Don't Freak Out: Words Of Wisdom For Parents
Parents often fall into one of two parenting styles. There’s the fixer who is preempting and often preventing their children from difficulties or failure. The other is a more rigid style requiring obedience and conformity to a specific set of expectations.
Heidi Swapp is an entrepreneur, a podcast host, the mother of five children and a woman whose son, Cory took his own life at 16. She says on reflection of her parenting, she has learned a lot about how to communicate more effectively with her children.
“Suicide is a real issue here in our state for sure and actually around the country. And that is something we all need to talk about. We haven’t had a culture of talking about it and so we need that to change.
Swapp says they’ll spend the first hour talking about how to be a first responder and not a first over reactor.
And, that’s where the Don’t Freak Out comes at. We immediately move tot his freak out, fix it mentality. So, we talk bout that. The second thing we then talk about is, there’s one that is really authoritative, my way or the highway, rule centric, this is how we do. And then the other side of the spectrum is there is this coddling. Like oh, it’s going to be okay and maybe too soft. So, we teach right in the middle, this approach of partnering."
Swapp says some parents may find the concept of partnering with their children to be too permissive. She also says pelting kids with too many questions can be hard on any relationship. Family Therapist, David Koslowski will be on the stage with Swapp. He was son Cory’s therapist at the time that he took his life.
“I thought that I was doing everything right. I thought we had a great family. And I was a great mom and I thought that I had a great relationship with my kids. And of course, things are not perfect, ever. What I learned is that I have a lot to learn and that I needed to change my approach as a mom. And that I didn’t understand what was going on and that I wasn’t as dialed in and I wasn’t as connected as I needed to be. And, I had about two years of really hard looking at myself and saying what can I do better? What can I do better? What can I do different? What was I doing wrong?"
She says the event will bring a fresh spin to parents talking to their children.
“We all live in this culture. We ask questions. That’s how we find out. But, when you make anyone defensive, they don’t know what you want from them. They’re not sure what your intention is. So, that’s one of the first thing we teach is, if you can establish your intention like I’m just curious or I want to help you. Or whatever it is rather than I got this phone call from the principal and I want to know what this is all about.”
Heidi Swapp and David Koslowski have a podcast called Light the Fight which brings attention to tough topics related to personal and family relationships. The event Don’t Freak Out is for parents and children and it’s scheduled for August 27th at Wasatch High School from 6 to 8 PM.