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How To Disown Your Children (And 5 Reasons You Should)

Don’t pretend you haven’t imagined it.

Every parent on the planet fantasizes about disowning their children at some stage. It might be fleeting and frivolous, but we’ve imagined it or joked about it.

We’ve thought about how much easier it would be to have a pet.

Or jested about changing the locks while the kids are out.

Or talked about swapping our kids for the neighbours kids (who seem so much easier to look after).

Of course we’re not serious.

We love our kids, but living with them sometimes drives us a bit … mad.

It’s normal. All parents go a little crazy, or feel a little insane at times.

And I’m not suggesting you should actually disown your children.

But I do think it’s healthy to disown some of the emotional baggage around parenting.

Disown the anxiety.


The Problem With Kids

Imagine this.

You see your child happily running along. Then they trip and fall … splat!

They land face down. Hard.

There’s a split second pause where you wait for the crying to begin.

During that time your heart is in your mouth. You fear the damage they’ve done.

They pop up, crying and you wonder if you should brush off their knees and jolly them along. Tell them it’s nothing.

Or maybe you should sympathize and commiserate with them. Tell them it’s OK to cry and that you’re sure it hurts.

But maybe they’ve broken something.

What exactly is the right thing to do?

The Solution: Other People's Kids

Now imagine this.

You see someone else’s child running along and falling over hard.

They pop up crying and you go over to help them.

You know what to do, and what they need. There’s no drama. No emotional confusion.

It’s easy.

Not because you don’t care, because you do.

You’re a parent. Of course you care. But this time there isn’t the emotional involvement.

There’s less stress, less anxiety, less confusion.

That’s why it’s easier to take care of other people’s kids.

Go On A Drama Diet

So how do you disown some of the anxiety and stress around being a parent?

Try going on a drama diet. Learn how to disown your children – at least a little.

Not in a bad way. But just learn to step back, and put things in perspective.

To reduce the significance of everyday events, and to look after yourself.

All too often the decisions we have to make as parents are riddled with gut-wrenching anxiety.

We spend a lot of time wondering what the right thing to do is. And thinking about exactly how we should handle the situation.

It's all so ... hard.

Stepping back a bit, or ‘disowning’ the emotions around the decision make this easier.

It’s easier said than done, but here’s a trick to reducing the drama.

The next time you have to make a decision, and you're wrestling with it, try thinking about it as though it’s not your problem.

Pretend a friend has this dilemma and is asking for advice. What do you think they should do?

If you can distance yourself from some of the emotional exhaustion that comes with parenting, you’ll discover some great benefits.

5 Reasons To Disown Your Children

1. Become A Better Parent

Distancing yourself from the stress of parenting will make your life calmer and more tranquil. Not only is tranquility in itself wonderful, but calm people make better decisions.

You’ll actually be a better parent. You’ll be less emotionally exhausted, so you’ll have more energy for your life and your kids.

2. Skyrocket Your Happiness

Being a calmer parent will also make you happier, and happier parents make for happier kids.

You’ll be more fun to be around, and your kids will enjoy your company more. It’s a win-win!

3. Simplify Decision Making

Calmer people make better decisions, and they make them more easily. This is because calmness increases clarity.

So, giving yourself emotional distance will make decision-making easier and clearer.

4. Turbo-Charge Your Confidence

Parents are rarely confident because we have to make a lot of decisions, and we cop a lot of criticism. But, when you’re calmer and have greater clarity, you’ll also find increased confidence.

Disengaging from the anxiety of being a parent brings greater clarity, so your confidence will soar.

5. Enhance Your Enjoyment

Being calmer and more confident as a parent means you’ll also be able to enjoy life, and parenting, a whole lot more.

You’ll be able to relax and have fun with your kids, and you’ll enjoy each other’s company much more.

Get Seriously Light-Hearted

Wouldn’t it be great if you could give your kids a gift?

A truly memorable gift that no one can take from them.

A gift they could cherish for the rest of their lives.

That’s what you can give your kids if you off-load your parenting guilt and reject the emotional baggage.

You can give them a light-hearted childhood, full of fun and enjoyment.

You can give them a confident role model as a parent.

You can disown the weight of parenting, and embrace enjoyment.

You can create carefree kids, just by distancing yourself a little and believing in yourself.

So believe. 

You're doing a great job.

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Cate is on a mission to help parents stop yelling and create families that listen to each other. She does this while imperfectly parenting two boisterous girls of her own, and learning from her mistakes. She has contributed to Tiny Buddha, Think Simple Now, A Fine Parent and many other awesome sites.