It’s quite ironic that with all our scientific knowledge and modern conveniences, parenting in today’s world is more challenging than ever. I could sit here and blame the internet, or smartphones, or whatever – but the real problem is that we’re just inundated with information, about EVERYTHING.
To the point of overwhelm.
At the same time, we pressure ourselves into getting it RIGHT. As long as we read enough and research enough, we’ll gather all the information we need to make the RIGHT decision.
And that’s the trap that most parents get caught in. Because too much info-gathering can lead us to override our parental instincts.
If you’re an avid google-r, like I am, then you know what I mean.
Sure, there’s some instances where kid-related research is necessary, like learning how to install training wheels on a bike or the best way to store baby food. In those situations, I’m happy to look to the experts.
But when it comes to parenting itself, less research is usually better.
I’m talking about the real nuts and bolts of parenting. Like dealing with tantrums, sleep disruptions, or aggressive behaviour. Or teaching kids how to manage emotions, or how to become more confident.
The “experts” don’t always know best.
Type how to stop tantrums into google, and there’s over a million hits. That’s a lot of information! And what does the doting parent do? Look at a few of the most reputable “expert” sites for a bunch of strategies. And when the strategies stop working (or maybe they never worked at all), write off that “expert” and go back online to find someone else with the answers.
And the cycle repeats.
The trouble is, the “experts” don’t know your child as well as you do. Even if the experts were to spend hours with your child, they still wouldn’t know your child as well as you.
Parents sometimes ask me for THE answer aka the magic formula to solve all the problems. I’ve had parents ask me “can’t you just tell me what to do, so my child will behave?”
My response is: YOU are all your child needs.
You and your instincts.
Everything you need to be the best parent you can be, is within you already.
You might need a bit of support to unlock that inner potential, perhaps from someone with specialised training, but ultimately, YOU are the best expert on your child.
There’s no right answers when it comes to parenting. You are unique. Your child is unique. In the history of the world, there has never been a parent-child combination quite like yours. Always take “expert” advice with a grain of salt. If something doesn’t sit right with you, then it’s probably not right for you.
The reverse holds true as well. If you have a hunch that something is not quite right, but everyone tells you “oh it’s normal for that age” – go with your gut. Keep asking, keep questioning, and trust your instincts.
Here’s the advice I give to parents who come to me feeling overwhelmed and confused.
STOP everything for a few moments, and just think.
Think about what YOU want. What do you want for your child? What sort of parent do you want to be? What are your priorities as a parent?
Here’s a hint – it’s not what your mother-in-law tells you, or what your best friend says, or what society dictates.
It’s your inner wisdom.
Once we become clear on what we want, we can relax and take the pressure off of ourselves to get it right. And then the “how” gradually falls into place. We just have to clear away the chaff, and let our inner wisdom guide us to the answer that right for US.
Have you ever been in a situation where the “experts” don’t know best? I’d love to hear your comments!!