By Aurora M.
The day you welcome your child into the world is one of the best days of your life. You’ve been waiting for what seems like a lifetime for them to arrive, and now they’re here, and they seem so perfect and angelic. As time goes on, you’ll realize that no matter how much you love your child, they’re far from perfect, just like you. And as they continue to get older, you’ll be faced with new challenges that are naturally associated with raising a child.
Looking at your resources
In the age of technology that we live in, we have incredibly easy access to a world of parenting tips and tricks, via books, blogs, and whatever your neighbor is posting on Facebook. It’s never been easy to be a parent, but there now seems to be a lot more pressure to be a perfect parent. There are different methods to discipline or praise your child, and suddenly everyone has an opinion on the “right way” to rear your child. This pressure to make sure your child turns out perfect can be hard to handle, not just for you, but for your child.
The first thing to understand is that just because someone suggested it to you, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the correct way for YOU to parent YOUR child. There isn’t anything wrong with trying to learn more and listen to other people’s opinions on parenting styles, but at the end of the day, the way you parent is up to you.
What’s too harsh?
A common feeling among parents is that they’re afraid of ruining their child. They’re afraid of giving them too much, or too little; freedom, technology, junk food, you name it. There is a balance to be found within everything, but finding that balance can be a stressful task.
There’s a saying that the strictest parents end up with the sneakiest kids. It can be tempting to entirely restrict and monitor every single thing that your children do; this comes from a place of love. You want to protect your child, and so it makes sense to monitor everything your child does and views, to make sure that they aren’t exposed to anything that could be harmful to them.
Again, there is a balance here that should be found. For example, having parental controls on the devices your children use is a good idea, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should dissect every single one of their online interactions. Putting some restrictions up is a good idea, because it does protect them, but you also need to trust your child. If there’s no trust between you, they won’t be willing to come and talk to you if they’re in trouble, or are uncomfortable about something they saw. If your child feels like they can come talk to you about anything, without you freaking out at them, they will. Even though it can be hard, you have to trust your child.
Nurture your child, and don’t overreact
Even if you have an amazing, open relationship with your child, where they tell you about everything going on in their life, there will still be times where there are uncomfortable things going on in their life that you won’t know about. It’s a scary reality of being a parent.
There may come a time when you find out that your child is struggling, and it’s serious. It might be that they’re having relationship problems that feel like the end of the world. Perhaps they’re failing in school. Maybe they struggle with addiction. None of us want to think it will happen with our child, but the truth is that hard things happen to everyone, even your perfect child. Your parenting instincts kick in, and you want to solve the problem for them immediately.
It’s important in these situations to not smother your child. Let them know that you’re there for them, and you’re willing to talk about the issues that they’re facing. Don’t demand that they tell you about their issues. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you, give them the resources to talk to someone else, such as a counselor, who can give them the assistance they need. Don’t leave them stranded, and make sure that no matter what, you are nurturing, loving, and supportive. That alone will help them feel more comfortable talking to you the next time they have an issue come up.