Don’t Freak Out!


“I told her, whatever you do, don’t freak out.”  – my husband, recalling advice he gave to a friend going through a troubling time with her pre-teen son.

That, my friends, is brilliant advice for those of us in the trenches of parenting.  Especially for us moms – we tend to be the big freaker-outers.  :)

And why wouldn’t we be?  We spent nine agonizing months nurturing those children inside our bodies, and after they came out, it was our job to supply this completely dependent human being with everything they needed to survive.

But after a few years, there’s this new trajectory.  They start to become more and more independent, and let’s face it, we hate that.  So we keep trying to grab back the control.  When they make a mistake, we want to clean up the mess.  When they rebel, we want to “fix” them.

Here’s the cold, hard truth: when we freak out, our kids will take their behavior underground.  Instead of working towards change, they will just try harder to hide it from you.

I offer a kinder, gentler, dare I say it, godlier way to handle those parenting moments that send us into a frightful panic:

  1. Instead of punishing, allow natural consequences to discipline.
  2. Gently and calmly show them the right way (including providing any necessary tools), and give them the opportunity to do the right thing.
  3. Give them confidence to do the right thing by telling them you believe they will (even if you don’t).
  4. LET IT GO.  Refuse to give in to the temptation to remind them of past mistakes.
  5. Be there to pick up the pieces if they blow it again.  Rinse and repeat steps 1-5.  :)

And through it all, DON’T FREAK OUT!





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