Today parents are constantly bombarded with conflicting advice about what makes good parenting and what children need to grow up healthy. Despite a number of excellent books on the topic,parents often receive mixed messages about what is actually the best strategy to use when raising their children. Experts in the field tell us to “Pick our battles, or offer choices”, and many other supportive suggestions that can serve to provide direction and guidance. Nevertheless, seeing that each child is unique and therefore requires a different parenting style and approach. Wouldn’t it be great if children came with their own set of instructions? Well, I have good news for you….they do. It’s called behavior. From an early age, children behave in ways that, when we understand how to interpret, speaks volumes about what it is they are feeling and/or need. Think about it; who knows their child better than their parent? Often, by simply looking at our children we can determine what it is they are feeling and when we can’t; their behavior will tell us all we need to know. So if it’s so simple, why aren’t we all perfect parents? Because despite knowing our children there exists a complex set of dynamics between who they are and who we think they ought to be.
Because sometimes in our effort to protect we forget that some lessons are better learned by trial and error. Because in our desire to ensure they are happy we desperately do everything in our power to avoid them being sad. How exactly is helping them to grow and develop into independent men and women? Perhaps it’s time to remove the pressure to be “perfect” and learn to feel comfortable about being a “good enough parent”. This means allowing ourselves to make mistakes, read the wrong signals, lose it at times (as long as we recognize that we may have over reacted on occasion) – not only is this far more realistic, it’s also great role modeling for what it means to be in a relationship and to be a parent. What a perfect lesson to teach our children!
Corrie Sirota, social worker. To book an appointment with Corrie, call 514-684-9073