Let Go of Trying to Control Your Kids and Focus Instead on Influence

     I can remember some of the most important lessons I learned as a parent—and they were in the kitchen when I was trying to “get stuff done” like even just cook or do dishes.  Inevitably, one of my young children would be in the kitchen with me, and the harder I tried to control what they did, the harder it was to stay in control of my centeredness (in other words, the more I was focused on control, the more frustrated I got).  The light bulb went on for me and the easiness started happening for me when I realized that it’s not about control but about influence.  I had to learn how to just let my children be.  If they weren’t throwing anything or getting into something they shouldn’t, if they weren’t being too rough with each other or doing something that could lead to injury, if they weren’t too loud or acting disrespectfully, then it wouldn’t hurt a thing to just let them do what they were doing.  I might have preferred to do my work in peace and solace, but don’t we know that our kids grow up so fast that the peace and solace we seek will be here in the blink of an eye.  The moment I let go of trying to control my kids like that (in ways that were outside of the reasonableness of safety, respect, and responsibility) was the moment that great peace and rest flooded my soul, and my confidence in parenting grew two sizes larger.  I had to switch from the mode of control to the mode of influence.  Our job as our kids’ parent is to protect them, provide for them, guide them, and always love them.  Children learn the best way to be and live by watching us, day after day.  And if we are still caught up in the world of control, then we are short-changing ourselves and them because we are not putting forth our best self if control is the goal.  Influence, rather, is the aim.  And influence best happens when we stay in control of ourselves, stay empathetic towards others, and seek to work together to bring about unity, harmony, and positive change in our family and homes.      

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