As a parent, there is seemingly no end to the tips and advice you get from guides, parenting gurus or other parents. With words of wisdom so readily available, many parents look to other sources for help over their own parental instincts. Is raising your child best left to the experts or are your parenting instincts trustworthy?
Trust Your Feelings
When I was pregnant with my oldest, I read every single pregnancy and parenting book out there. I wanted to know exactly what I should be expecting. I wanted the guide for everything that should be happening at each stage of his life.
And then he arrived. And all of that went out the window. He was his own, wonderful little person. No manual was going to show me what was best for him.
By the time my daughter had arrived, I’d settled into the wonderful uncertainty of being a parent. Not knowing what was coming. And it was absolutely great.
It’s true that no one knows your kids better than you do, as their parent. When it comes to what they like or what makes them more comfortable, you have a clearer understanding of your children than anyone. Of course, this awareness doesn’t happen right away. You didn’t understand all of your baby’s needs from the moment they were born. But, you have been with them all of their lives, learning what they like, dislike and need. If following the advice of others doesn’t feel right for you or your kids, chances are that it isn’t.
Don’t Take Things Too Far
While going with your gut could be the best thing to do in some situations, it can be easy to rely too heavily on your feelings. Even if you know your kids better than anyone else, everybody makes mistakes. If you listen to your instincts alone every time, it won’t be long before you make a decision that is not the best for you or your kids.
It’s important to take some time to consider each situation and what your instincts are telling you that you should do. Sometimes it can be difficult to see what is best for our kids, because our gut wants us to do what makes them happy.
Finding a Medium
In order to avoid investing too much in either the advice of others or our own (sometimes misguided) instincts, it’s important to become accustomed to relying a bit on both. If the advice you hear lines up with what your gut was telling you, it may mean that you were right in the first place.
Other parents don’t know every detail of your own family’s unique situation, but their tips can still bring a fresh perspective. It never hurts to learn a bit about parenting styles or strategies different than your own. But, it’s also up to you to decide which of these will work for your family and which you have a bad feeling about.
While your parenting instincts are by no means fool-proof, it’s important that you take them into consideration when you make decisions that affect you or your family. When it comes down to whether or not a particular parenting strategy will work, there are many important factors that only you could know about.
But, no one is perfect, and no parent comes up with the best solution to every one of life’s missteps. Believe me, I’ve had more than my share of parenting disasters. While you can’t always trust your parenting instinct, you should always listen to it and consider what your feelings tell you about a situation. After all, if you can’t trust your own parenting instinct at all, how can you trust the instincts of another parent?