The #1 Emotion That Undercuts Your Parenting

By Toni Birdsong


We go through several dozen emotions in the course of a day (or even an hour) as parents. But there’s one emotion I consider the “stealth bomber” of parenting that creeps in quietly and, if left unchecked, can cause some pretty serious damage.

That stealth, thieving emotion is fear. We seldom hear it coming or even notice it’s taken up residence in our thinking. So it takes a while before we even know to send it packing.

It’s confession time so I’ll go first.

Fear is why I may skip monitoring my child’s cell phone at the end of a long day. I fear what I might find and I simply don’t have the energy to address anything heavy.

Fear makes me second-guess myself when I give clear consequences then allow wiggle room when rules are broken. I fear that I’m being too hard or that my tough rules will isolate my child and sever our bond.

Fear convinces me that I can give in to pleas to extend curfew by 30 minutes, or what the heck, how about an hour? I fear coming across as “that parent” who gets accused of being the mean, unfeeling tyrant set on siphoning fun from my kids.

And let’s …read more

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