Alright, I confess. Twenty years ago, I used Barney the purple dinosaur as a babysitter. I spent way too many hours in front of the TV inserting VCR tapes of Barney and Friends. During those early parenting years, Barney threats came in handy. If one of my kids wasn’t playing nice, I would announce, “Barney says share!” or “Barney would not like you coloring all over that wall!” In most of those Barney episodes, an overriding theme was to “always use your imagination” It was a great message for a young mind. Certainly, kids, more than ever, need to use their imagination to create rather than rely on technology to do it for them.
That’s when it dawned on me, we parents use our imaginations every day, maybe when it comes to the safety of our children, we use it too much.
When we worry as parents (and we all do) we use our imagination (Barney would be proud of us) to create a future scenario that doesn’t even exist. You see, an image of your child say in a car accident on the interstate is just that, your creative mind visualizing a future accident, an accident that never occurs. Just think about that for a minute, when you drop off your child at the mall, or hand them over the keys, then flashes of negative images come to mind. We become riddled with those images. Those images become emotionally charged, made up the event, that never even happens. Essentially, we are using our imagination to create images that don’t exist. It’s no wonder we have that all to a common condition known as anxiety. We just can’t seem to help ourselves. We parents are wired that way. It’s up to us to determine what level we are willing to take on the harmful effects of stress associated with that constant worrying. You may want to ask yourself to what extent is this worrying keeping me from enjoying a relationship with my son or daughter? Is all of that worrying keeping me from living a more joyful life?
This reminded me of a quote from the new age author, Esther Hicks who wrote, “Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.”
This is so true. Parenting is hard certainly in this day and age, dangerous situations for our kids are out there. As a mom or dad, but what toll is it taking in terms of your mental health?