There are a LOT of parenting articles out there. Each time I scroll through Facebook, I encounter at least ten new articles.
Sometimes we read articles that speak directly to our experience and either affirm our choices or help us understand a particular struggle. These give us a great sense of relief and help boost our confidence.
Then there are articles that make us feel like we’re doing it wrong. Or like if we don’t do things in one very specific way, we are doing irreparable harm to our children.
The same article can affirm one parent while sending another into a shame spiral.
As someone who writes articles which have received both positive and negative feedback, I understand that I can’t write for everyone. And as a parent, I know that I’m going to read some things that just aren’t going to resonate.
I read an article this week that made me question my parenting and filled me with anxiety. After reading it, all of my interactions with my son were stilted and undoubtedly confusing to him. I was overthinking every moment: was I being too permissive? Was I being consistent? Did I need to set a boundary just so he’d know who is boss? It took hours for me to snap out of it, meanwhile my bewildered child was along for the ride.
With time my temporary insanity abated, but not without this obvious realization: sometimes we REALLY overthink our parenting. Sometimes we have paralysis by analysis. We’re too busy making sure we’re doing it “right” that we aren’t just enjoying our kids. We might read an article that tells us we always must do x and the next day we can read one that says we should never do x under any circumstances. No wonder we all doubt ourselves so much.
Give yourself permission to stop reading the parenting articles that don’t help you. They aren’t written for you; they are written for someone they will help.
You know more than you think you do, so don’t rely on the experts to tell you what to do, or you will drive yourself (and your kids) crazy. You know your kids, and you know your values. Unless your parenting techniques are abusive or damaging, you’re probably doing just fine.
Be brutally honest with yourself and don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it. If you have something you’re struggling with, seek out guidance from a trusted source. If a particular writer always makes you feel encouraged, read what she/he has to say. Otherwise, trust your gut and do what feels right.
Basically if it ain’t broke, don’t go out of your way to break it.
Here’s a list of my trusted sources in case you’re interested: