Ever feel like the pressure keeps building with every small decision you make for your child? With so many varying opinions on each and every subject, from what they watch to what they eat, how are we not supposed to feel overwhelmed? Katie tackles the issue…
Having a small child means constantly making decisions. What will they eat, when will they sleep, how will we respond to their behavior, what will we let them touch, where will they play, what will they watch, it goes on and on and on. These little people naturally aren’t mature enough to make adult decisions for themselves, so it’s up to us to be their leaders. Even letting them choose what they do, is a decision in itself. Throughout the whole day, we are making decisions for our little ones. However, this shouldn’t be a reason for anxiety nor a reason for conflict.
If you’re a new parent, like me, you might be analyzing and overanalyzing all the decisions that you make with your young child. We want to make the best choices to benefit our kids now and in the long-run, hoping that if we make a “wrong” choice, it won’t mess them up forever! But really, are there any “wrong” choices?
All too often I think in terms of “right” and “wrong”. As if for each decision I make for my son, there is a “right” choice, and everything else is “wrong”. That is way too much pressure for any mama to face! Is there a “right” way to approach eating, sleeping, playing, dressing, socializing, and disciplining? No. Is there a “best” way? Yes.
I believe that when you make decisions for your children that you feel confident in, you’re making the “best” decisions for them. They might differ from a friend or relative’s decision, but that doesn’t make them wrong. That doesn’t make your friend or relative’s’ differing decisions wrong either.
When our children have parents who confidently make decisions for them, enforcing the values that they believe in (and let’s be honest, we also base our decisions on opinions), they can feel secure in the standards that are set.
When I was teaching, hardly any of my “great ideas” were original. My classroom and routines were a collage of ideas that I had seen, heard, and read about from other, more experienced teachers. I’m finding that parenting is very similar to teaching. Knowledge and feedback from respected “colleagues” can be priceless. But it always comes down to us making our own decisions, and feeling confident in them.
The “best” for each family is going to look completely different from one home to the next. Just as widely as personal opinions vary, choices on raising our children will fluctuate. This shouldn’t be a cause for comparison or judging though.
Here’s my challenge to myself and anyone who can relate to this topic: Let’s confidently make choices for our children that we believe in and humbly respect our friends and relatives, even when they make different decisions for their children. We’re all in this together and deserve to have the support of each other!