Forget Parenting Preconceived Notions

Forget Parenting Preconceived Notions


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Some things will work as you expect...many will not.

You probably think you know how to raise your child. If this is your second child and beyond, you probably feel like you have a good grasp on how you’re going to get through many of the parenting challenges that will be presented to you. You know how you’ll get your child to sleep through the night, you know how to potty train them, you know how to get them to be a good eater. Or maybe not.

It’s easy to think you know the right way to do something as a parent, only to find out that it really doesn’t work. Sure, it may have worked great for your friend or with one of your other children, but that doesn’t mean it is going to work for your child. Just because your first child responded well to certain foods and eats like a champ does not guarantee that your other children will do the same.

Don’t be surprised when you have to figure out a different parenting style for each of your children. There’s no guide for your child that you can pick up that will tell you exactly what you need to do to raise them - it’s one of the reasons that parenting is so difficult. There is advice coming at you from a million different directions, it often conflicts, and it can actually all be accurate as well.

You need to make sure that you don’t stick to your preconceived notions in such a way that is actually more harmful than it is helpful when raising children. Just because you believe that your child should be playing sports, and you’re going to force them to do it until they do, doesn’t mean that you’ll be successful. If your child isn’t going to find the desire themselves, then forcing them into it is just going to make it worse.

If you only have one child, then you may only experience this issue to a small extent. You have some preconceived notions about how parenting will work, and how you want to raise your child, but you’ve also never actually gone through each phase of parenting either. It’s less surprising when something you thought would work doesn’t - there’s a good chance you just think you got bad advice.

As you have more children though, you’ll quickly become humbled by the fact that you probably know less about parenting than you thought. Hopefully it leads to less preaching from you about the “right way” to do things as a parent and leads to more earnest discussions about different ways that a child can be raised. When you think you know it all, you’re not focused on helping to find actual solutions.

There will be times when you’ll have to stick to a certain way of doing things because you can’t give up too quickly. For example, when it comes to potty training, if you give up after just a couple of days with your current method and move onto something else, you may have given up too early (if you just need a break and will come back to it later, that’s a bit different, and a different reason all together).

Don’t feel smug about knowing how to do things the right way - you will likely find that every child is different, and one method worked well for you, but not for someone else. We should be working on finding solutions to parenting for each parent by being supportive rather than declarative.


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