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Confident Parenting

[Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed below have come to me after years of raising children who differ in their personalities, strengths, and talents.  This post is not about any one child, but rather what I have been taught by all of my children collectively.]




Let's face it:  when we become parents, we really have no clue as to what we are doing.  We might be educated, we might have experience working with children, and we probably understand that parenting is a huge undertaking, but we don't yet know our child--the precious individual we have the privilege of raising. 

When I was pregnant with my first child, someone told me, "The best advice I can give you is to realize that you are the mom. You know your child better than anyone else." As I am ever-so-quickly approaching empty-nest status, I think I am finally figuring that out.

I know from experience that what works for one, doesn't necessarily work for another.  General principles can be universal--love and respect come immediately to mind--but specific teaching techniques vary. 

As a competitive, goal-oriented person who enjoys checking items off lists, I have been guilty of looking for the "to-do" list of child-rearing.  How do I inspire motivation in my child?  How do I teach him or her everything required to succeed in life?  Am I a good parent?

While self-reflection can be useful, I find that too many questions stem from comparison with others, and that is neither healthy nor helpful--for me, or my child.  Just as I realize that each of my children differ from the others, I need to remember that each of my children differ from me, and each differ from every other person. 

I am a confident parent when I compare my child to no one and celebrate with my child each step of personal growth.  (OK, I know there are situations where you might need to discuss developmental milestones with health professionals, but even/especially with limiting conditions, the idea of not worrying yourself/your child with comparisons remains the same.) With the exception of deity, no one knows my child better than my husband and I.  I do not need to answer the why questions of others with anything more than, "This works best for us."  When I start to feel overwhelmed by some ridiculous notion, such as, "My child needs to know, do, or be x before age y," I need to ask myself if that is actually true.   

Please do not misunderstand me.  I want my children to set goals and be life-long learners, and I very much believe in parents taking an active role in their children's lives, helping them to learn, build faith and develop character.   I just need to remember to be a confident parent.   I'm not perfect, but when I'm confident, I'm a more relaxed and pleasant mom.

What have you learned through your parenting journey, or, if you are just starting out, what do you hope to learn?  I'd love to hear from you!

Thankful thought:  Thanks for parenting,  life's best teaching opportunity.

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Comments

  1. I'm so glad you have this perspective. I mean obviously I'm not a parent, but I am a psychology major and it really frustrates me how so much emphasis is put on comparing people with what's "normal". I think that often does more harm than good, especially with kids. Not that I know anything about anything, but I certainly agree with you :]

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