I’ve been hearing from several different influencers about their perspectives on parenting: dos, don’ts, things to avoid, things to accept, things to just drink wine about. I find it interesting that each person has different rules and reasons for implementing specific parenting techniques, but all of these parents swear by their perspective. Everything they’re telling us is what has successfully worked for them. How is that possible when these excerpts of knowledge are contradictory? One person implements timeout, the other corporal punishment, and another ignores maladaptive behavior and praises positive behavior instead. One person yells when upset, the other whispers, and yet another will have a long conversation about expected behavior and outcomes. One person swears by screen time, another abhors it, and maybe a third finds a balance?
How do we choose what is the right way to parent?
I do not think there is one panacea that can be applied to all childhood issues. We have to find what works for us as parents, partners, and as a family unit. Parenting techniques need to not only fit the parent but also the child. What works for one of my children will not necessarily work for the other one. And what works for me as mom, might not work for someone else watching my kid. Not only do we have our own style, but my kids definitely make me work harder than anyone else 🤦♀️. Not to mention my husband and I have to agree on parenting techniques because we believe consistency is essential. So we have to find something that works for us, with different cultural backgrounds, and also works for our children, who are each completely different.
How do you do this?
I’ve found that trial and error is the best way. I rely quite heavily on my instincts, but when I feel stumped, I’ll ask around and try a few different techniques that resonate with me. But if you’re someone who doesn’t possess or feel comfortable relying on instincts, do research: read, ask friends, teachers, doctors, colleagues, family members for input and implement something that not only makes sense to you but also seems realistic for your lifestyle. Recommendations for a family of four may not work for a family of six. Sleep recommendations for one child may not work for children who share rooms. Recommendations for singletons may not work for multiples. Find what works for you.
I’ve also found that strategies that used to work really well, may not work as children get older or families grow. I’ve found that being flexible, patient, and consistent can allow us to thrive, even when we feel out of control.
What’s been helpful for you?