An easy trap for parents to fall into is the unrealistic expectation of perfection. We are conditioned to believe we should be equipped to handle any problems our children might have. We convince ourselves there shouldn’t be a question we are unable to answer. We read the testimonials of other parents or of parenting experts and immediately feel inadequate if our children aren’t living up to those written standards.
In reality, parenting is subjective. Despite numerous sources from which we can glean ways of thinking or philosophies, how we parent is primarily dictated by the personalities of our children and ourselves.
Rather than trying to fit perfectly within a particular parenting philosophy, make an effort to learn from as many resources as possible. I don’t mean change on a whim; I mean put yourself in a position to respond to your children’s ever-changing needs.
Paying too much attention to “normal” developmental stages puts an unnecessary amount of pressure on you and your children. Always keep in mind that your children want to be close to you. They want to please you.
Sometimes this desire to please becomes a struggle for independence because children want to prove they are able to take care of themselves. If I, as a parent, keep this in mind then I will feel less of a need to control my daughter’s behavior to fit my chosen parenting philosophy.
Far too often what gets lost in the minutiae of parenting is the relationship between the parents and the child. There are many ways to gauge whether or not this is happening in your family. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
• Do I spend a lot of energy trying to make sure my child fits the “normal” developmental standards?
• Do I try to strictly adhere to any one parenting philosophy?
• Am I obsessed with the opinion of other people in regard to my child?
• Do I try to limit things, such as video games and television?
• Are my expectations based on the personality of my child or on what others say should be expected of my child?
Focus on the relationship first. The security created by this connection is what motivates people. The parent-child relationship can feel very complicated at times. One way to facilitate a harmonious and productive relationship is to deal with your emotions first. When you are able to do this, the urge to control the behavior of someone else is greatly reduced. I realize this is easier said than done in a lot of cases, but it is certainly an ideal we can all shoot for.
Have a wonderful holiday and enjoy your family!