Confident Parenting… What’s That Then? March 15, 2015 – Posted in: Confidence, Relationships – Tags: bath mums, parenting
When I was expecting my first child eleven years ago I devoured parenting books with the same passion I had once reserved for the annuals of my favourite pop bands. Why? Because I was SO concerned about “getting it right” and not screwing up my daughter.
When she was born I clearly remember doing everything the midwife told me to the letter, again because I was intensely afraid of getting it wrong. When the midwife handed me over to the care of the Health Visitor the advice on the best way to care for my infant suddenly changed and I panicked – who was right? The midwife or the Health Visitor or the various books I had?
It was at this point that I did one of the best things I’ve ever done as a parent – I threw away the books, acknowledged the advice of the professionals and then listened to MY instincts about MY child because I knew, deep in my core, that my instincts were generally right for her. And this was the beginning of my journey towards becoming a confident parent.
For me confident parenting is about letting go of fear and trusting that you are likely to have the right answers for your child. If you don’t have the answer, you will (because you love that little person with a passion) find someone who does have the answer.
So what else makes for a confident parent…?
The self-esteem of confident parents is not in any way wrapped up in the achievements or success of their child. We all know the mums and dads who take great pleasure in telling us how brilliant their child is and I always wonder what kind of pressure this must put on their child. Of course, we must all be proud and delighted when our kids do well but if this is because it somehow validates us as people then something’s gone wrong.
Confident parents also get it wrong sometimes and they forgive themselves. I used to promise myself everyday that I wouldn’t shout at my girls (I had three in quick succession) but I realised after a while that this was an impossible bar to reach. Sometimes I shout – I don’t like doing it but I am human! And sometimes I need to apologise to my girls for shouting – that’s OK – in fact, the act of apologising boosts their self-esteem as they see I have enough respect for them to apologise.
And, finally, confident parents have a goal. I am NOT talking about deciding upon your child’s career for them or wanting them to be top of the class. I am talking about a value-based goal meaning I have in my mind the type of adult (the end goal) I would like my girls to turn out to be. Words like compassionate, self-assured, open-minded and happy spring to mind. When I need to discipline one of my girls it’s with this in mind – “what kind of adult am I growing here?” – and I take steps from there.
Confident parents don’t sweat the small stuff – they know that in order to thrive all most kids need is lots of love and time, good food, fresh air and laughter. That’s what my instincts tell me. What do yours tell you?