Every new parent has the same thoughts, “how the hell do I do this?”, “why didn’t this baby come with a manual?” or “this baby sure didn’t read all those baby books”.
These things are often said in jest, but speak to a deeper truth. There is no manual, there are no rules and babies often don’t do what they books say they will. This can leave us feeling out of our depth and like we have no idea what you’re doing.
I’ll let you in on a secret… NONE OF US DO. We are all figuring it out day by day in fun (cough cough) and exciting ways.
The reason it’s all so hard, and to be honest, the real magic of it all is that we are all individual in how we’re put together. We’re individual in how we respond to others, in how we experience emotions & in how we feel and think and act. This is just as true for our children as it is for us.
Too often we treat babies and children as though they are from a single category called “child”. We use a one-size-fits-all approach and chastise ourselves when “they won’t do ‘x’”. We must remember that our children do not emerge from a one-size-fits-all box. They often require very different responses to life's challenges than their siblings, your friends’ children or the kid down the street.
Following generic parenting advice that you read about online or from “parenting experts” might help you get results OR they might not. Similarly, what works for you might not work for someone else. Hell, what worked for you yesterday might not work today!
No one parenting ‘hack’ or way of doing things truly stands above all others and if it’s not right for you, then it’s not right. Easy as that. When it comes to children, parenting and in fact… everything in life, one size does not fit all. The only constant is change.
The more we can embrace this state of flux, go with the flow & take time to really tune in to what we & our children need, the better off we’ll all be.
References: Allen 2015; Dawson 2016
Are there any parenting 'rules' you used to follow but now don't?