On Choosing A Parenting Style That Feels Right
The parenting world can feel like the most confusing place to be sometimes, ya know? We’re either blissing out on the joy of it all or we’re struggling, so we read the books and hear advise that all seem to contradict themselves.
Maybe we ask ourselves after tossing and turning, “what is a parenting style that truly feels like me?”
Do we potty train the way the neighbor’s kid did? Should I insist on manners like my mom? How long do I keep my kid in timeout, and what if he’s tired or hungry or being a typical 3 year old? These are the questions I’ve asked myself over the years, as I’ve tried to find a path that feels right for my family.
Can you relate?
When we’re questioning like this, it’s helpful to consider: Which path puts the relationship first?
After that, we can dig deeper and consider the whole child.
Which is the least straining and upsetting for all? Which connects us both? Which is healthiest for development and honors age-appropriate expectations? Which continues my long term goal of treating my children with respect, like I would anyone else?
I’m so curious: what other questions do you ask yourself? Feel free to leave a comment or message me. I love learning from you too.
This might mean letting go of the gimmicks, rewards, and punishments. Our children can still learn to use the toilet and remember their manners at healthy ages without all that. We can discipline without isolation and punishments too. Truly. We can also put our foot down when it’s needed.
This isn’t about loosey goosey parenting where our kids are calling all the shots.
It is about learning what feels right for all of us as we go. We might try a new strategy from a popular book but then we notice immediately (or in hindsight), that it led to more strain than what was needed. The strain usually makes us more short tempered because it’s not going so well. Then perhaps our children start to look stubborn in our eyes. Maybe we’re forcing something that is leading to a never -ending power struggle.
Or it’s working like magic but it doesn’t sit well in our bones.
Oh yes, this has all happened to me, and that’s why I relate with parents so well when they vent about their struggles and successes.
Luckily it can be an opportunity for more curiosity and growth as parents.
So then we can decide to choose a path that puts our relationship first and honors the whole child. We can read books by Alfie Kohn and Magda Gerber and Dan Siegel, or others that pique our interest. And maybe you come back to this little blog more often. ;) Our new style might not feel “strategic” because we’ve thrown out the sticker charts and the M&M’s, and the timeout corner is collecting cobwebs.
But maybe our new parenting style starts to feel like us. It feels more like true connection and understanding of our children’s needs and our own. it feels respectful and true.
When we get in our groove and feel in flow, there tends to be slowing down, more gentle guidance, and modeling. Perhaps we observe our children more, and adjust our expectations a bit. We let learning unfold more naturally. We start to trust a bit more that all is well.
As always, I’m happy to walk with you through this, super amazing Mama.