What? Isn’t reading supposed to be good? Well, reading is great if it empowers you and enables you to make better decisions, but there’s such a thing as too much reading. Too many choices and styles can leave you feeling disempowered and confused, unable to make healthy decisions. Let’s face it- if self-help books worked, that category would be a tiny one. Read the book, fix the problems and bam! All done. If you find reading helpful, by all means, carry on, but don’t get stuck in a parenting library swamp.
Don’t listen to your friends
We all love support. Thrive on it. Whether it’s from real-life friends dropping around for coffee, or a network of similar-minded parents online sharing empathy and advice, those relationships can help you through some trying times, but they can also throw your family engine into a stall. Experiential advice (“Well, this happened to my kid, so you have to fix it like that”, or, “that rash has to be X, because we went through that last year”), can lead to you feeling overwhelmed by support and even guilty for ignoring their advice. Chances are, you will know what’s best for your child, and, if not, you are perfectly capable of making decisions, even if those decisions involve your child’s doctor.
Don’t ask Google
What we love about Google is that we can type in any question and, in a second, have pages of answers. Which is fine when you’re looking for a finite answer such as the name of a movie actor, but not so great when it comes to diagnosing paediatric illnesses, or finding out ways to stop your baby crying. Google doesn’t make a good parent. If Google could have babies, they’d be confused and over-protected beings with multiple personalities. Not to mention every possible illness, most of them terminal!
Remember the bigger picture
You know the quote, “In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on”. (Robert Frost)? That’s not meant to be a cynical dismissal of life’s challenges, but, perhaps, a seed of hope to those of us who are feeling caged in by pregnancy, breastfeeding, crying babies, sleeplessness, dummy weaning, potty training, temper tantrums and glowering teens. The cage has an expiry date. At some point, you’ll look back in wonder at just how odd it is that those difficult times held such a grip on your life.
When things seem to get heavy, or you’re at a loss for how to cope, step back and think. Not about solutions, but about your child. Imagine being a teacher. Each year, a teacher sees a classroom full of fresh faces. After a few short months, those kids are gone again, a little taller, a little wiser. Childhood is easily measured in years- most parents can relate to the experience of suddenly thinking “where did THAT decade go?” and, when you have small kids, those pivotal first and second decades fly past, too. If you look for ways to enjoy your children and for them to enjoy life, you’ll have fun along the way, too.
Sometimes the biggest changes you can make to improve your parenting are the simplest ones.
Do you find parenting to be too complicated sometimes?
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.