As modern parents, we want answers. Preferably all the answers, in a book, from the moment our child is conceived. We were raised with science, learned the value of evidence, and many of us were fed, bathed, and tucked in, on a schedule. And of course, we want the best for our children.
But then there’s also that part of us, as modern parents, that long for a more natural way of living, to be more connected parents than our parents were with us, to be present and loving, and perhaps even genuinely enjoy the time we spend with our childen.
Yet we often don’t realize how conditioned we are, and how much the 'new public management' era has not only influenced our lives, but also shaped the way we look at life, ourselves and our children.
Very often, I see parents asking questions online about how EXACTLY they should be raising their children. “When should a 2-year old go to sleep?” “What’s the best time to stop breastfeeding?” “How many words should a 4-year-old know?” are some of the typical questions that parents will ask. Totally normal, right?
The thing is that we were raised in a society, and in a school system, where we were taught not to trust, or listen to our own instincts, intuition or gut feeling. At all. We were raised to be followers, not leaders, and so many of us completely gave up on developing these aspects of ourselves, because it was easier to accept that we had no voice.
We've been so disempowered in our own lives, that it is deeply terrifying to us, to have to take responsibility for someone else, let alone ourselves.
So instead, we look out for the preordained, permanently universal answers, that'll work for our child at ALL times. Or we want someone to tell us what to do, and then it's a 'rule' we can follow, and it feels more safe. It's like we want to go on auto-pilot, because it's easier and less scary. Because there’s safety in numbers, of doing what everyone else does, and if it goes wrong, it’s not on us.
Because otherwise we have to take full responsibility in each moment, and make assessments in each moment, and actually trust ourselves - even when going against society's standards.
And THAT is freakin scary.
But that is what it means to be a leader. To be willing to stand accountable and fully responsible, also when it goes wrong.
This, to me is part of the whole larger process, of becoming self-directed, and self-principled, as a human being.
To be a true leader of yourself, and thereby of yourself as a parent.
The thing with parenting is that it's a lot of trial and error.
A lot of experimenting.
And sometimes succeeding.
Not all methods will work for all children, at all times. And when we focus so much on following a particular strategy, we may very often miss out on our actual child’s real cues.
Looking at and listening to our child in the moment, is one of the best and most direct ways to assess what is the best course of action. But just like every adult, a child is not always the same, and their needs might change. And your child may just be very particular with certain things, that completely goes against the grain of what everyone else is doing.
Maybe your child is a night owl that prefers staying up late. Or maybe you have an extremely peckish eater who seems to thrive off of watermelon and salt crackers (I have one of those).
If you don’t SEE and respect your child for who THEY are, as the beautifully unique creatures they are, you risk doing the exact opposite of what your initial intention was; to be the best parent you can be, for your child.
And this is where we need to have developed a certain level of trust and an ability to listen to our deeper instincts, our heart and our gut feeling.
That is the only thing that will give us the feeling of safety and peace that we so desperately long for.
And if you are willing, and if you dare, parenting can be a tremendous jumping board into a deep process of self-transformation.
So from my perspective, we need to give a lot less attention to raising our children,
And actually focus a lot more on raising ourselves.
That’s the only way to get the results that we want.
If you resonate with what I’ve shared here, and would like to start working more intentionally with transforming your parenting into one of connected joy and trust, book a session with me here, or book a free inquiry conversation to find out if we can be a match. Much love, /Anna