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Parents, Ready to Do “The Work” for Your Teen?

Parents, stop blaming your teen for how you feel and do "The Work"!

May 10, 2022

“The Work” is hard.

 

There’s no way around it.

 

Circa 2018 or 2019: “Mom, I know you’ve lost weight and have done a lot for your health, but you act the same.  I don’t see much of a difference.”

 

That was my daughter, Katherine’s comment to me after I reached my weight loss goal, referring to my emotionally reactive self which still rears her ugly head on the daily, though exponentially less these days.

 

Man, did that one sting.

 

In “Loving What Is” Byron Katie teaches that most of the harm and suffering we cause ourselves and others is by staying attached to the thought that reality should be different.

 

In “Loving What Is” Byron Katie teaches that most of the harm and suffering we cause ourselves and others is by staying attached to the thought that reality should be different. Click To Tweet

 

Should is the key word in that sentence.

 

Does the reality that you will cause harm and suffering in others, even your children, give you a punch in the gut?

 

I hit rock bottom in September 2019, after a perfect microburst storm of grief over my mom’s death, transitioning to a reality I couldn’t deny that my oldest was going away to college, and resigning from my job after enduring years of whistleblower retaliation and toxic gaslighting.

 

I hit rock bottom in September 2019, after a perfect microburst storm of grief over my mom’s death, transitioning to a reality I couldn’t deny that my oldest was going away to college, resigning from my job after enduring years of… Click To Tweet

 

To be honest, though extremely painful, and as difficult all the above were, the additional pain and suffering I was adding to the mix by how I was showing up as a parent with my daughter, Audrey, was the icing on my dark-times bitter cake.

 

Keep in mind, all of this was pre-pandemic.

 

I was down on the mat and down for the count, soon to be a colossal loser because of my attachment to my belief that Audrey should change for me to feel better about myself as a mom.  It was clear in my ever-blurrier vision that Audrey was a problem I needed to fix and solve.

 

Keep in mind, my kid is a great kid.  She’s brilliant, fearless, and doing great things in the world.

 

I have lost every argument with her since she was 3.

 

Flashback to 16 years ago, potty-training the most adorable child to exist with buns squished on the toilet seat, feet turned in and talking through a PhD level logic thread while sucking her thumb:

 

Hey, you don’t control my body.”

“I don’t even control my body.”

“God controls my body.”

“Wait, God doesn’t control my body.”

“If Jesus is God’s son, why would he kill his own son?”

“If Jesus is really God, why would God kill his self?”

 

“Fine, Audrey. All pigs can fly.  You keep crapping your pants.”

 

Flash forward 16 years to when I resigned from my job:

 

Mom, you’re just bored.”

“You do nothing all day.”

“You can’t call yourself a pediatrician anymore.”

 

Since our teens live in gotcha culture, failures are weaponized.

 

It makes sense.  When you are raised by hyper-competitive, external achievement focused, perfection driven Gen X parents, it’s going to seep in.

 

Years of attachment to my negative self-talk, inner critic, spilled over and since I had minimal to no self-compassion and taught her that I could control suffering and avoid failure, I provided Audrey a lot of robust evidence that Mom must be a failure.

 

Since our teens live in gotcha culture, failures are weaponized. 

 

Mom’s a loser and now’s my chance to let her know every time she tells me to study, come out of my room, and gets in my lane.

 

Byron Katie is an enlightened genius, and I couldn’t recommend her work more.  When I say, work, I mean, “The Work” which are four seemingly simple questions that will lead you through personal inquiry to self-discovery.

 

The Four Questions:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

 

We cringe thinking of doing “The Work” or any work on ourselves.

 

Isn’t it easier to just change up other people so that we can feel a certain way?

 

“The Work” is a gift of personal inquiry, of self-awareness and discovery.  The only reason you may be really frightened, even terrified to do “The Work” is because you are terrified of what you will discover.  That all this chasing down the external and changing yourself up to make yourself feel a certain way, to prove you are worthy, that you finally fit in, has not only been a colossal waste of time, but has also caused unnecessary suffering.

 

It seeps over to our teens.

 

Maybe you aren’t willing to do “The Work” for yourself, but I guarantee you are more than willing to do “The Work” so you are able to show up as a loving and supportive parent for your child.

 

I can assure you leaning into doing “The Work” has been a transformational gift in my life.

 

Right now, you may be white knuckling through life, fighting off reality like a failed superhero at every turn.

 

You most likely come to parenting with some baggage, so having grace and compassion for yourself is the first step.

 

You most likely come to parenting with some baggage, so having grace and compassion for yourself is the first step. Click To Tweet

 

Also, staying out of perfection. Perfect doesn’t exist.  Perfect parenting doesn’t exist.

 

Let me know when you’re ready to do “The Work” on yourself.

 

That’s your first powerful decision.

 

Self-love superpower,

Dr. Karla, ActivistMD

 

Karla Lester, M.D

Karla Lester, MD

“Creating community with compassionate connection!”- Dr. Karla, ActivistMD

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email opmed@doximity.com. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Find out what we’re looking for here and submit your writing, or send us a pitch.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.

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