Parenting is a choice. It is an informed decision that changes our life! Parenting is also the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, financial and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood.
We all know this. We also know that parenting is a responsibility, that we accept willingly; although we have no clue how we are going to bear it successfully, for the results come much later in this game; and by then it is too late to change our play! So we all do what we think is the best, and hope that things work out the way we want them to.
Parenting Then and Now
Earlier, when we did not have the internet or the many resources we have today, we depended on our elders for guidance; but now we depend more and more on parenting books, parenting support groups, parenting websites, and friends and family who are in a situation similar to ours for insight. All this helps us get a larger perspective of the whole parenting hullabaloo, but even so, we still face situations where we doubt ourselves. This is because, no matter how much we read up or try to prepare ourselves; parenting is not the same for everyone.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ in parenting and that is why, what works in a book or in a certain article you’ve read, doesn’t necessarily work for you.
Case in point: I read an article recently that said “Teach your child not to interrupt in One Simple Step!
” Tempting right? Well, I read the article completely; and followed the writer’s instructions to the T. Then I implemented the same with my little one and sure enough, initially the idea was a hit!
But then, after a few days; the idea wasn’t so cool anymore. My little one just stopped responding to the trick mentioned in the article, just like that. “Let’s not do this anymore,” he said to me one day; and that was that. No offense to the writer, but my little one and hers are of different temperaments, want different things and do things differently; so obviously, what worked for her, did not work for me.
I am sure there are many parents, who read some amazing articles in magazines or on the internet and think that they have found the answers to their problems; only to find that their children do not agree. Does that mean that it is wrong to read something and try to implement it ? Is it wrong to follow an advice someone offers on a website or in an article? No, that is not so. It is good to be well-read and informed. Like I said, these things give us a wider perspective; and it is essential to have that. So what goes wrong?
In all our enthusiasm to be the ‘hep’ parents keeping up with the latest trends in parenting; we forget the one fundamental fact that is at the heart of parenting!
And that is where we go wrong.
The Forgotten Mantra
For all the parenting advise and hacks to work, we need to remember one most important fact. That one thing, that is the true indicator of whether or not anything else will work. And to explain this, I am going to digress for a moment.
I am sure, many of us must have tried recipes off the internet at least once? Now these recipes are exact, with precise measurements and lists of ingredients. But every good cook knows, that preparing a certain dish in the exact manner as the recipe tells us to is no guarantee that their attempts will be appreciated. For that to happen, the we need to adapt and tweak the recipe to suit the palates of our family members. Some families prefer more spice, some prefer less salt, some like a hint of sweetness while some prefer a certain degree of blandness – and it is only when we take into consideration all these factors that we can expect that our family accepts and admires our dish!
It is the same with parenting,
We need to tailor every parenting advice, every parenting hack, every thing we read to suit our family. We need to trust our instincts!
And when we learn to rely on our instincts as a parent – as a mother, as a father – is when we can ensure that we make positive changes in ourselves as parents, and by extension, positive changes in our parenting.