Sure, there are times we parents find ourselves rattled, off our game or plain old stumped, but it’s at those times, we need to seek resources and find our mojo to return to confident parenting. Parenthood begins in pregnancy and evolves as our kids grow.
The main goal in parenting boils down to raising future adults with solid character (however each family defines that). We are raising children with the hope of them becoming happy, confident, healthy grown-ups ready to face the world.
We find our parenting style in many ways, through trial and error, doing and learning, reading books, websites, blogs, expert opinions, observing other parents, reflecting on how our parents did the job. In the end, even with support of family, friends, teachers and community members, the job is ours and we need to trust ourselves. Trust that we know our children best, trust our ability and trust ourselves to seek out help when we need it.
Confident parenting encourages us to reject advise we don’t agree with, even if it’s from an “expert” or printed in a book. It’s okay to get comfortable trying stuff out, I love the idea of building up a parenting “tool bag” with tools gleaned from different sources. Tools can be stories to illustrate an idea, demonstration of a skill, reward charts, discipline techniques, family rituals, morning or bedtime systems, distraction tricks, setting clear limits … anything we use in teaching and guiding our children.
Some of these tools may be the perfect fit on one day but be completely ineffective on another, something may work in one situation but fail to get the desired result in another and some tools may be exactly what one child needs and be entirely wrong for another. You may even find that something works on Monday but not on Wednesday, then it works again the next month.
Confident parenting requires boundless energy to be creative and flexible, to be consistent and to follow through. We need to navigate when and how to bend, mold, and change as our kids grow. We can’t develop a fixed style and our parenting won’t be exactly the same with each of our children. Finding that balance continues as an ever-changing process throughout the growing stages.
Within that flow of adapting as our kids develop, it’s equally important to maintain a consistency of actions so our children know what to expect from us, and understand the limits we’ve set. As our parenting evolves, we still need to make value-based decisions, follow through on our word, keep our promises, and cultivate habits within our confident parenting style that are steadfast and predictable.
I work with parents of newborns just beginning to define their style and just figuring out what parenthood is all about. My advise is always to trust yourself, even in the earliest moments, parents know their children. Read, learn, and observe, but know it’s okay to reject what won’t work for your family even if it’s the newest trend in parenting and every parent at playgroup is doing it.
Kids are extremely resilient. We are going to mess up at times, we are going to say or do the wrong things, but when we make mistakes, if we go back to our fundamentals, and parent confidently with love, consistency and anchor it in family values, we are giving our children a gift.
Confident parenting adapts from infancy to toddlerhood, from school-aged children to teenagers, from college kids to adults, and yet it’s important to always return to a stable thread of trusting yourself and your instinct. Here’s a high five to all you parents working hard to raise beautiful adults.
What makes you feel confident as a parent? What are the tools that are working for you right now?