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This week, I want to talk about leapfrog thoughts. I came up with this term to describe the leaps and bounds of an unmanaged mind imagining the worst-case scenarios, as I used to do when my children did things I thought were incorrect. I remember when I was teaching and the school provided YMCA pre-K daycare, I watched Lily from afar begging for the teacher to hold her and bawling her eyes out at 10:30 in the morning. My brain instantly jumped to “oh no, she’s never going to be sociable, she’s never going to go to prom!”
In hindsight, that was a massive jump — a leap right over normal, rational conclusions about Lily’s behavior, such as “this is normal for kids her age, because they haven’t developed an internal Self yet and still rely on external validation, and many still need a lot of attention.” I only saw what I wanted to see, which was that Lily was not an extrovert like I was at her age. We want our kids to be like us because then we can relate to them — and then when they’re NOT like us, instead of learning from them and growing from them and evolving from them, we try to mold them into this cookie cutter version of us. That’s where some of the biggest conflict happens.
As I have mentioned many times before, the human mind has an unconscious mind with 3 primitive objectives (seek pleasure, avoid pain, maximize efficiency in doing these two things), and the conscious mind of rational thought and decision-making is precariously overlaid on top of the unconscious hodgepodge. Leapfrog thoughts like “Lily is never going to go to prom” are very much a mark of the unmanaged unconscious mind at work. The good news is, once you’re onto yourself, you can slow those thoughts down and play them out in your mind.
Now, what does that mean? It means exactly what it sounds like. Go over that worst-case scenario. Confront it, analyze it, and challenge it. If you aren’t leading by example and teaching your kids to be that way, they most likely won’t end up in that scenario! And if despite your efforts they do stray from your ideal path, that’s because it’s their path and their experience. Your kids are going to have to visit the full gamut of life experiences, and that’s how they’ll figure their stuff out.
As you rein in your leapfrog thoughts, make peace with the ever-present state of being, and accept the as-is, you will find that it is a happy way to live. You’ve got this!
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