What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

Mindfulness is mainstream these days.

We are all about taking a minute, breathing, recognizing what we are feeling and being present.

We are setting up meditation spaces in our homes… 

and breathing deeply…

and repeating a calming mantra to get in touch with our Zen AF selves.

I must admit, I’m allergic to meditation.

I’m meditation-deficient.

I’m meditation – defective.

My mind is all over the place when it comes to being in the moment with my sons in the daily grind of:

rushed school mornings

homework-filled afternoons and

“it’s the weekend – we gotta have fun-filled family time!” Saturdays.

I’m either in full reactive mode:

reacting to the eye rolls,

the tone of voice

the time ticking away, inching towards the “we are going to be late!” zone


I’m in the overly-prepared mode:

thinking of and doing everything thing before my kids have the chance to do it themselves.

The overly-prepared mode can also be described as the OVER FUNCTIONING PARENT mode.

Side note – here is a quiz to see if you are, or have ever been, or have a tendency to be in OVER-FUNCTIONING PARENT mode:

Do you connect with any of the following statements?:

  • I wake my 8 year old up to get ready for school.
  • I ask, every morning, if my kid has brushed their teeth.
  • I remind my middle schooler, every school day, to pack his lunch and backpack (or I do it myself for him).
  • I ask my kid, everyday if he’s got homework.
  • I freak out if we are running late
  • I’m constantly and repeatedly teaching, instructing and giving my opinion on how my kids should:
    • Organize their school folder
    • Pack and prepare for each school day
    • Spend their free time at home and on the weekends.

Anyone out there relate to this, or is it just me?

After reading the book GIST: The Essence of Raising Life-Ready Kids by Anderson and Johanson, one of the chapters is devoted to the concept of the OVER-FUNCTIONING PARENT.

If we are:


Over-doing for them

Over opinion-ating (new word, just made it up, it means that we are giving our opinions on everything and anything all the time)


Which means….

You guessed it…

That our kids are UNDER FUNCTIONING.

Why do we over function as parents?

Why do we engage in “curling parenting” clearing life’s obstacles out of our kids path?

We don’t want you to be hungry later, so don’t forget your lunch!

We don’t want you to get in trouble with the teacher or get a bad grade, so don’t forget your homework!

We don’t want you to get a cavity so don’t forget to brush your teeth!

And on… and on… and on….

Curling parents – OVER FUNTIONING  parents – I GET IT.

I’m one of you.

But – we need to start realizing that our over-functioning is stunting the growth of our “adults in training” kids.

Life is the best teacher.

At a certain point, we need to realize that we learn better through our mistakes and so do our kids.

I don’t know about you, but as a kid, I certainly learned more from my mistakes then listening to my parents.

Luckily, I survived my mistakes.

And if you are a parent reading this, then you survived your mistakes too.

That leads me back to connecting mindfulness to over-functioning parenting.

Before we open our mouths to remind, instruct, offer our opinion, we need a mindfulness mantra to repeat in our head.

I offer the following:

“What’s the WORST that can happen?”

Let’s practice:

Before you ask your kid if they’ve brushed their teeth…

Ask yourself,

“What’s the WORST that can happen?”

And then answer your own question.

If they don’t brush their teeth, the worst thing that could happen would be that they would get a cavity and have to go through getting it filled.

Oh well.

We’ve got insurance.

Before you remind them to pack up their lunch…

Ask yourself,

“What’s the WORST that can happen?”


They bum something off of a friend and/or they are a little hungry during school.

The discomfort is the BEST teacher.

Before you ask if your kid has done their homework….

Ask yourself,

“What’s the WORST that can happen?”

He has to go through he discomfort of making up homework assignments during the weekend and can’t do what he wants to do during that time.

Before you give your opinion on how your kid should perform any life skill….

(make their bed, make their lunch, clean his room, prepare for a presentation, …fill in the blank) etc.

Ask Yourself:

“What’s the WORST that can happen?”

And then let life unfold.

Not only does this help you from over-functioning and your kids from under-functioning…

it can also help your connection with your kids by saving your conversations with them for the good stuff… their dreams, passions, concerns, imagination, etc.

Instead of coming off as a complete nag (and you remember feeling like your parents were nags when you were a kid, right?) you’ll come off as a slightly lesser nag (once their tweens and teens, not sure you can drop the nag title entirely.)

So why not try this tactic my fellow over-functioning parents?

Remember, what’s the WORST that can happen?

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