“We can’t tell Grandma and Grandpa that they won’t get hugs when we come over!”
“I can’t let him have a full blown meltdown at the neighborhood pool!”
“I can’t schedule play dates because something might go south.”
“I can’t tell people that we don’t go to birthday parties right now because it’s too much for my Orchid!”
These are all examples of what Orchid Raisers class participants have told us has come up in their lives at one point or another.
Here’s the common dilemma:
- There’s a societal “norm” that their Orchid can’t meet right now (and no amount of cajoling or convincing is going to help them meet it), and
- Parents feel stuck in the middle of Society and Their Child.
The choice feels so binary:
- Either I flout society’s rules altogether and teach my child that they don’t have to live in the world OR
- I have to force my child to comply with The Rules.
But here’s a tip: if Brain is telling you something is Binary – there’s a really good chance, it is WRONG.
Stress causes us to function from the more primitive, survival-based parts of our brain. The survival brain wants to do three things (and only three things):
- Avoid pain
- Seek pleasure
- Conserve energy
The best way to do all of these things is to Solve Problems. Quickly.
And what’s the best way to solve a problem?
Choose between two options and lock that shit down.
Primitive Brain works best in a survival situation. It’s what keeps us alive.
But in modern life, there are very few situations that require actual survival.
When your child is melting down at the pool, your brain will tell you that that is a Big Problem To Be Solved.
But notice that when someone else’s child is screaming their head off, your brain doesn’t have that same reaction. It’s a minor annoyance, sure, but it’s certainly not Life and Death.
So, the answer to the false choice above is actually:
C: None of the above.
The fact is:
Using your prefrontal cortex (that uniquely human brain part) you can come up with creative solutions that are good for your child in the moment AND will set them up for success later.
You might need a little help doing that right now, but you can totally do it.
- You can manage your in-laws’ desire for physical contact with your child AND give your child the support they need.
- You can come up with a plan for when things are amping up at the pool.
- You can figure out play dates that will work for your child.
- You can devise a strategy for how to handle birthday parties.
Does it involve letting go of what other people might think?
Does it involve getting creative about rules, routines and discipline?
Is it worth rejecting the false dichotomy of “Society or My Child?”
PS – we spend LOTS of time exploring the notion of other people’s opinions in our Raising Orchid Kids classes, and it really helps folks get unstuck. Registration for our next class, beginning in September, is already open and filling up quickly. We still have spots available – maybe one is yours?
PPS – Who do you know who wants to read this?