Don’t we all just crave the friendship of women who will open up their hearts and share their ups and downs and their biggest life lessons with us? Today’s episode is a peek into my friendship with one such woman who has blessed my life so much in the almost six years since I moved to a small town in Idaho. In today’s episode, Michelle Barrow is generously sharing some of the parenting lessons she has learned while raising teenagers and supporting her adult children as they continue to grow and change.
By way of background, Michelle Barrow is a mom of four and a grandma of six. She graduated in English Teaching years ago, and she is currently in the Stanford Online Writing Program where she is rewriting a novel that she hopes to publish within a couple of years. She says that her most memorable and greatest teachers are her children, and she truly feels that she is getting her doctorate in how to be an authentic, self-aware, and responsible human at the Barrow Family School of Excellence. You’re going to hear a bit more about the lessons she is learning in that unofficial doctorate program in today’s episode.
3 Takeaways from Michelle Barrow on How to Love your Teens and Adult Children
- Allow your child to have their own story. As parents, we like to decide on a happy narrative for our children’s lives, and we often push that narrative without realizing that we aren’t leaving space for them to process their questions, doubts, fears, and beliefs. It’s so important for us to be open to hearing their version of their story, without discounting it or being threatened by or afraid of it. When we admit to our children “I don’t know all the reasons” and allow them to explore their own ideas, we give them a tremendous gift.
- Don’t get stuck on your formula. In parenting, we can start to believe that if we do xyz, then our children will turn out like xyz. But human beings don’t follow formulas, and if you get too fixated on your desired outcomes, you risk damaging your relationship with your child who doesn’t want to feel like part of a math equation. Do what you do as a parent because you want to, because it truly aligns with your values and the way you want to parent, and because it makes you happy.
- Give yourself permission to change the rules. If you realize that something is not working in your parenting, it’s never too late to try something else. A good indicator might be if you have high anxiety or high conflict in your relationship with one of your children–maybe it’s time to try a different approach. Yes, some anxiety, conflict, and stress is inevitable in parenting, but if it’s starting to feel like too much, it’s okay to change the rules. In Michelle’s case, this meant leaning into more trust and openness with her daughter and reassuring her that no matter what decisions she made, she would always love and respect her.
>>>Are these tips from Michelle Barrow on When Parenting Doesn’t go as Planned helpful? What would you add to the takeaways? Tell us in the comments below.
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-Related Episodes like this on loving your teens-
- Episode 42: How to Love Someone When It’s Complicated or Hard: Lessons from Open Adoption
- Episode 211: Raising Independent Teens and Tweens // Amy and Margaret from What Fresh Hell Podcast
- Episode 177: Love Centered Parenting // Crystal Paine
- Episode 118: How to Raise Confidant Children // Marilyn Faulkner