The answer to this question is, YES! However, there is a lot of information out there that cause parents to question otherwise. Below is a list of well-meaning but shame inducing resources.
- Well-meaning friends who want to share what has worked for them.
- Parenting and discipline philosophies that claim to have the best methods.
- Books written by pediatricians on breastfeeding and parenting (not their area of expertise).
- Social media (even if it says, “recent study finds”)
- Family (Yes, I said it!)
Each of us wants to find the magic sauce that is going to make parenting feel easier and allow us and our children to find success. While some of this information can feel and be helpful, the truth of the matter is, parenting is about the relationship we have with our child. There are unique dynamics that are not present in any other relationship in the entire universe. (This is why you can say the exact same thing to your child in the exact tone that their teacher says it, but they ignore you yet listen to their teacher.) It is unique, and it is ours. The answers to our parenting questions/concerns live within this relationship. Parenting cannot be watered down to a “to-do” list of right answers, but coaches and bloggers attempt to do this all of the time – with great intention and heartfelt passion. And, some will even say it is easy, if you just follow their directions exactly. The problem is, the answer is not in that ABC list of things to do. It lies within the dynamic, the dance between parent and child. More often than not, parenting advice without looking at the dynamic only leads to further issues, the main ones being parental shame and judgement of the child. The reason is that the “to-do” list or prescription to success is not tailored to the dynamic and when it does not magically work, parents are left feeling like they have failed or that their children are “flawed.”
I am a dancer and dance/movement therapist, so I see life through the lens of movement. When I teach dance, my intention is to facilitate the development of the dance artist, not teach rigid technique so that this person can become an instrument for someone else’s ideas. The same idea is present in parenting. There is no right technique to parenting. Success is not in executing the exact steps of someone else’s philosophy. Success is found in understanding the unique dynamic you have with your child. When the audience watches dance, they can observe the difference between someone who knows all the steps but lacks the connection. Parenting is the same way. One can be taught the steps, but the steps alone fall short.
What is important about parenting cannot be solved on internet forums or in a book, it needs to be explored within the dynamic relationship between parent and child. Please join me at THRIVE as we explore how entering this relationship brings awareness to the answers you have been searching for about parenting and your child’s behavior.