Parenting: How Do I Know What Is Best?

More than ever, if you’re a parent you have information coming at you from all directions on how best to raise your children. Very often, rather than being helpful, it can make things more confusing because so much of the information is conflicting. How do you know what’s “right”?

What I’ve come to believe throughout my nearly 25 years of working with parents is what is “right” is what’s right for you. There simply isn’t a formula that works for everyone. We’re all different. If we look at two families and family “A” is living peacefully, everyone is for the most part, happy, there are no secrets and generally everyone is functioning well, whatever that family is doing with respect to parenting is ‘right”. If, on the other hand, family “B” is living in chaos, hostility reigns, and the energy of the home is tense and negative, something has to change. Something isn’t working. It could be any number of things. It usually takes an objective, outside person to help determine what that might be. Most of us can’t see our own situations as objectively as an outsider.

I know many parents feel judged because their kids are only enrolled in one activity instead of five, or their approach to discipline goes against the latest trend or they’re doing too much of this and not enough of that. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have and not one of is a perfect parent. I’m not even sure what that looks like anyway.

One theme I like to work on with my clients is helping them to believe in themselves. When we constantly doubt our decisions and approach to challenges, our kids will doubt us too. They prefer us to be strong and decisive. We all feel more comfortable around leaders who are sure of themselves. Trust your instincts. If someone is suggesting you approach things a different way and it feels wrong to you, don’t do it. If it make sense and feels right, try it.

Remember what is “right” is what’s right for you. If everyone in the family is doing well and you’re comfortable with the ways things are, chances are, whatever you’re doing is “right”.