By Melissa Ford
At a recent Community Cafe, parents were asked to come up with "action steps" for dealing with our teen substance abuse problem in Oak Park, River Forest. As we discussed possible steps, it dawned on me that it really doesn’t matter what problems we face as parents - an effective first action step in any situation is getting comfortable being uncomfortable.
Whether our sons are bullied, our daughters get into trouble at school, or our kids use drugs or alcohol - all of these problems require us to get comfortable and then do our most important job: walk directly into the problem regardless of our child's unhappy responses.
If our first action step is choosing discomfort - we become less effective problem-solvers because unhappiness clouds our thinking and shuts down our creativity. Instead of helping our children, we miss the mark becoming angry and attacking or fearful and avoiding. Either way - we lose and so do our kids.
Getting comfortable in uncomfortable situations empowers us and fortifies us to stand strong in our values, show we care, and guide our children through their challenges.
It may seem counterintuitive, but if we keep choosing comfort in conflict we will become more effective parents capable of creatively designing action steps and then powerfully taking action.