“I was a wonderful parent before I had children.”
~ Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen, & Listen So Kids Will Talk, pg. 1
April showers bring May flowers … not to mention Mother’s Day on May 9th and Father’s Day on June 20th! Becoming a parent is life-altering and deserves to be recognized and celebrated. So let’s talk about parenting. Do you have a favourite parenting book? What do you do when you have parenting questions?
Being a parent can be difficult in today’s world, whether nurturing a newborn, a toddler or a teenager. Family, friends, teachers, and even complete strangers always seem to have advice on what we should be doing differently.
The pervasiveness of social media has also created such high standards for raising children that even the most confident parents can feel inadequate sometimes. We go online seeking solutions to our parenting problems only to discover an artificially-contrived cyber-world of parenting influencers who seem to be doing everything effortlessly, with perfectly-toned bodies, perfectly-highlighted hair, and perfectly-whitened smiles.
Seriously, how can we ever measure up?!
I don’t want to pile anymore parenting advice on you. But I’ll tell you what worked for our family: I gave away most of our parenting books. I also curtailed visits to most parenting websites.
I love books and information dearly. However, a few years ago, after yet another frustrating phone call from the school about my oldest’s antics, (for the record, I also think piccolo is a funny word, and encouraging the whole class to join in the merriment, while possibly disruptive, is also actually quite inclusive!), I gave up looking for generic parenting answers in books and online.
I realized I needed to stop researching everything so compulsively and trust my own parenting instincts more. The only book I kept was Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish’s book, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. Less a parenting manual and more a really good guide to communication, its positive tone and strategies make parents — and kids — feel better about themselves.
Of course this isn’t the solution for every family; there are many comprehensive parenting resources out there that might help you. But if I had to offer one piece of parenting advice — yes, advice you’re not asking for — then it would be this: trust yourself more. You know your kids best.
And if I had to offer one more piece of parenting advice — again, advice you’re not asking for — then I would add: if you’re really struggling, reach out for personalized help. Take care of your mental health as a parent. Connect with a real person! You can start by contacting your primary healthcare provider. Other resources include:
- Local distress centres and crisis organizations for various cities and provinces can be found at Crisis Services Canada
- For military families, Family Information Line, 1-800-866-4546
- For Indigenous parents, Hope for Wellness Help Line, 1-855-242-3310 (toll-free)
So celebrate and trust yourself as a parent! But if you’re overwhelmed, please connect with experts who can support your unique parenting challenges. We’re all on this parenting journey together.