Do not assume
This month, we’ve been talking about #NoGuilt parenting. Today, let’s talk about the way parents’ assumptions can create guilt.
Assuming that we are letting our kids (and others) down, may lead to feelings of guilt. However, everyone knows, “When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.”
The third agreement of Don Miguel Ruiz, in his book, the Four Agreements, is “Don’t Make Assumptions.”
“All the sadness and drama you have lived is rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth.”
It is very easy to get caught up in the things we hear, overhear and read. If and when we start to believe them, without knowing the truth, we can end up getting very emotional and finding ourselves in the middle of drama. This can happen to our children as well. Excuses, misunderstandings, or exaggerations can all lead to judgement, blame, guilt and shame.
One of the clearest ways for this to happen is when we assume that we know what our family is thinking.This can backfire on us in two ways:
1. When we think that our kids know what we want them to do and they don’t.
Why didn’t you do the chore the way it is supposed to be done?!
2. When our kids think that they know what we are feeling and hold it against us.
Your eyes look like you’re mad at me Mom. Why are you always mad at me?
Ruiz points out,
“In any kind of relationship we can make the assumption that others know what we think, and we don’t have to say what we want. They are going to do what we want because they know us so well. If they don’t do what we want, we think, How could you do that? You should know!”
Whether it is our 4-year-old fighting a bedtime routine, or our teen wondering why we looked at them the wrong way, assumptions can lead in a bad direction and clarifying assumptions can introduce an entirely new way of belonging.
Ruiz clarifies two strategies that can make a big difference:
“The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions. Make sure that the communication is clear. If you don’t understand, ask. Also, find your voice to ask for what you want. Everybody has the right to tell you no or yes, but you always have the right to ask.”
We can really put these into practice to decrease the guilt and assumptions happening in our home. We can check in and make a plan, when there is time.
“Are you clear about what your jobs are in the morning? Let’s write it down so that we are all on the same page. I need you to get your boots and coat on by 7:50 so that I can drop you off for school and I can be at work on time.”
This week, ask yourself these questions:
Have I been completely clear about my expectations?
Did I tell my kids about the consequences when I was setting expectations or am I just throwing around punishment?
What questions can I ask to clarify my understanding of a troubling situation (drama) in our lives?
Am I modelling for my kids that they can politely ask for what they want, rather than just assuming everyone knows?
If you are curious about what strategies you can share with your kids, we are always here to answer your questions and give you real life parenting tools.
We made an assumption:
We assume that you know about our webinars and video courses that are available on a variety of topics. Some of you have been surprised when we’ve mentioned this to you. That’s why we are going to let you know what we have to offer here. That way, if you want it, you can grab it AND if you know someone else who could use it, you can let them know too. Thank you!