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Feelings Support Parent Leadership

October 10, 2017

Justine and her boys burrow together on the sofa watching Pirates of the Caribbean. When she stands, Jacob whines and Justine feels a flash of annoyance. Immediately she sits down, telling herself a “good mother” stays with her children even when she doesn’t want to.

An hour later when it’s time for bed, the boys argue and complain (as usual) and Justine gets angry (as usual). A nice evening falls apart.

But really… where is Justine’s anger coming from?

We don’t always understand where our feelings come from, but they are there, a constant presence in us, too often upsetting the equilibrium of ordinary days. Who has time to make sense of them when every parent's life is crammed with action? The morning routine is only the start of a long day of To Do's. Parents become quite skilled at pushing their feelings away.

"Parenting is not about me. It's about taking care of my kids. I don't have time to figure out my feelings."

The truth is – feelings are gold. Gold.

Every human being is given the opportunity to:
Feel feelings
Know their value
Especially parents.

As parents, we are overwhelmed by feeling. Being a parent is intensely emotional. The smallest parent-child interactions trigger feelings, making their presence both a conundrum and an opportunity.

Blocking, dismissing or ignoring feelings is throwing away crucial information about ourselves. The more we block a feeling, the stronger the feeling becomes. It's why Justine snaps at her children. Instead of listening to her feeling when watching the movie, she sits back down "out of duty."

Feelings don't go away because we wish them away. They merely move in wait for the next best opportunity to be released. This is how we end up parenting from reactivity.

Wow, we think, where did that come from?

Feelings are gold because of what they have to tell us about ourselves. But we have to be willing to move towards them, not away.

Justine's idea of good parenting excludes her own needs. Guilt prevents her from taking care of herself first. As a result, Justine will always feel like her children are taking advantage of her, especially when she solves the problem of guilt by sacrificing her own needs for her children.

How we answer this question, "What am I feeling and why do I feel this way?" determines the arc of who we become as parents and who we become as human beings.

It’s that powerful and that simple.

What Parents Are Saying

"At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I often credit Kimberly with saving our lives – at the very least, she’s provided us with support that has dramatically changed our lives. Kimberly asks hard questions, and holds my feet to the fire. She has a gift for asking the right questions, and coming up with strategies that are manageable, comprehensible and always on target. I can’t say enough about her skills and talents. I would highly recommend her to any struggling family."
- Single mother of two adopted boys (ages 9 &13)
"Kimberly has been a God-send to me. She always gets where I’m coming from and supports me while giving me guidance, tools and hope. She has a clear, incisive, on-target vision of parenting and individual growth. She has repeatedly helped me come out of murky confusion into clarity, out of anxiety, fear and worry into feeling empowered, and out of goofing up into acting wisely."
- Single mother of an 18 year-old
"Kimberly’s approach is to focus on the parent first. She knows that to really tackle these situations the parent must see how their own issues are affecting the parent/child relationship. Her approach is caring, no-nonsense and action oriented. I would definitely recommend her."
- Single father of three (ages 9, 9, 12)
"I wanted to take just a minute to write a quick thank you for your services as a parent coach on behalf of myself and my wife. Although we have only worked together a few short months as we prepare for the birth of our third child, you have been nothing short of amazing. We sometimes wonder how we managed as parents before we met you! We feel more confident and calm as we parent our kids together. We look forward to continuing our work together and would and do highly recommend you to all parents, looking to be the parents they want to be an the parents their kids need them to be!"
- Father of two (ages 3 & 5)
"I worked with Kimberly recently for some parent coaching in resolving issues with my teenager. She is superb at finding the right balance of coaching, guidance and providing practical tools. She is insightful and encouraging but also knows when to provide the necessary push me to look deeper at my reactions to given situations. She advocates using curiosity to manage difficult situations, and has equipped me with tools that I am using every day. I will continue working with Kimberly going forward so that I can “be the parent that my child needs me to be” (as Kimberly is fond of saying!) I strongly urge any parent to work with Kimberly, especially when a parent is confronted with recurring challenging interaction with your child."
- Mother and stepmother of four teenagers