The incredible value of a safe space.

Today I want to share a case study, and I’m giving you the happy ending right away:

“Thank you for making this such a safe place to fall apart and then get back up again feeling stronger.”

A mom in my private coaching practice for parents, the Ninja Parenting Community, wrote these words yesterday.

I took that as a huge compliment!
As parents, we work really hard to create a safe space for our children to have their (developmentally necessary) meltdowns.

When this mom shared her feelings that the Ninja Parenting Community is a “safe place to fall apart,” I really felt that trust!
For a member to describe the community in this way, made my heart sing.

Parents bring me their deepest worries and fears about their children, about the frightening situations that come up in their parenting, and about themselves as parents.

It’s exactly what we do in there! Give a safe place to ask questions, to be vulnerable, and ultimately so parents can learn how to handle what you’re going through.
So you can get back up feeling stronger.

Here’s how this mom began her post, a few days previous:

“[My four-year-old] has been physically glued to my body or talking to me most of the last two days. He’s constantly asking questions or asking for things or asking me to play and I am so tired.
I miss my friends. He misses his friends at school and the ones we used to see on weekends. It’s lonely solo parenting  without a village of friends we can see in person.”

Lots of worries, as you can read. You are probably having many of the same worries!

As can happen when we are in a space of worrying about the future, this mom’s anxieties multiplied:

“We are now looking at a possible return for camp in August. I know he will love that in some ways but also meeting the behavior expectations is so exhausting and hard and I don’t know how else to help him there. I worry so so much about him and school and it breaking his spirit to live through 9hr days in care where he gets in trouble. And I worry about the health risks when we do have him back in care.”

And then, this mom looked way out ahead with her worries:

“The other worries I’m having are when do we know it is time to pursue testing help get supports for school?  I want him to learn to succeed in school so he can be happy and thrive.
I just fear another year of bad reports and calls home.”

It can be so easy to let our worries consume us. (I include myself in this.)

We can do something called “catastrophizing,” where we look out into the future and see nothing but the multiplication of our fears.

When that happens to me, I try to remember that there is the potential for positive things to happen, as well as negative.
When it happens to my coaching clients, we work on finding that potential for positive things to happen in their lives.

In this case, we talked a lot in the forums about all the great stuff her four-year-old was doing now, that he was unable to do at the beginning of the pandemic quarantining and lockdown.

We were able to link up these positives with the idea that as we step out into the unknown, we must remember that good things can come!

I made a list of the many ways I’d seen growth in her child, just in these last few months.
Well – I started a list.
This mom picked up that ball and ran with it:

“Thank you! That list- wow! Yeah he really is learning a lot of good stuff.
We had a cool moment this weekend I’d love to tell you about.
On his first ride [on a new bike] yesterday one of the training wheels came flying off leading to a (thankfully minor) crash.
Today he was ready to talk about it- he initially balked at my suggestion to ride at the same place and I learned he apparently thought it was his fault for being too fast or out of control.
I was able to reassure him that he had been safe and doing great following the rules and it was just broken because it either wasn’t put together right or a piece was bad.
And we went off to the school where he was thrilled to yell “the wheels aren’t falling off!” and enjoy a nice long ride.”

There’s just so much GOOD in that story.

And think of all the negative stuff this mom had to overcome just to get to the good:

– She had to handle a bike crash, after getting up the gumption to go out and ride in the first place
– She had to set aside concerns about social distancing, about missing friends, about play dates, in order to make a decision about what they would do this day
– She had worked hard with her son to, for example, not run away in public places (something he’d done both before and during the pandemic)
– She had to let go her worries about the future
– She had to shift her thinking, to be able to see all of the good stuff that had led to this point

Having a safe space to share anxieties and get support is crucial, and not just for children.

What is your safe space?

Always remember that I’m here for you.
We will get through this together!
Many hugs,

What’s up on the podcast this week:
A conversation about bothering – battling overwhelm and accomplishing what’s most important to us – with best-selling author (most recently of a fantastic book that I am loving, Why Bother?) Jennifer Louden:

What’s up in the WTOO Book Club this week:
We dive into one of the most useful ninja tactics, making no sound like yes!

If you’re signed up for the WTOO Book Club, the zoom link will wing its way into your inbox this evening, and the meeting will start at 9:30 PM EST.

If you’re not in the book club but you want to be, join at the following link:

What’s up in the Ninja Parenting Community this week:
NPC members, click the following link to read my concrete ideas for the mom whose been the subject of this email case study:

(If you’re not yet a member of NPC, click here to join!)

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