They don't see themselves as superior.
They don't use shame or comparisons to "motivate" their family or team.
They admit mistakes and are willing to learn and grow.
Just imagine what my friend's memories of her dad would have been if he'd slowed down long enough to actually connect with her.
What if he'd been curious about her inner reality?
What if he'd gone to the lake by himself to set up the site for the rest of the family and relaxed until they met with him later?
Instead of "Chop! Chop!", what if he had simply PAUSED and slowed his breathing?
Can you feel the answer in your body?
Of course you can. And I think that's all you really need to know.
Sending you so much love,
P.S. If you tend to be a controlling parent, please be kind to yourself. You need support, not criticism! And please don't think I'm asking you to swing to the other side of the spectrum and let chaos reign supreme. You DO need to establish guidelines and rules in order to keep your kids safe and to help them learn and grow.
Just remember that your child's well-being includes the right to be separate from you. Your children deserve personal freedom to explore who they are (and what they like) within safe and healthy parameters.
I know this work isn't easy. So if you're struggling, let's talk .CLICK HERE for a free consultation. And be encouraged! Boundaries really are the solution to most of your problems. xo