These days, there is an absolutely overwhelming amount of parenting advice out there. We have access to all the information we could ever want with just the click of a button. As a result of this instant gratification, we become overwhelmed by hearing how SO many other moms do it, start judging ourselves, and enter into a vicious cycle of self-loathing.
Trust me, I’ve been there.
What are we doing wrong?
We have a tendency to over-complicate parenting.
We get bogged down by all of the “strategies” and “how-to’s. We lose sleep over things that won’t matter in 5 years or even in 1 year. We forget the big picture.
We get sucked into so many different ideas about how we can raise kind, compassionate, and empathetic kids, when really there’s only one way to do it.
So instead of surfing the web for hours upon hours, or trying to implement a million new strategies, I’m here to tell you about the the only piece of parenting advice that really matters in the long run.
If you do this ONE thing, you can rediscover your confidence as a parent and raise awesome kids in the process.
But first you need to know about the biggest lie that parents everywhere are being sold.
The Biggest Lie in Parenting History
The biggest lie in parenting history is that we can’t show weakness in front of our kids, or else they might take advantage of us. We can’t ever admit that we were wrong, take the blame, ask for help, or be totally defeated.
The lie is that we can’t be human.
We must live behind a mask of absolute strength at all times. We must have all the answers.
But every parent knows that this isn’t REAL LIFE. Parents are people, too. We get frustrated, worn-down, discouraged and tired. Sometimes we just don’t have the answer.
This idea that we can’t show our “humanness” to our kids is incredibly damaging both to us and to our little ones. The mindset that, as a parent, we have to be a different person then we are in “real life,” does nothing but make us more disconnected from our children.
When we succumb to this kind of parenting, we deprive our children the opportunity to learn the skills that they desperately need in order to be successful in this world.
The Only Parenting Advice You Really Need
Let your child see you BEING HUMAN
Who you are as a person matters exponentially more than any other parenting strategy you could possibly implement.
Your child is watching and imitating every single thing you do. Your personality, the way you handle conflict, the way you deal with stress, the way you interact with your spouse, the comments you make, your facial expressions, EVERYTHING.
So if you want your child to be kind, compassionate, and empathetic, then be those things to them and to others as well.
Let your child see you…
REGULATING YOUR EMOTIONS
Self-regulation is the #1 thing your child needs to learn in order to be successful both in school and in life. The ability to stay calm and collected is no easy feat. When you feel yourself getting worked up, say “I’m getting upset, I need to take some deep breaths.”
Your child needs to see you working through your emotions so that they can learn how to work through their own emotions as well.
APOLOGIZING & ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS
When you lose your temper or overreact, sincerely apologize to your child. Ask them to forgive you. Fight the urge to always want to be “right,” even when you’re wrong. Admitting that you were wrong models for your child how they should act when they are in the wrong.
Never be afraid to admit your mistakes to your child. Express what you wish you would have done. Verbalize what you learned from your mistake. The more you do this, the more your child will understand that mistakes are how we grow.
EMPATHIZING WITH THEM
We want our children to be empathetic towards others, and yet so often we forget to show empathy to them.
We want them to “be tough” and “get over it.” But that approach only teaches our kids to treat others with harshness.
Show your child empathy. Kiss all the boo boo’s, even if they aren’t really there. The lesson on empathy is so much more important in the early years than the lesson in toughness. Strength and grit will come with time, promise.
BEING KIND & HELPING OUT
Help your child when they are struggling. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate altruism. Do for them whatever you hope they would do for others. Even if your child is capable for doing something for themselves, sometimes when they ask for help they just need to feel close to you.
Everyone wants a child that strives for greatness, instead of simply “getting by.” But how often in our quest to raise hard working children do we think about how often WE are joyfully demonstrating hard work?
Raising a child that works hard and doesn’t give up easily requires a commitment on our end to focus on our own efforts, and to let our growth be seen by our kids.
Remember, they are always watching
Think about the kind of person you want your child to become in 15 years. Now put all of your energy and effort into becoming that person yourself.
It’s really as simple as that.