The Best Approach to Parenting

When we become parents, we accept the challenge of raising our children with only our existing basic knowledge. It doesn’t matter what we’ve learned from our previous children (if any), parents, parenting books, magazines, hospital literature, advice we received directly from our doctors. For the first few years, we grow to realize that we are dealing with a unique child who may or may not respond to “tried and true” parenting methods.

It’s easy to feel pressured into doing “whatever everyone else is doing”; it’s also easy to feel like a total failure when said methods don’t work for our child. We internalize these things by thinking we did something wrong when, really, it’s just wrong for our child.

Relax. Relax. RELAX. Stop worrying about what “others” are doing. Creating a successful parent/child dynamic is about the creativity in find something that works for each family, based on so many unique factors which depend upon the child, the parent(s), the upbringing of the parents, siblings/sibling dynamics and the world of information that we must sift through to find just the right method. It’s when we feel pressured {to be like other parents} or stressed {when things don’t work} that affects how confident we are as parents. When our children sense that we’re stressed or unsure, they, too, become stressed and possibly insecure.

What our society needs is for parents to feel universally supported, regardless of our parenting methods. The choices we make about working vs. staying at home, breast vs. bottle feeding, cloth vs. disposable aren’t up for judgment or criticism by other parents who don’t necessarily agree with those choices. We all have our preferences and reasons for those preferences. Our primary focus, as parents, is all about raising our kiddos to the same high standard that our parents held us to. It means making sure that they feel unconditionally loved, accepted, understood, compassionate, hard-working, kind, generous, gracious, courteous, polite, selfless, active.

I believe that we all have unique qualities that we bring to our roles as parents and it’s all about embracing those qualities and allowing our parental identities to emerge and evolve over time. It took me a while to settle into mine because of the abuse and alienation I endured. Now that I’m out of that situation, I am free to be the mum that my kiddos deserve. I am rather proud of my creative, non-conformist, no-nonsense approach to parenting, but it was difficult to shed the doubts put there by my late ex. Fortunately, my kiddos seem to instinctively know just what to do or say when those doubts surface from time to time. That’s when I nod and think, yeah, I’m doing something right.

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