Parents, stop beating yourself up
The emotional roller coaster that takes place the moment you find out you’re going to be a parent is enough to ground the biggest adrenaline junkies. You become flooded with feelings of excitement mixed with pride, happiness, and fear. From that day forward, we all wonder if we have what it takes to raise a happy, healthy, well-adjusted child.
We often set unrealistic expectations on ourselves to be perfect parents. We read every parenting book, ask everyone we know for advice, maybe even turn to YouTube for parenting tips. You can find a “How-to” for every stage of parenting; from infants sleeping through the night to getting into a top college. It seems like everyone has the answers except you. While our motives are well intended, how helpful are these pro-tips?
Often, the only thing they accomplish is causing us to second guess ourselves, creating further doubt and insecurity. We are so focused on trying not to parent wrong, that we will often overdo trying to do it right.
Raising well-adjusted children
“It’s time to put an end to the everything-you-do-is-wrong school of parent criticism, which puts us in an impossible bind,” states Perri Klass, M.D., Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics at New York University, in a New York Times Blog. The more we search for the “right“ answers and agonize over every decision that needs to be made, the more we feed our insecurities. Additionally, when our children observe us panicking over decision making, we are setting the precedence that perfection is the goal and that we need to get it right the first time.
“Parenting cannot be approached as a fad where our approaches change like flavors of the month,” Dr. Ginsburg said in a Psychology Today blog. We already have what it takes to love our kids and guide them into adulthood. As parents, it’s time to stop comparing ourselves to other parents, and our kids to other kids.
To accomplish our goal of raising healthy, well-adjusted children, we need to move from a mindset of “parenting for perfection” to “parenting for preparation.” We need to focus less on the newest parenting “How-to” trends and focus more on teaching our kids “What to do when…”. They need to be prepared for a life of decision making, overcoming failure, and interacting with others. As parents, we can help them get to the point where they can do these things by modeling confidence, demonstrating that it’s okay to fail, and that you can always get back up when you get knocked down.
Overcoming your parenting insecurity
“The greatest challenge of parenting may be that nurturing your child in a way that prepares her to thrive means you have to sometimes shut down your instinct to shield her from every pain or challenge,” writes Kenneth Ginsburg M.D., M.S.Ed, Professor of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, in a Psychology Today blog.
Our kids need to see us navigate through complex situations in a healthy way, leaning on other family members or asking for help from a trusted community during difficult times. The moments that we can model what it looks like to walk through both good and bad times, with them by our side, will be more memorable than any YouTube “How-to” you can find.
The good thing is, we don’t have to try and navigate through parenting alone. It takes a village to raise healthy, thriving kids and at Christ’s Church of the Valley, we’ve created a community that does just that. We partner with parents, providing tools and teachings that help them feel prepared as they go through the various stages of parenting.
In addition to finding a supportive community for yourself, we’ve created environments for kids and teens to connect with others their age as they grow and discover who they were created to be. Visit ccv.church for more information.