How to Stop Over Parenting

We have the facts about how over parenting or over functioning in our relationships is harmful to our children and the relationships we are in. Perhaps the past two episodes of the Love Your Life Show have served to illuminate some paradigms that our outdated and unhelpful. We recognize the harms of codependency and our lack of training in emotional intelligence. We are ready. Let’s learn how to stop over parenting!

However, how to start? How do be step away from over-parenting? What are the ways that can stop over functioning in our relationships? What does a codependent free relationship even look like? Where to start Susie?!?

Stop Over-Parenting by Beginning with Yourself

First we start by looking in the mirror. Before parenting or fixing others and their emotional state, we get to start parenting and fixing our own emotional state. Rather than thinking we need to do something to help the other person, let’s first ask, what do we need to help ourselves?

Einstein quote, Susie Pettit, parent coach, overparenting, over parentingCodependency and feeling responsible for other people’s emotional state is exhausting. Thinking that we have the ability to control how another human is thinking and feeling is inaccurate and unhelpful. For us and for them. On the other hand, how would we know differently? If we are feeling responsible for other people’s feelings and emotions it is because that is what was modeled for us in our family and educational system. It does not help us to beat ourselves up or shame ourselves for doing what we’ve been taught to do. Change comes when we can compassionately accept what is and move forward differently.

When we don’t have a grasp of emotional intelligence and are unsure how to process our own emotions, we feel fear. This is human. Normal and natural. Furthermore, staying in judgment of yourself keeps you stuck in this pattern.  thinking the other people in our life will feel an uncomfortable emotion.

This is not about blame, shame, or feeling bad about ourselves and our past thoughts and actions. That gets us no where. If you are over parenting or lawnmower or helicopter parenting, it is because you don’t know any better, not because you’re trying to screw up your kids or relationships. This is about accepting what was and moving forward differently.

How to Feel Your Feelings so as to Stop Over Parenting

1) Name it.

Feelings are one word. Say what you feel. Choose to increase your emotional vocabulary. Google feeling words. Print up your favorite. Here is one of my favorite lists.

2) Describe it.

Emotions are energy in your body. A fundamental part of how to stop over-parenting lies in our knowledge of how emotions are processed in our body. First we name the emotion we are interested in processing and then we describe it. This step requires you to stop thinking and start feeling it in your body. Get out of your head.

The more descriptive you get the better. Become aware of what your different emotions feel like for you? Where do you feel the feeling? What does sadness feel like? What does loneliness feel like? Where exactly do you feel anxiety in your body?stress response, breaking patterns, how to stop overparenting, Susie Pettit, emotional regulation

Some people like describing their emotion with color or with temperature. Does anger feel hot or cold to you? Red or white? Remember to stay in the bodily sensations versus getting in your head to argue that you shouldn’t be feeling what you’re feeling. The feeling is there.  Let yourself feel what you’re feeling. Feel it to heal it.

Which brings us to the third step of processing emotion: 

3) Sit with it.

Allow yourself to feel the emotion. The physical sensation of even the most uncomfortable feeling is not acutely painful. It’s not like getting shot or cutting yourself with a knife. The physical sensation of an emotion will pass within 60-90 seconds. It is like when you stub your toe. It feels acute and strong in the begging and then it begins to dissipate when you sit and allow yourself to feel it. 

Moreover, remember: humans are designed to feel feelings. There is no emotion too difficult or too painful to feel. The pain and the difficulty arise when we don’t allow ourselves to feel it.  Your strength and growth comes when you sit and allow the energy of the emotion move through you.

Time to Practice Emotional Intelligence

Practice the above 3 steps consciously as many times as you can during your day with both big and small emotions.

  • How do you feel when waiting in line at the grocery store? Name it. Describe it. Sit with it.
  • How do you feel when you see your husband after a day of work? Name it. Describe where you feel it in your body. Sit with it.

We get good at what we practice. Let’s practice emotional intelligence.  When I was beginning this I began by setting a timer to go off at 3 different times during the day. The timer said “what are you feeling?” and I would stop and run through those three steps.

As a parent, begin modeling how you move through the 3 steps. Name it, describe it, allow it. Choose to feel this week. No extra drama needed.

If you’d like support with this and you haven’t taken my parenting course yet, what are you waiting for? You can get started feeling better today.

If you’re a woman over 40 and you want support as you move away from codependency and towards interdependent, more fulfilling relationships, make sure you’re a part of our Midlife Warrior Membership. There’s no long term commitment. Stay as long as you want to feel better and a part of the best community online. You matter to me, mama!