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There is No "Right Way" to Parent

Judgement. Criticism. This is something that every parent experiences. If you're a parent you can't escape it. Almost everyone will criticize you. Almost everyone will have an opinion about the "right way" to parent your child. It's as though everyone thinks every child has the same needs and the parenting approach that worked for them will immediately work for you. And if you're not parenting exactly like them then they have something to say about it. It may be well intentioned people, it may be a snide comment, it could be a passive aggressive remark, but it's all the same message: You're doing this parent thing wrong. It's as if they think they know your child better than you do.

I will let you in on a secret. There is no "right way" to be a parent. Every child is unique and what parenting approach may have worked for one may not work for others. The new evidenced based parenting approach that works for a child with anxiety may not be the best parenting approach that works for a child with ADHD. Both children may have very different needs in terms of parenting.

Your child is a unique individual. It gets complicated when you add in the fact that you are also a unique individual with a different personality. Then it gets even messier when you add in all the other dynamics that affect your parenting approach (work schedule, stress levels, outside support, blended families, etc). Your parenting is going to look a whole lot different than the "perfect" stay at home mom down the street (who just appears to be the perfect parent).

Are there basics of what children need from their parents based on physiological and biological needs? Absolutely. However, every individual and family is different with what meeting those needs would look like. To add more to the confusion- what worked yesterday for your child may not work when they reach a new stage of development. This can be so stressful for a parent to figure out alone, but working with a therapist can help you understand how to create your own parenting approach that works for you and your family. You can explore all the different factors that influence your parenting approach in a safe therapeutic relationship (who will not judge you for doing the best you can). You'll have the opportunity to explore your own feelings and your own upbringing that also influences how you parent. Working with a therapist can help you feel confident and trust yourself again. And when someone makes a hurtful remark about your parenting approach, you can feel confident that you're doing it the right way for you and your family.


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