I want to start by saying that knowing things is important. Researching, reading and discussing material in pursuit of information is great. But I share the same nuisance about the extremities that exist on the topic of parenting. It is quite easy to find articles which suggest one thing which destroys the advice of another. Things become even more complex when we include the sharing of experience and opinions of people in the equation. I am sure many can relate to the never-ending sagas of “holding your children too long creates dependency”, “do not prolong breastfeeding” and so on.
My greatest concern here is that many parents, especially mothers, appear to have abandoned their innate sense of parenting. Although I believe that our own experiences of childhood greatly shape our disposition as parents, I have come to accept that an instinct develops. I see it as an additional sense. It is only in the western culture that we consider just five senses. Other cultures understand senses as abilities of the body which come naturally out of feeling. And I feel that parents, especially mothers, share a deeper connection with their children and they generally posses this new sense. If you do not feel this sense, then there may be something in your life experiences which is blocking you and it may be prudent to seek professional assistance. Otherwise, that sense is your greatest council. Do things with your children which feel right. That would be a great start.
Improving your styles, then, is a mixture of experience, adaptations from mistakes and a continuous pursuit of relevant information from books and talks. Do not exclude research from your experience; becoming more knowledgeable is a definite bonus. However, you should seek that agreeable feeling between the knowledge you acquire and your sense as a parent. Mistakes will be done, but mistakes are only natural.
– Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness. He offers parent coaching and social work sessions. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.