Yup I fully appreciate the irony of a post about the problem with parenting advice on a blog which focusses on giving parenting advice… but bear with me…!
As a young mum, I lapped up every parenting book I could get my hands on. I scoured the internet to find out what I should be doing and how. I wrote lists, booked classes, and absorbed everything I could from other parents.
I was desperate to do the very best by my kids.
But here’s the thing – every child is different.
Every child is different
When it comes to parenting, there is no one-size-fits all! Each child has their own personality, their own speed of development, and their own life experiences.
To be honest, this is something I didn’t really appreciate until baby number two arrived…
Jenny was almost four when Charis came along. I was well on my way with my parenting journey. I thought I had a good understanding of what should happen, when, and how to tackle the different stages.
But Charis has a completely different personality to Jenny – she’s more assertive, less outgoing, more independent, less sensitive.
And they need to be parented differently.
For example, Charis will happily sit down and learn her letters with me, but Jenny will need a lot more encouragement to sit and do her spellings. On the other hand, a simple look is usually enough to correct Jenny’s behaviour, but Charis can go through the whole “time out” process and still be angry.
Parenting advice should be adaptable
So here’s the thing I’ve learnt – parenting advice should be adaptable.
Just because one child needs 12 hours sleep every night, doesn’t mean they all do. And just because one child potty trained by 18 months doesn’t mean they all will.
Parenting advice should be a starting point, to give you an idea of what to do, but then you need to make it your own. You know your children. You know their life experiences. You know how to get through to them and what they are capable of.
When it comes to your children, you’re the expert.
Gentle parenting as a core belief
So yes this blog dishes out parenting advice but, essentially, I’m prescribing a single idea – that children deserve fairness and respect.
This is my core belief, and all the tips and tricks are simply my thoughts about how to turn that idea into practical, everyday parenting.
- Why do I harp on about giving a warning before disciplining a child? Because it gives them a FAIR chance to change their behaviour without discipline
- Why do I push for consequences rather than punishments? Because consequences are designed to make positive changes in a RESPECTFUL way whereas punishments are more vengeful and manipulative
- Why do I encourage people to spend one-on-one time with their kids? Because that’s how YOU GET TO KNOW THEM and find out what they need from you as a parent.
These are my ideas – things that have worked for our family. They’re not set in stone.
If you want to do gentle parenting, you simply have to make empathetic decisions out of respect for your child and yourself. That’s the only rule. Everything else is just people’s ideas about what that looks like in real life.
I hope you’ve found this post encouraging. You don’t need to tick other people’s boxes to be a good parent. But if you like my ideas and my approach to gentle parenting, please keep checking out my content at Lucy At Home.
What is your core parenting principle? Do you worry about meeting someone else’s definition of a “good parent”? Do you like getting parenting advice from other people or do you prefer to make your own decisions? Let me know in the comments below.
And for any mums out there who, like me, often feel overwhelmed by the task of parenting, click this banner to join our supportive Facebook Group – Mums With L Plates.
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