Trust-Yourself Parenting

Parenting is an overwhelming task.  And that may be an understatement!  The questions parents have about the “right” way to do it are often answered in different ways depending on the book / website / person giving advice.  A piece of our own heart is living inside this other small person, and our strongest desire is to do the best we can.  But what is the best way?

The staff of the Hopkins Early Childhood programs want to remind you that often the “right” way to approach parenting is by doing what works best for you and your family. The reams of books, the sensational websites, the scary stories from others, these are all just part of the information picture.  In our Hopkins Early Childhood Family Education classes parents often come to the conclusion – correctly so – that using the reliable facts available, depending on the support of parents whom you trust, and considering your own child and family situation often results in a parenting decision that works for you.

Trusting yourself is an approach to parenting that takes some time, and it certainly doesn’t mean making decisions based on the whim of the fads around parenting. It does, however, allow us to realize that we have many of the answers. We need to prioritize the time to discuss and consider the options, but we have the answers.  Our staff would like to offer a few suggestions for moving confidently into parenting.

  • Give yourself time: The decisions you make about the care of your child should happen when you are calm. A rushed decision in the spur of the moment does not often result in a response that you can trust. Clear some space for yourself and your partners in parenting, and give these decisions the time they deserve.
  • Be thoughtful, not reactive: We often react to childhood memories when thinking about raising our own children.  We often react to our parenting partner’s approach when it is different than ours. We often react to our fear around how overwhelming parenting can be. Many of the decisions we make do tend to be influenced by our own childhood, and there is value in taking this into consideration. Take the time to consider your past and your experience. Consider the lessons learned as well as the positives. Then choose the parenting path that makes the most sense to your new family. As you are taking the time to talk about your parenting decisions, ask yourself this question, “Am I reacting, or am I considering all options?”
  • Ask for support from parents you admire: We all have people in our lives who we admire. We see their parenting approach, and we like how it works for them. Ask questions of the people you think best fit your perspective in parenting. The people you most appreciate are not likely to try to scare you or push you in one parenting direction. Find the people in your life most likely to listen to you and help you clarify your thoughts, rather than push their position too hard.
  • Gather information from trusted sources: Parents you most admire are a good start.  Ask these people for the books and websites they felt were most helpful.  ECFE is a great option for support, gathering information, and learning to trust yourself. The exchange of ideas from parents in your same situation is so valuable when you are considering multiple options and angles in parenting decisions.
  • Give yourself a break: Don’t aim to be the perfect parent. There are no perfect parents. We will all make mistakes during this parenting journey. Our kids will forgive us, especially when we acknowledge our mistakes, learn from the experience, and shift course.


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