• Kathy Whitham

Anchoring vs. Walking On Eggshells

Do you find yourself walking on eggshells around your kiddo, to avoid the fight, power struggle or rejection that can come out of nowhere when you say or do the “wrong” thing?


I hear you! I have also walked on many eggshells in my life. Here’s the thing. There are unintended consequences to trying to control another person’s behavior by walking on eggshells.


  1. One is that walking on eggshells puts you in a defensive stance, which gets in the way of connecting with your child the way you want and makes them less likely to talk to you.

  2. Another is that your child doesn’t want to be in charge! They don’t want to drive the mood at home. It’s a very insecure and scary position for them. Yes, even your teenager!


Instead, I invite you to imagine yourself like an anchor that tethers a boat, even when it thrashes on the waves or is blown by the wind. When you walk on eggshells, you are jumping in the boat with your child and getting caught in the storm. Instead, your child needs you to be the anchor.


It has to do with what I call your reference point. Your reference point sets the tone for your feelings and behavior and those of your family. When you walk on eggshells, it makes your dysregulated child your reference point. It leans on them for stability rather than being the stable anchor for your child.


Next time you notice yourself trying to say the “right” thing because you’re afraid of your child’s reaction, try this before you jump in the boat with your child.

  • Pause.

  • Release your breath all the way out.

  • Breathe in and out again.

  • Feel your own two feet on the ground.

  • Slow your heart rate.

And then, look for an internal reference point that is within your control to help you be the anchor your child needs for their stormy seas.


For more about how to avoid the eggshells, check out my Parent-Centric philosophy.



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