Choosing your parenting style
Often times as parents we start to have “should” thoughts. My child “should” be doing sports, dance, 5 musical instruments, learning Latin, getting straight A’s, feeding the homeless, and on and on and on. Or maybe the “should’s” are an internal measuring stick we use for ourselves, in which we keep raising the bar every time we get close or beat ourselves up with it when we fall short.
Do you have hand-me down beliefs from parents or friends? Do you see parenting styles that seem to look great on your neighbor and their kiddos, but don’t seem to fit you or your life? Are you constantly looking around wondering why you aren’t measuring up to so and so, or why your child isn’t quite measuring up?
Did you know that choosing your parenting style is like choosing a great pair of shoes? You can choose what is going to work best in each situation for YOU, just like finding the right pair of hiking boots for your outdoor adventures that fit YOUR feet perfectly, or finding a beautiful pair of pumps for that gorgeous evening gown. You get to decide what is going to work best for your child, your lifestyle, your own personality and your family. Sure, it might take some trial and error. You might have to try on a few styles and thoughts, figure out what your style is, or what is going to work best for which child. But eventually you will start to know what works and looks good on you.
When I go shopping with one of my sisters (we have pretty different lives and styles), I will try on a pair of shoes that I love. She knows I love them, and she will say “I love those shoes for you!” I used to want her to just love them. But now I realize they just wouldn’t fit her life, or really her style. But she sees that they work perfectly for me and my style.
It sounds kind of funny and even a little simple, that you can wake up each morning and decide what is going to be best for your life, child, and family. Because most of the time we believe things are just happening to us. But I have some mind-blowing truth to offer you…. YOU get to choose.
I follow a Mom on Instagram. I don’t know her personally, but I really like her parenting style, most of the time. So, I follow and I read and I watch. Sometimes I try on some of her thoughts and see if they will fit my family’s style. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they are the perfect fit and other times they don’t.
Recently she showed a picture of her daughter on her computer. I thought it was going to be a post about monitoring screen time or how they effectively use screens to teach. It was about the power of choosing your style. Her daughter loves to write. She loves to create with words. She is also very athletic and this cute Mama has had many people tell her that she should enroll her in sports, help her with those talents. Think of all the great things she could do, she could achieve. The power of this story and this Mom is that she knows her child. She knows herself and she is teaching her daughter to set her own expectations. Her daughter loves to play outside, but doesn’t love competition. She loves to use her athletic ability, but wants to use the majority of her time to think and create. So, she helped her daughter find her life style and she is wearing her parenting style very well.
How can you begin to choose your style? One way might be to decide how you want to feel at the end of the day.
For example. I want to feel connected to my child. Then take a few minutes to figure out what that would look like, what thoughts would help me get to that feeling. What actions would I choose if I was feeling connected? For me that is going to look different for every child. Give it a try this week and let us know what you come up with. We would love to see your parenting styles in action. Who knows that great thought might help someone else? But remember your overall parenting style is your own, so choose it, love it, and wear it with confidence.