I have searched my fair share of parenting books (dare I add, all the videos, classes, websites, and blogs that I’ve perused as well???), and I have found that there is a wide array of “voices” speaking on the topic of parenting. On one end of the spectrum, there is the absolute parenting “expert”, who tends to take your head off with assertions and directions, with no consideration as to whether you have had a good night’s sleep in the past month, nor a consideration of whether your child has a chronic condition, learning disability, what your child’s personality (or what yours is, for that matter) might be or what he/she might be confronting developmentally (ie. Don’t sleep-train a child who is in pain from teething for Pete’s sake! She’s in pain and requires your attention!!). Then there is the extreme, over-the-top “dare-never-to-disappoint-the-child-for-fear-of-destroying-his/her-self-esteem!!!” parenting “expert” who lands on the side of the child’s needs over the parents needs every time, which is unrealistic on so many levels and truly absurd. I tend to land some place in the middle of these two extremes, and vying from walking the parenting road with many friends, family members and neighbors, I think many land in the middle much like me.
Where do you find that YOU land with regarding to how you parent your child? Or do you even know?? Given the demands of life alongside of parenting children (especially small children that are still waking you at night), we can often feel as though we are plodding through parenting, with a “I will get through this day!” (or maybe a “WILL I get through this day??”) mentality. However, as with most things in life, when we define where we are at, take a closer look at our current circumstances and situation, obtain a vision, and outline a future goal or two, we tend to have enhanced success. Parenting is relentless, so it’s not like we can clear our mind at our office desk and regroup, much like we often do in the workplace. However, simple exercises of considering where we align ourselves, much like thinking through a recent parenting article or conversation you have had about parenting (ie. “I would NEVER parent my child like my neighbor Sally!”) can help us define our “here and now” as it relates to childrearing. Once a simple insight comes to mind, ask yourself these 3 questions:
1) Do I like that what I claim about my current method/mode of parenting (“I am always giving in to junior’s requests for ice cream, in lieu of his constant whining and poor behaviors.” Or “I am glad that I was firm with little-princess’ sassy behavior today at the play date.” Etc.)?
2) Depending on the answer to #1, what do I want to tweak about that (Enhance? Or, Adjust?)
3) How can I do that in 1 small way? (“I will warn junior with ‘if you whine tonight at dinner or after, you will not be getting dessert; we can always try again tomorrow.’” Or, “I will continue to hold little-princess accountable for her sassiness, AND be certain to catch her and PRAISE her more when she’s using kind words without sassiness.”
Parenting children well is an incredibly challenging pursuit, and with the demands and pace of life we confront in today’s culture, we rarely are able to gain clarity and composure as it relates to how we parent our children. Maybe YOU have it all figured out, and if so, good for you! But if you are like me, I continue to pursue as many ways as I can to enhance my ability to parent well in this day and age… I have to trust that my tireless pursuit to improve can only bare some positive fruit.
Please share some of your parenting stories as they relate to pursuing wisdom along the journey of parenting… I think we all learn the most from Parents Empowering Parents!!!