It’s True, there is no Handbook on how to be a Parent

Just about everyone from your Postman to your Mother-In-Law will offer well meant parenting advice.
It can all seem a bit confusing.
Your child comes to you with no guide, no user manual, no reset button, no volume control and no returns policy.

You will have to decide what parenting advice makes sense for you and your family, ignore the rest and keep moving forward.

Thankfully, being a parent is the most rewarding, exciting and fulfilling role there is. Yes, exhausting and frustrating too.

Enjoy it while it lasts. The chance to experience the world through a child’s eyes is a truly magical time. And you get to help a little person grow into an adult.

How Do You Parent?

Do you have a feel for what type of parent you are?
What is important to you?

  • Is there anything more important than being there for your kids?
  • Helping them to meet each new challenge – like crawling, walking, talking.
  • Helping them to feel confident in the outside world.
  • Showing them how to have a conversation and how to be a good friend.
  • Getting them used to the idea of starting school.
  • What did you admire most about your own parents?
  • What mistakes did they make that you can improve on?

The best way to guide our kids is by setting an example on how to behave well and, when needed, knowing how to discipline effectively without making things worse.

Don’t Expect too Much

Kids are individuals.
They will develop at their own speed.
Normal is a very wide word when it comes to describing kids.

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Everything from growth, behavior, speech, toilet training… you name it, an expert will have put out some regimented parenting advice on it.

Parent’s experience shows that even though you may not be quite in the ball park with some milestone or other as long as you can still hear the game being played you are close enough.

No one is Perfect

In fact, perfect is a horrible word. Banish it from your life.
It’ll just mess with your head. Having said that, anytime you are really worried about your child’s development, see your doctor for a chat.

You know your child best and if anything worries you then you should talk to a health professional about it.

Children aren’t born a blank and to be filled in by their parents. They have their own personality from day one.

Of course, what happens around them as they grow will also shape them but always from the point of view of their existing personality.

A daydreaming, artistic child can be made to play football – but at what cost? You could try to convince an outgoing, sociable chatterbox to sit quietly and learn chess – but no one’s going to enjoy that one.

Get to know your kids and accept that their view of the world will always differ from yours. Go with it.

Likewise you are setting yourself up for disappointment if you think you can be the perfect good parent. No one can know everything or make the best decision every time.

Cut yourself some slack. There are always lots of different ways of doing something, just because the parenting advice said “Say A and your child will do B” doesn’t mean that they will.

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And it doesn’t mean that you are not a good parent either. It just means that you need to try something else.

Be confident that you will:

  • Make the right decision some of the time,
  • Make a good decision most of the time,
  • And really get it wrong sometimes.
  • It happens. Accept it and move on.