123: You’re Allowed to Take Up Space

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

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Whether it’s fueled by anxiety, compassion, or something else, many of us sacrifice our own wants and needs for the good of others. Sometimes we want to. Sometimes we feel we have to. It’s very common for parents and it’s even more common in siblings of neuroatypical kids, like those with ADHD and/or autism. Listen in as Penny explains what it means to “take up space” and encourages you to make sure your kids, especially those siblings, know that they have the right and permission to.


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Intro (00:03): Welcome to the parenting ADHD podcast, where I share insights and strategies on raising kids with ADHD straight from the trenches. I'm your host, penny Williams. I'm a parenting coach, author ADHD, a holic and mindset. Mama honored to guide you on the journey of raising your atypical kid. Let's get started. Hello? Hello.

Penny Williams (00:32): Hello everyone. Welcome back to the parenting ADHD podcast. Today, I'm coming to you to talk about the fact that you're allowed to take up space and this discussion is for our kids and it is for ourselves as parents. It is really important that everyone realizes that you are allowed to take up space. And I want to start first by really diving into what that means. So many times when we are considering a decision we are taking into account what that decision might mean for another person, what that decision might mean for ourselves, right? And a lot of us are pretty good at weighing the two together and trying to find balance. So maybe making a decision about something you don't want to hurt the other person's feelings, but you also don't want to compromise kind of your own boundaries as well. And it can be really difficult when you don't consider your own needs and feelings.

Penny Williams (01:49): If you only consider the other party, then you're essentially saying to yourself that you don't have enough value to be a consideration within that decision, which is basically saying that you're not allowed to take up space, your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions, your needs, aren't taking up any space. You're withholding all of that from the equation because you're giving all of the weight to the other party. So say for example, a friend called me up and wanted to go out and hear some music together on Friday night. And I am really exhausted and I really just don't want to go, but I haven't seen my friend in a while and I don't want to hurt my friend's feelings. I want to be supportive to my friend, but I know that if I go, I'm going to feel bad. I'm really drained. It's going to be hard for me to stand for a long time because of fibromyalgia.

Penny Williams (03:03): But I decide that I'm going to go for my friend in that equation. I am not taking up any space am I I'm giving all of myself for that other person. So we see this a lot in people with anxiety, kids and adults, because you're really anxious about the other person's reaction, response feelings in a situation. And so you give all the weight to that because you don't want someone else to be upset with you. And it's a really powerful thing that we and our kids are doing to ourselves when we kind of walk that path of being afraid of the outcome. If we take up space, if we insert ourselves, if we weigh our own feelings and making decisions that involve other people, and that then is a big detriment to mental health. Now, you believe that your feelings, your opinion don't matter. And then that is chipping away at your confidence at your self esteem is chipping away at your mental health, right?

Penny Williams (04:21): If, if I feel like I don't matter, then I'm not feeling very good mentally and emotionally. And this also really ties into self care for parents. We are really bad, especially when our kids have special needs. We're really bad at sacrificing ourselves completely and wholly for what our kids need. And so I am weighing my kids' thoughts, feelings, reactions, emotions, behavior, and I'm not giving my own needs and my own feelings, any weight or credence in that, that is sacrificing myself. And it is a detriment because we've talked about before many times on this podcast, that in order to do good, you must feel good. We have to take care of ourselves as parents. We have to matter. Also our needs. Our emotions have to matter too, because if I am not doing well, I can't do my best for my kid who needs a lot from me.

Penny Williams (05:29): I have to, in order to do my best for my kid and all of their needs also do my best for myself. Take care of myself, my health, my mental and emotional health, my physical health, my spiritual health, all of these things. We have to really weigh equally. We matter as much as our kids matter. And by allowing to matter, we're doing better for our kids, but we're also modeling that parents matter too. You know, we think as a parent, that the best show of love of a child is to sacrifice yourself completely. When you do that, you're telling your child that they should also sacrifice themselves completely as an adult. And I don't know about you, but that is not the way I want my kids to live their life as adults to only sacrifice themselves for others. It's not okay. And, and I'm not saying we should not weigh other people's opinions and thoughts and feelings.

Penny Williams (06:37): I'm not saying that we shouldn't have empathy for people and compassion for people. I I'm a humongous fan of compassion and empathy. I use it and everything. I'm actually probably over empathetic in a lot of ways, but it's not about that. It's not about taking care of myself first. It's about taking care of myself also. And for our kids, it's not about being selfish and only thinking about themselves. It's about thinking about themselves. Also. This is in addition to you, not in place of, and it's really, really so, so important to give our kids permission, to take up space, to watch how they interact with others, to be really aware of how they handle the thoughts and feelings and emotions of others and of themself. So when there's someone else involved, are they weighing equally themselves, their own needs and the needs of the other person are they only weighing the needs of the other person because that's a problem.

Penny Williams (07:54): It's amazing that our kids are so kind and compassionate to other people, but they also have to be that to themselves. And they also need to feel important and confident and competent. And if they never feel heard and seen, even if it's by their own doing, it is a detriment to their own confidence, their own sense of fulfillment and purpose and wellbeing. And it's really valuable. And I'll say that, this came up from one of my kids' therapists and it was the most eye-opening thing. I think he's ever said in regard to either one of my kids or that anyone has said outside of a therapist or a clinician, they with anxiety can really only think about others and it's not okay. And it feels so bizarre and wrong for me to say that that thinking about others is not okay. And that's not what I'm saying.

Penny Williams (09:09): I'm saying only thinking about others and always sacrificing yourself is not okay. You're letting the other person take a ball, the space, and you're getting none. And it needs to be more balanced. Yes. In some instances it does need to be heavier for the other person. In some instances, it needs to be heavier on our own needs and desires and feelings. But in general, there needs to be a balance there. So make sure that your kids know that they're allowed to take up space. They are supposed to take up space. All of us are individual unique beings, and we are supposed to take up space where you're supposed to be part of a community and of the world, right? We all matter in that way. And I want you to also remind yourself that you are allowed to take up space. You are allowed to do something for yourself.

Penny Williams (10:12): You are allowed to weigh your own needs and feelings. In addition to the needs and feelings of others, you have to do that for your own mental and emotional health. I would argue even your physical health and also to model that for your children, you're allowed to take up space. I just, I of want to like, just have you sit with that for a minute. When it was first conveyed to me, this idea, I just kind of sat quiet for a few minutes and really contemplated how enormous that one phrase is and how empowering it can be for any, and all of us we're allowed to take up space.

Penny Williams (11:11): There won't be any show notes for this episode. And this is obviously a short episode, but I really wanted to bring this idea to you. And I really wanted to do it in a way that was simple and easily accessible. You can listen to it in a short amount of time. And then I really want you to just walk away thinking about it, contemplating it, giving yourself permission, giving your children permission. I want you to let sort of the magnitude of this to sink in and then to be able to use it to better the, of your children And yourselves. So I'll see you on the next episode.

Penny Williams (12:01): Thanks for joining me on the parenting ADHD podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share, and don't forget to check out my online courses, parent coaching and mama retreats at parentingadhdandautism.com.

Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it. Have something to say, or a question to ask? Leave a comment below. I promise to answer every single one. **Also, please leave an honest review for the Beautifully Complex Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and appreciated! That’s what helps me reach and help more families like yours.

I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

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About the show...

I'm your host, Penny.

Join me as I help parents, caregivers, and educators like you harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week I deliver insights and actionable strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities…

My approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. I am honored to have helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

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