Recently, I was listening to one of Glennon Doyle’s morning meetings where she was talking about how as a family they have learnt to listen to each other’s worries without offering fixes or solutions.
Glennon Doyle is a well known author of memoirs, Love Warrior and most recently Untamed where she shares her learnings of doing away with imposed ‘memo’s’ for how we ‘should’ be living and embracing the freedom of living fully.
In this morning meeting she shared her experience of struggle with the ‘memo’s’ we receive as parents to meet our kids’ every need, to nurture them with everything we have and to protect them from any hurt and sadness. She shared how these are not always helpful memo’s, as they can have us as parents wanting to fix and dismiss our kids worries when they share them.
Glennon talks about this in terms of how we are often encouraged to protect our kids from “stepping into the fire” when instead we need to, “hold their hand while they’re in the fire” so they can come out the other side and know they will be ok.
I loved this because I think we have become uncomfortable with responding to people’s pain and sadness in our everyday conversations, and this idea offers a way we can support our kids to express and feel their worries safely as well as a way for our kids to learn how to respond to the worries of others.
So practically how does this look day-to-day?
Glennon said they have designated time around the dinner table where they ask the kids, “what worries are on your mind this week?”
She talks about how they have all had to learn not to respond to each other’s sharing with solutions, just deep listening. She shared how they are so used to doing this that they often say to each other, “I don’t want a solution, I just need to say it.”
Doing this might mean that both our kids and us develop a stronger sense of knowing that “stepping into the fires of loss, grief, separation or friendship struggles” is ok because we are supported when we’re in the fire and we will come out the other side.
At SKATTLE we find the ‘worries’ a great reference point to be able to follow up with whether that particular worry is still there, or is it less, is it more, what’s changed? If it’s still there, how have you been coping with it?
These are not solutions but rather questions that can lead to kids starting to talk about the particular skills and strengths they are using to cope with their worries (fires) that they are drawing on and might not even realise!
We would love to hear from you with ways you check this stuff out with your kids? What has worked for your family?
Article written by SKATTLE counsellor Alex Amiet