Worrywart parents that obsess about their children annoy me. Hear me out. You are probably thinking, “What parent doesn’t fret over their children?” We are all prone to obsess about one thing or another with respect to our kids. I mean, kids are insane a lot of the time. Bonkers. I’m talking about those nervous, judgey parents who believe that if your parental level of worry isn’t as high as theirs that this fact alone proves they are a more caring/better parent. Don’t they understand that kids smell parental anxiety like a shark sniffs out blood? It’s not safe! We can’t let them win!
Worrywart parents might inquire, “Are you going to let Jimmy walk on that wall?”
I might respond to that worrywart parent by saying, “Actually, I’m really okay with Jimmy walking on the wall. It’s only two feet off the ground. If he falls and scrapes his knees, then maybe next time he won’t walk on the wall until he has better balance. If he succeeds in walking down the wall and does it all by himself, then he’s a more confident kid. Besides, this margarita isn’t going to drink itself and I don’t feel like screaming at Jimmy to make him get off the wall.”
Okay, I may put my drink down in that situation, but only because I’m a pragmatist since if Jimmy falls then I have to get band-aids and Neosporin and that will delay my margarita consumption even longer. When I worry about my children, I’m telling them I don’t think they’re going to be okay, or that they can’t do things for themselves. I see only problems and gloom. Those fearful parents who can’t let their kids get hurt equate worry with love. I am guilty of using the “worry” word in reference to my children, but I vow to stop right now. Worry is, and will always be, a useless emotion. Fucking self-defeating and virtually unproductive. It takes you away from today and propels you into a made-up place where shit always goes to hell. I think I speak for us all when I say, “Let’s say no to make-believe land where shit always goes to hell.” Can I get a woot-woot?
Worrywart parents, with the best of intentions, are telling the object of their worry that something bad is happening and that the situation is stressful. I’m not saying I can follow my own advice every time, but when my child is not doing well, it’s better to see the situation for what it is, not what it isn’t. Thus, an offer to help should be made to help as much as my child wants, not as much as I want. This is what happens when I don’t project my own imagination onto their reality. My child’s reality exists and isn’t going to benefit from my worthless fretting based on mistaken assumptions that bad things are ahead.
Instead, I say let’s be concerned and care for our children to show them our love. We are all going to worry at some point, but as soon as you’ve identified it, let it go. Call your friend to confirm that your worry is valid but improbable. She must concede that it is possible your 4th grader’s friend is a bad influence who will likely introduce your daughter to crack sooner or later, it’s not worth the expending of your energy. Move on to problem-solving. Consider the following which I found here:
Worry distracts while concern focuses.
Worry delays planning; Concern enables us to plan.
Worry blurs our vision; Concern clarifies our purpose.
Worry encourages us to give up or give in whereas concern perseveres.
Worry exaggerates and lies; Concern pinpoints problems.
Worry focuses on self; Concern cares for others.
Worry blows; Concern rocks.
Now, if I could just apply this concept to myself, I could avoid shit and hell altogether.