Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Acting As If

This whole parenting thing is really tricky. We say we know what we're doing and walk through each day as the adults, the wise ones. But most of the time, I don't know about you, I haven't a clue.

Janey, my oldest, is throughly entrenched in the dreaded pre-teen years. I've been assured by my friends with teenagers that this is the hard part (please, let this be the hard part...because if it gets any trickier than this, I may have to quit). She's hormonal. She's emotional. She's unpredictable. She's grouchy and miserable most of the time. On my good days, I can roll with it. She can be as irritable and agitated as can be, and I'm cool. But on my not-so-good days, look out! She and I can get into it like nobody's business. I try to be patient and kind. I attempt to be the bigger person, and not get rattled. Sometimes it works.

What does seem to be working for me, at this point, however is Acting As If. This is a trick I learned in working my Al-Anon program. The deal is, you act (pretend) like you know what you're doing until you figure it out. By the time you've figured it out, you're a pro and on to the next challenge. When I remember to do this, and keep my freak-outs at bay, we're all happier. I've subscribed recently to Scott Noelle's Daily Groove. He's an alternative-minded parenting guru. I really like what he has to say. When you subscribe, you get a little tid-bit of parenting wisdom delivered straight to your email inbox each morning. Very cool. The other day, he offered this:

"The trick is to practice the paradoxical art of being *confidently uncertain*.

Instead of pretending you know what you're doing (which doesn't work), you enthusiastically *embrace* your cluelessness! Then you focus on your ability to find your way...

"I have NO IDEA how to handle this situation! But I know I can figure it out. I've faced the unknown and found my way before, and I can do it again."

This works for kids because their security is based on feelings rather than logic. They can feel your confident vibe, and that's enough."

I like that. I'm happily embracing my cluelessness today.

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