Worst Case Scenario Thinking

Worst Case Scenario Thinking

Feb 09, 2023

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In motherhood, it’s normal to sometimes look at our kids’ behavior and imagine the worst case scenario. 

We’re afraid that if we don’t stop a certain behavior, our kids will struggle with it forever. For example, when my son was hitting a lot at age 4 or 5, I thought if I didn’t change that behavior he would grow up to be violent. 

In this episode I’ll walk you through how to play out that worst case scenario to figure out what you’re actually afraid of and teach you a tool to move out of that scenario.


How worst case scenario thinking affects your parenting

When we are super worried about our kids, we tend to go one of two directions with our parenting. 

We either over-parent, which looks like being too strict, harsh or controlling. 

Or we under-parent, where we rescue, bribe, don’t hold limits and we don't hold our kids accountable. 

These responses are because of our own fear and anxiety, and neither of them serve our kids. 

When we try to control their decision, behaviors and outcomes, they end up not learning the thing we want them to learn.

In some ways, we create our own worst case scenario because we're not actually giving the kid the skills they need in order to change and grow and become the person that we want them to become.  

When you’re afraid that the behavior in this moment means that your child is going to have a terrible outcome in the long term, it’s pretty hard to be calm.


What are you actually afraid of?

Sometimes, our minds spiral into fear and anxiety, and we aren’t even really sure what it is we’re so afraid of. 

This exercise is for when you’re spiraling and you want to uncover the deeper root of the fear.


Step 1: What are you worried about? 

What is the behavior or situation that is making you scared?


Step 2: If this happens, what will happen next?

What are all the bad things I think will happen if I don’t solve this problem? Be specific and go deep. Keep playing it out step by step until you get to the end of the line - your actual fear.

Note: Stop before you get all the way to “they would die.” This is not a scenario we can solve for, and it is just further than we need to go.

The goal here is to fill in the blank: The thing I’m actually afraid of is ____________.


Moving past the worst case scenario

Once you’ve identified the fear, it’s time to move into the next stage and start solving for it in advance.


Step 3: Solve for your fear. 

If one of the bad things you listed above happens, then what? How would you handle it? How would you solve for it? What can you do between now and then to make sure this doesn’t happen? What skill is your child missing?

Another approach is to ask yourself, “what would I do if my worst thing happened?” In this exercise, you go all the way to the end and think about how you could solve it. 

This process allows you to put some space between what’s happening right now and your fear. It shows you that your worst case is probably unlikely, and that you still have time to do something about it. 


What you’ll start to realize is that you have plenty of time until the worst case happens, you have the ability to take action in the present moment, and you also know that in the future you'll still be an amazing human who can solve stuff. 

Some thoughts that often come up for me as I work through this are:

  • The likelihood of this worst case scenario actually happening is not very big
  • No matter what happens, I will always be there for my kid. My relationship with my child is stronger than this worst case.
  • I can trust myself. I have solutions in my mind and I can problem-solve for this scenario. 
  • The worst case is pretty far away. There is no imminent danger, and there is a lot of time between this moment and the worst case. 


My hope for you is that you walk away from this exercise feeling a little lighter, more confident, relaxed and hopeful. 

And from these new feelings, you’ll show up in the present moment differently. 


You’ll Learn:

  • How worry shows up in your parenting
  • My 3-step process for working through your worst case scenario
  • Examples of how to solve for your fears


Related Episodes:

Episode 42: Perfectionism, Motherhood and Me

Episode 40: Codependency in Parenting


Connect With Darlynn: 


The power of having a life coach is having somebody guide you through an exercise like this, which I do inside Raise Emotionally Healthy Kids.

You get to tell me what you’re worried about, and I’ll ask you questions and coach you through the entire process from uncovering your fears to finding solutions. 

I not only coach you, but I also teach you how to coach yourself and your kids. You learn to be emotionally healthy yourself so that you teach your kids how to manage their emotions, too.

When you join Raise Emotionally Healthy Kids and learn these tools and skills, you actually prevent your worst case scenario. Because they all have to do with our kids not being able to manage and cope with emotions like disappointment, hardship, struggle, conflict, overwhelm, stress, and anxiety.

Book a call with me now, and we’ll talk about where fear is keeping you stuck, what you want to think and believe and how I can help you get there.

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