I’m going to stop for a minute to talk about worry and how to release it because, frankly, it’s freaking you and your child out and it’s not making him any safer. While it’s important to be informed about the dangers your child faces, such knowledge is destructive when it spirals into worry and obsession about his safety.
Worrying is not a sustainable state; a normal person simply can’t maintain that anxious state of mind and remain sane. Plus, it’s shrinking your brain mass, making you age faster, and lowering your IQ. Look it up; it’s science.
Worrying leads to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, which are paralyzing. So, to escape those awful feelings, many people dive into denial, choosing instead to avoid the subject. But denial of danger doesn’t enhance your child’s safety, it compromises it.
Author and personal protection expert Gavin de Becker notes that, “Worry fights off that dreadful feeling that there’s nothing we can do, because worrying feels like we’re doing something…” Just reading that observation helped me to kick most of my worrying to the curb!
Here’s what I do when my mind starts wigging out at 3 a.m. as I envision something horrible happening to my grandbabies. As soon as I catch my thoughts spinning out of control, I blink my eyes closed and say to myself “Control-Alt-Delete” and then open my eyes. Those of you who are computer literate know that pressing “Control-Alt-Delete” on your keyboard will enable you to reboot your computer. Do this blinking exercise as many times as it takes until the boogeyman in your head goes away.
Okay, you think it sounds stupid or too simple, but I’m telling you there’s something about mentally thinking “Control-Alt-Delete” and blinking your eyes that takes the needle off that murdery broken record playing in your head.
Don Joseph Goeway, author of The End of Stress, Four Steps to Rewire Your Brain, uses a different technique called “The Clear Button” to stop worry in its tracks, which you can read about in his book. He notes that, “Nature gave us a 90-second window to bust stressful thinking before it takes a long walk off a short pier,” and the more you use techniques that divert stressful thoughts (like the Clear Button or my clever little blink mantra), the stronger the synapses that end worry grow.
I love the way Goeway explains how it works: “The part of the brain that causes stress reactions literally has the intelligence of a toddler. And every parent knows you don’t stop a tantrum by appealing to a child’s logic. You distract the child. This tool distracts the terrible two-year-old in your brain from casting you off the deep end.”
So next time you can’t sleep because you have visions of predatory sugarplums dancing in your head, try using the “Control-Alt-Delete” maneuver or the Clear Button and get some sleep!
Be the parent your child deserves!
the Badass Grandma
Author of Badass Parenting: An Irreverent Guide to Raising Safe, Savvy,
Confident Kids (to be released in June 2020)
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About Badass Parenting
In Badass Parenting: An Irreverent Guide to Raising Safe, Savvy, Confident
Kids , danger expert CJ Scarlet helps parents teach their children how to avoid and handle themselves in scary situations ranging from bullying and digital dangers to sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and kidnapping.
After reading this book, you’ll feel more knowledgeable and confident in your ability to talk candidly with your child at her age and maturity level without scaring her to death. It’s time to ditch the worry and get some sleep!
Edgy, funny, and irreverent, this unputdownable book (with TONS of downloadable bonus content!) is the new bible for parents looking to raise safe, savvy, confident kids.
“Badass Parenting is like a triple-dark chocolate cheesecake, with a layer of mousse in the middle (hint: the mousse is CJ Scarlet’s humor and style – which helps lighten up the cheesecake!). You will love this book!” — Karen Christie, Mom & Grandma