What the parenting experts don't want you to know
Now I'm not sure I'd class myself as an expert but I am a person who's spent the last ten years supporting children and families which makes this post a little challenging to write. But I think it's important.
Let me explain a little more.
There are people out there who have knowledge.
Knowledge about child development, emotional literacy, family therapy or any other number of related subjects. Knowledge that could be considered to make them an expert in their field.
And If that knowledge is both real and genuine and if that knowledge is passed on in a helpful way it could be useful to you in your family.
You might learn how to connect with your child more.
Or manage your own emotions more successfully.
Or how to bring an increased sense of fun into your house.
Or understand you aren’t the only parent who’s ever felt that way.
But here are the two things that any ‘expert’ doesn’t tell you.
The first one is (stage whisper);
They don’t always get it right themselves.
You heard me – they could be the smartest, most experienced, highly regarded professional going and there would still be times that their toddler or teen would have them floored. They might know how to manage that feeling differently – but they’d still feel it.
And sometimes they might not do a great job of managing it.
I know that there are many times that even though I’ve got the qualifications, read the books and put in the hours I still don’t get it right with my child. Because no-one’s perfect. (And let’s take a second to acknowledge how awful it would be to grow up with a totally perfect mum or dad!).
More than that – some of my best learning has come from the times with I definitively didn’t get it right. Because that’s when the real challenge comes, instead of just beating myself up, am I able to reflect and do something a little different next time?
One of my biggest lessons has been that as parents we often overemphasise our children's behaviour and underplay the impact of our own emotional state. On a day when I'm feeling rested, positive and organised - I can smash it. A day when I'm crabby, tired and in a rush means that the behaviour I managed so well yesterday is a disaster today.
And the second thing that the experts don’t tell you?
They don’t know your child.
Because when it comes to your child you are the expert, you are the smartest and the most experienced person around.
You know how they are when they're sad, excited, tired and all the states in-between.
You know what they like to eat, how they sit, what they play and exactly which cuddly toy you need to remember to take away with you. No outside expert knows all those things. And no-one loves your child like you.
Children aren't all the same, hey, siblings aren't even the same so there is no one-size-fits-all answer. That's why we talk less about sticker charts and more about overarching fundamentals like connection. Because connection in your family might look totally different for different children and that's ok - because you know what your children need.
So be open to learning, to taking what works for your family, to trying new things, reflecting and making conscious choices but don’t for a second ever think that you don’t have this.