The illusion of control

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By Melissa Ford

Coach - Personal & Business

“Parenthood is one long exercise in relinquishing control -- or the illusion that we ever had it.” 
~ Jane Adams

When I first became a parent, I knew I’d be in control and have control (yes, I’m a recovering control freak). I’d have an organized, efficiently run household; creative, happy, smart kids; everyone would get along (I’d make sure of it!); and I’d never look exhausted or crazed.

It was a powerful thought, this illusion of control, providing me with fleeting feelings of confidence and safety until our oldest child became a professional sleepwalker and our youngest child transformed from cute to colicky. I now felt exhausted, looked exhausted and was certifiably crazed. 

So much for having control . . .   

But I wasn’t a very quick learner as evidenced by my multiple memory lapses, confusing being in charge with being in control. Thank goodness my son quickly straightened me out so I didn’t suffer too long under this painful illusion. His teaching style was simple. He’d exercise his free will often, which almost never aligned with my rules. 

So much for having control . . . 

If being in charge wasn’t being in control, then how could I most effectively instill my values and guide my children to be the young adults I wanted them to be? 

By using my real power. . . my ability to influence through my actions.

Yes! Good old-fashioned role modeling, requiring me to possess the qualities I valued and to live what I preached. By parenting from my integrity, I tried my best to live my truth. Far from perfect, it wasn’t always easy holding myself to the same standard I held my kids to, but I learned that influencing my children through my actions had longer, lasting effects as I witness them growing into the young adults I always wanted them to be.  

So much for having control. . . 


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