I was walking my German shepherd the other day when he saw three kittens. He began to growl and within a second, this cat came from no-where and stood between him and her kittens. She was one tenth his size but she raised her hair and did not give a second’s thought about going to battle-a battle she would not take had her own life depended on it. I was so proud of her and just moved my dog along knowing that the amazing part of this story is how she and I and all mothers share the very same and basic instinct: we protect our children, with our lives if we must. And there is no hesitation!
In this situation, the obvious danger was my dog. And all of us expect to do the same if a stranger were to threaten our children. No matter how big or how many, no one will have a clear path to our children. But what about the not so obvious dangers? What about the dangers that we do not see?
One of the greatest fears and frustrations of mothers is the lack of knowledge of what their children are up to. When parents do not know, in general, children and kids get in trouble. They get in trouble for trusting their still maturing judgment, the wrong crowd and reacting to situations they would do well to avoid. During my coaching sessions, I hear many stories from both the kids and their parents. They both have at their root one very basic and fundamental problem: lack of communication. Both state that the other party just does not listen. Parent’s arguments are of course that their kids are stubborn and they do not listen and trust them. Interestingly enough, these are the same exact points raised by the kids. And we end up with an atmosphere of frustration, anger and mistrust. All of a sudden the issue shifts from the safety of the children to the relevance of the parents, or the lack of control, or some other issue that sometimes bypasses the essential problem. Remember that fierce instinct to defend?
Communication, and lack of it, is at the root of many problems. After all, we all contend that as mothers, no one is going to love our child more than us. If only they understood that and trusted that. Up to a certain point, they do. Remember when they were young and little children, you as moms were their rock in everything. They get hungry, they look for you. They fall, they look for you. They are scared, they look for you. And somewhere along the way, we lose that connection. And our children become different. And as mothers, we lose that prestige, that blessing and we become second place to a group of strangers they call their friends.
I am not saying this is the case with everyone. However, I am saying that there are more people than not with this same problem. Our lives are set up to fail in communicating. We work or are very busy. They have more studies, more activities, and more distractions (electronics, TV, phone…). There are more demands on them and more choices. They have to do so much more with so little time. Stop for a moment and think about when we were kids growing up. How many hours of TV did we watch? How many electronic games did we have? How did we communicate with our friends after school, if ever? It is a different world and a different time we live in, and no doubt, in its own way, that much more demanding. And the demand is on all: mother and child alike.
If you take a second and pause and think about your relationship with them what would you find? Try to imagine yourself in their shoes and looking at you as a parent. What would you see? Are you there enough? As a child, where do I spend most of my time, with whom and doing what? Look at all these factors, and then try to find yourself among them. Try to see just how much of an influence you truly are? And just how much are you available for them?
The plagues of our modern society are plenty, but few are as lethal as lack of or wrong communication. Take control of your life and your child’s life back. Maximize your time with them. Look for quality and quantity. You have to adapt to the new times and learn the new ways and communicate with them and have them communicate with you. These are the demands of the new times. The instinct to protect is still there, as strong as ever. That instinct needs guidance and direction. Coaching can do that. Coaching can improve and guide a ferocious instinct!