Coach Advice: Listen to Your Worries!

Posted February 26, 2016 by

Coach Advice: Listen to Your Worries!

Parents worry a lot – and that’s a good thing!

Parental concern is nature’s way of making sure we attend to our child’s needs. Worry keeps us involved, attuned to our kids and can even give us energy when we’re exhausted.

Here’s how you can use worry to your advantage.

When you find yourself overwhelmed with worry, ask yourself this question: Are you worried about what’s actually happening now or something that might or might not happen in the child’s future?

The best way to feel relief is to focus on the present. Maybe it’s schoolwork or how your child is treating others. Identify the behavior you’re worried about in present terms and let that be your new focus.

Remember, you can’t control your child and you can’t control the future. But you can control your actions right now.

“Anxiety…. fools us out of the now and into worrying about tomorrow. It makes our focus rigid and keeps the present, real issues out of sight.” – Debbie Pincus, Creator of The Calm Parent: AM & PM

For more, check out Debbie’s excellent article: Worried Sick About Your Child’s Future? How to Stop the Anxiety.

Worry really is a good thing, but it can be exhausting and counterproductive if we feel helpless in the face of our fears.

If you need more help, us coaches are here for you with 1-on-1 online support. Or share with the community below!


Marissa is a proud mom to two boys, age 10 and 5. She earned her degree in Sociology from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and has been a 1-on-1 Coach since 2011. Prior to coming to Empowering Parents, Marissa gained experience working as the House Manager of a group home for teenage boys, as a Children’s Mental Health Case Manager, and also spent several years working on the Children’s Unit at a Psych. Hospital.

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  1. Hellena Report

    I find this information useful,especially when you say,we cant control our children,neither can we control their future.I have got a sturbon,disobedint ,disrespectiful teenage boy.At times i feel overwhelmed,desparate and heartbrocken.I have tried every idea i come across to help this boy ,but all in vain..

  2. Maryrose Report

    Worrying is not a good thing and is counter productive. You can’t both worry about the future and be present to the now. Worrying means you are focused on the future which is not real.When you leave the now and worry you allow your thoughts to spiral out of control. Focus on what you can do each moment, now in the present, to move towards what you want to occur instead of focusing on what you don’t want to happen in the future.

  3. Guest Report

    Hi I’m a mom of two girls, 19yrs old & 15yrs old. My 15yr old, for the past 2&1/2yrs been skipping school, running away, smoking weed & drinking alcohol, joined a gang, robbed my house with her friends. Anything she can get away with, she does. I had her admitted into the hospital twice last yr because of her behavior. I went to court filed a family crisis petition to get in front of a judge. The judge removed her from my house & placed her in a shelter for teens. She ran away from there & made her way back home. I tried family counseling, I let her do 1 on 1 counseling. I got a mentor for her. I got a behavioral assistant for her, nothing seems to help her. I don’t how else to help her. The people I thought can help me, say they can’t cause they can’t force her to get help. That she needs to want to get help. I had to pick her up twice from the ER drunk. I’m in touch everyday with the school social worker & she’s tried everything to help out as much as she can. We are just told unfortunately the way the laws are in NJ, they prevent us from helping you. Anyway ideas are welcome. Thanks

    • lindaclo Report

      @Guest  I am a mom of 3 and am not a professional counselor.  While I have not experienced my children behaving in such extremely dangerous behavior, I have seen them go through difficult periods of either hating me or hating themselves.  Usually it seemed that the cause was because they were experiencing some high level of stress that they could not see a way out of.  I would try to approach their negative actions from a behavior standpoint and try different ways to get them to stop these behaviors but it would only make things worse and they would hate themselves for not being able to change the behavior.  Later, I realized that their own friends were giving them a lot of stress and in some ways being verbally abusive but yet my child did not realize they were being abusive and would not separate themself from these kids that were causing them so much stress.
      It sounds to me like both you and MIchelle from the previous post have children who are crying out for help and are in a lot of pain that they are trying to escape from.  I think more than anything a child wants to know they are loved and accepted by their parents no matter what they have done.  That doesn’t mean that a parent allows them to continue with their hurtful actions but we also don’t hound them about all the things they are doing wrong.  It sounds like professional help is still needed for the family, getting as far away from negative influences/friends as possible and spending as much time as possible alone with your child in ways that affirm them and show them your love for them: sharing new experiences together, making memories together, sharing personal stories with them of your own adventures, failures and lessons learned.  While they may reject you to show power over you, they will also notice if we do not give up trying to show them we love them, especially if we do it with a humble heart.  I would add that for me, my most crucial help came from being on my knees everyday in prayer and asking everyone I knew to pray for us also.  Kids need to know that there is a greater Hope than just what they see that they themselves or other adults are capable of.  There is One who loves them unconditionally, completely, sacrificially and knows them intimately who also has power to help us in every situation.  Don’t give up!  Parenting is hard for everyone!  No one has it easy!  But the joy that comes after the hardships is worth it!

    • Carole Report

      Hang on. This is a long ride. Your situation sounds similar to mine. It my daughter would steal cars, jump out of hospital windows, fake attempted suicide among other debilitating behaviors. Don’t stop letting her know it is your job as her mother to try to keep her safe and you will continue to do so. As far as help from anyone, focus on yourself. There is nothing anyone else can do, and the “system” is not set up to help control these behaviors. My daughter is now 31 and finally asking for the help she knows she needs. Focus on yourself and pray. God holds her in the palm of his hand and you have to find your faith in that!

    • Silvia Report

      Go to Alanon meetings . Also detached with love . Set boundaries and also use some tough love . Let her own higher power protect her because we parents are powerless. Pray for her and always remember to say God bless her and changed me

  4. Michelle Report

    Hi I am a mum of four and I am separated from husband . I was difficulties with my son when he was 15 , he was running away at night with his friends and taking drugs.  asked his father to help with him but he ignored me and wasn’t willing to be in his life. After months of this I was frustrated and sent him to live with his father thinking that somehow this would change his behaviour and he would come back but instead his father let him not go to school sleeps with his girlfriend and he is now very skinny and has black eyes from fights. His father has turned him against me as I am taking him to family law court . I saw a picture of him on Facebook and didn’t even recognise my own son. I have called docs, the police and his school principal no one can help me . What do I do I am very worried about my son .Thank you….. Michelle

    • Empowering Parents Coach Marissa Stephens, 1-on-1 Coach Report


      You are in a tough position and I can certainly understand
      where your worry comes from. Because your son is currently living with his
      father, there isn’t much you will have control of, in regards to holding your
      son accountable for his behavior. If you have concerns about his safety, you
      may try reaching out to Child and Family Services in your area, or look into
      what child advocate services might be available through your local court for
      support in addressing your concerns. Best of luck to you as you work on this
      with your son.

    • h Report

      Can’t family and children services help/. Child welfare or child protection? There must be a way to establish that he is not going to school, not well n needs either treatment or to be in a loving mum environment. It’s so difficult w legal after *bout 12 yrs old they can do what they want – bearly out of being a kid. And they have the right. Human rights have to include saving them from themselves,

  5. michelle Report

    worry and anxiety are two things that I am struggling with, when it comes to my children.  I thought as they got older I have one in college one is a sophomore and one in 7th grade, that things would get easier, they aren’t just different.  I don’t know how to put my constant worries in prospective.

  6. Jrbrulz Report

    Hi my name is jeremy I’m deling with three grils one is eaght one six and the other is almost three two of them fight all the time and it is like they are cats and dogs and there are times that the 6year old fights with the 3 year old i just get tired of it what can i do to get things dun. I also have the 6 year old haveing trouble in school with reading thanks for reading my qustion and have a great day

    • Empowering Parents Coach Marissa Stephens, 1-on-1 Coach Report


      Bickering is a normal, natural part of growing up with
      siblings, and can be extremely frustrating if you are the parent! Believe it or
      not, these arguments can a be a great tool to help kids learn to problem solve
      and compromise with each other. There may be times though,  where the
      bickering crosses a line and you need to step in. Debbie Pincus, author of the program, offers some great ways to help you stop the
      fighting in your home, in her article Best of luck to you and your
      family as you continue to work on this issue with your girls.

    • Shannon Report


      Just a mom of 3 myself, but sometimes my kids fight to get attention from me or attention from each other. Parenting is exhausting, I know especially when there are things you have to get done. Sometimes it helps for me to set expectations, “I need you to do X quietly so mommy/daddy can get Y done.” Sometimes it helps to give them small chores related to what I am doing, they get my attention, and eventually, I get what I need to do done.

      As to the reading issue, I read to my kids every day as part of their bed time routine and did silly voices and engaged them in conversation about the book. We read some of the same books over and over and over – as long as my kids still like the book (sometimes I change the words as part of a game to see if they can catch me at it). My daughter when she was six loved books about animals – cats, horses, etc. Her favorites were “Pinkalicious” and “Pete the Cat” and “Lego Friends” and any cheap book I could get from Scholastic Books. Also, the “I Can Read’ books are good – or good old Dr. Suess and PD Eastman are still some of my favorites as they teach repetitive sounds and rhyming words but are full of imagination! Have you taken her to the public library and helped her find a book around her interests? Our school used and it was fabulous. The kids can listen to the book being read, can read to a prompt, and can even record themselves reading the books. Have you asked her teachers what they are doing at school and see if they have suggestions how you can use that at home? I also had my oldest read to my youngest to keep them busy. Made the oldest feel important and the youngest liked the attention they were getting from the oldest.

      And if you can get your girls reading – think of all the quiet time you can have getting things done!

  7. Victoria Report

    This is a powerful and positive perspective for me today. Thank you for posting this focused nugget of information. It made sense to me and gave me a productive action to take with my worry. It helped me to refocus and continue to gain confidence to focus on one behaviour change at a time. And that’s ok! Bless you and thank you.



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