One quick Google search for “parenting” results in hundreds, if not thousands, of hits. There are articles, books, blogs, podcasts, Facebook pages and online groups. We are bombarded with parenting advice that is often confusing, contradictory, and at times, even frightening.
This overload of information has created a generation of parents who settle for “good enough”. Even parents who are usually confident and self-assured in their parenting decisions can be sidetracked into self-doubt, guilt, and shame.
If this describes the way you’re currently feeling about being a parent, I’ve got good news!
There is no room for guilt or shame. Parenting advice, whether you get it from your own parents, other parents, friends or Google, should fit your family. As you seek advice and guidance, remember these 5 ways to think about how to process and apply parenting advice.
1. Connect to a Virtual Community
It’s reassuring to know that you are not alone in your worries and insecurities about being a successful parent. Sometimes. All you need is a sympathetic ear or confirmation about a parenting choice. There are plenty of social media groups, chat rooms, etc., where you can find support.
2. Ask Questions and Be Alert to Rigid Advice
There is no one “magical” way to raise your children. The list of parenting questions you may have is exhausting. But remember to consider that parenting advice is just that…advice that may only offer one perspective. Taking advice with a “grain of salt” definitely applies here. Parenting is not one-size-fits-all and involves lots of experimentation. Gather your information in whatever way is most comfortable for you. Put it into practice in a way that fits your family best.
3. Review the Data and Settle on What Works Best for Your Family
Make sure you have the most current research data for the topic you’re seeking, and interpret the information through the lens of your own family. Test the ideas and get rid of what doesn’t work for your family.
4. Try One New Approach at a Time
There are lots of different strategies out there, and you cannot absorb them all. Try not to incorporate too many changes at once. If you make too many changes at once, especially drastic changes, they will not stick.
5. Parent as Part of a Community and Don’t Judge
It’s safe to say that not all parents will agree all the time. Make it okay to agree to disagree. But you’ll be stronger if you band together with other parents on the bigger stuff. Take advantage of opportunities to lift other parents up, especially if you notice they are struggling. Don’t give in to the feeling of wanting to compare your kids, or your parenting style, to other parents. Accept other parents for who they are and what they believe is best for their own families. Communicate with other parents and contribute to a lifestyle that demonstrates kindness and respect.
Parenting is about research and experimentation. It’s not a one size fits all practice. It’s about trying, adjusting, and refocusing. Missteps are part of the process. Just keep trying until you find a parenting style that works for your family.