Friend, I am convinced that all moms need a parenting growth mindset. For the sake of our kids with ADHD, autism, or no acronym at all, we need to shift our mindset. Think about it this way. Does this sound familiar?
“I will never let my child co-sleep. That is not a healthy sleeping habit.”
Or, you may have been on the other end of that one.
“I will definitely co-sleep. Attachment parenting is the only way to go.”
This is a good one.
“When I have kids, my child will never talk back to me.”
It gets better.
“What is wrong with these parents? I will never tolerate that attitude with my kid.”
Girl, I can’t lie. Some of those were totally me. Ugh. Please tell me you can relate. Please. Just lie to me.
Moms Grow Through Parenting
Ok. In all seriousness, there is no judgment for any of us. We mommas are all just people doing the best we can with what we know at any one given time. Here is the deal though. Whether you’ve believed one of the above or something else, we all grow as parents.
We change as we learn. Being a mom is a journey. And it’s so freeing when we finally realize and EMBRACE that there is a heck of a lot we do not know.
What is a Growth Mindset?
What is a growth mindset? Growth mindset as a term was coined by Carol Dweck, PhD. Basically Dweck explains a growth mindset as one that sees:
- challenges as opportunities,
- obstacles to be overcome,
- criticism as learning lessons,
- and ultimately the general sense that we are not “stuck” in any one position forever…
While Dr. Dweck’s work has been primarily geared towards the educational system, all people are impacted greatly based upon their mindset. She points to the difference in life outcomes for those who have a fixed (I can change nothing mindset) or a growth mindset.
ADHD, Autism- Our Kids Need Us To Parent Differently
I’m convinced that we moms need to embrace a parenting growth mindset. This is even more so when raising kids who don’t fit in the box. Kids with ADHD, autism, SPD, APD, GAD… or any acronym.
For more about girls on the Autism Spectrum- the overlooked and often misdiagnosed population, read this article from my friends at Autism Parenting Magazine.
Parenting Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
Fortunately, we moms tend to get to the point where we settle in to the fact that we are not God. As we embrace the reality that we are not in control of everything nor everyone, we have some choices to make.
Fixed Parenting Mindset
A fixed parenting mindset tells us to dig our heels in the sand when our kids don’t fall in line. When those little people living under our roof dare to be different, we do everything we can to force those kids to get in line.
“Nope. He will learn to obey right away because that is what my parents expected of me.”
From experience I know where that leads. This often leads us to broken relationship and a whole lot of stress.
Parenting Growth Mindset
The growth parenting mindset allows us to sway with the winds of unmet expectations. It frees us to see our struggles with our kids as not personal failures, but as opportunities to grow.
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Adoption Is Messy & Trauma Is Real
My hubby and I adopted a baby boy 6 years ago. His transition into our family was relatively smooth. Then hit 18 months. It was then that his uncontrollable behaviors began to destroy our home and our family.
- He screamed ALL.DAY.LONG. for about 3 years straight.
- He did not sleep for more than two hours at a time for almost a year and a half… (to this day he struggles to sleep)
- He hit, kicked, scratched, bit, and
- Did I mention shrieked at the top of his lungs every single moment that he was awake?
Humility In Motherhood
This was the lowest most desperate season of my life and in parenting. The isolation and shame was suffocating.
I felt overwhelming guilt for my two biological daughters who had lost their mom. They found themselves living in a war zone within their home.
Suffering In Parenting Leads To Growth
Humiliation and depression suffocated me for several years. My husband, my girls and our boy suffered every day. The internal dialogue in my own momma head did not help one bit. Friend, God used this season of absolute HELL to radically change the way I see everything and everyone. As we sought help for my boy, I learned from incredible pediatric specialists. Ultimately, we found some answers for my son. And I found answers I didn’t know I was searching for.
Mental Health In The Church
You see, I was forced to acknowledge my need for outside help. I entered Christian counseling and faced my own internal junk. God used the agony to chip away at some boulders that had been holding me hostage for years. Let me cut to the chase.
Black & White Thinking Can Destroy Our Families
I had been stuck in black and white thinking that labeled a child’s outward obedience as the ultimate sign of a good Christian momma. For decades I had been believing that something was true without ever having examined it. By God’s mercy, He used another baby boy to offer more freedom to me and my family.
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God’s Grace Really Is Sufficient
In this journey, I have learned so much about His design of the brain and His heart for the broken.
God looks at the heart and sees in each of us who He designed us to be… even when we mess up. In His grace, God allowed me the opportunity to develop a parenting growth mindset. And I am so grateful.
Parenting growth mindset saved my kids
Developing a parenting growth mindset has been key to the progress we have made with our boy. Even more, it transformed my relationship with my biological daughters. Honestly, I believe it has saved their lives.
We’ve Got Stop Trying To Change Kids With ADHD & Autism
When we adopted our boy, we had no idea that our daughters needed their mom to develop a parenting growth mindset. For one of my girls in particular this soon became apparent.
For years, I tried to make her into a social butterfly like her older sister.
- I didn’t understand why she was so “shy.”
- I worried about her heightened-sensitivity level.
- Why did she hang on the outskirts when we would get together with friends for play dates?
I tried to “fix” her so that she could be “happy and healthy.”
When we’re willing to examine our beliefs about how we approach our outside-the-box kids, we open the door to hope.
Adopting a parenting growth mindset that seeks to find the strengths in each of our children offers an alternative to:
‘What’s wrong with me?’
‘I always screw up.’
‘The teacher is mad at me again.’
‘My mom is always disappointed in me. Why can’t I get it together?’
‘The noise was just too much and I couldn’t handle it. I’m so stupid.’
‘I cannot focus in a room full of other kids.’
‘What is wrong with me?’
How many more kids have to scream for help through drug-abuse, cutting, suicide, eating disorders, before we take a good look at this one-size-fits all system that is FAILING so many children?
Parenting Growth Mindset: Unhealthy Expectations
Friend, moms need to feel safe within community in order to best serve our kids. So many of us have kids who don’t fit in the box of the world’s expectations. What’s devastating is that so many of these expectations are never even questioned.
And yet we can easily spend our fleeting time of influence trying to force our kids to conform to these unexamined and unhealthy expectations. The end result? Broken relationship between parent and child and, ultimately, hurting adult children. It’s time to make a change for the sake of our children. Don’t ya think?
Parenting growth mindset frees us and our kids
When we develop a parenting growth mindset, we become moms living in freedom. The parenting peanut-gallery commentators lose their power. We feel confident to care less for what the “experts” say if it is going to destroy our children.
Our Words Matter
These years matter. What our kids believe about themselves matters so let’s examine the beliefs that are influencing how we raise them. Let’s do this differently for the sake of our kids. Together, one mom at a time.
Develop Your Parenting Growth Mindset
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Find freedom as you learn how the Gospel and our latest understanding of neuroscience require us mommas to parent our higher-needs kids differently. Find freedom to parent your unique child in a whole new way.