Be a Container, not a Director

Containers hold things. Containers have boundaries. Containers are strong, predictable, and comforting.

From a mom who spent lots of years trying to fix and direct, this shift has been most transformational.

– TRICIA THOMPSON

How do parents help their children develop that strong sense of self?

One way is to shift from being a director or fixer to being a container.

Containers hold things. As a parent you can be a safe place for your child to share and explore their feelings. Listen, reflect and repeat what you hear back to them. Instead of jumping in with solutions or your point of view. Just be a container.

Containers have boundaries. They hold things and they keep things safely inside firm boundaries. So instead of lectures, solutions, deal making, arguing, nagging learn how to set a boundary. “If you are going to scream, you’ll have to do that in your room.” “If you don’t get a 3.0 on your report card, I’ll be unable to pay your car insurance.” Set the boundary and stick to it.

Containers are strong, predictable, and comforting. Kids learn to be okay with their feelings. They learn that uncomfortable feelings are part of life and they can tolerate them. They learn that you trust them to handle uncomfortable things. Kids build belief in themselves and an inner strength that has nothing to do with pleasing others. It has to do with being themselves.

From a mom who spent lots of years trying to fix and direct, this shift has been transformational.

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