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Lachlan Soper on How Parenting Expectations Can Be Damaging

Children don’t come out of Mummy’s tummy with a step-by-step instruction manual. As parents we all learn on the job, every day. We make mistakes and God-willing we learn, adapt and improve. Every parent is going to have their own way of raising their child. When it comes down to it, there is no ultimate […]

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Children don’t come out of Mummy’s tummy with a step-by-step instruction manual. As parents we all learn on the job, every day. We make mistakes and God-willing we learn, adapt and improve. Every parent is going to have their own way of raising their child. When it comes down to it, there is no ultimate right or wrong way to raise your children. However, thanks to social media and many parents sharing their own experiences and life as a family, there is more often than not someone telling them that they’re doing it all wrong, negatively judging their parenting style, and giving advice no one asked for. Setting your own high expectations of other parents can be damaging.

While giving some tips and advice can be helpful, if not delivered in the right way it can also be quite harmful to the parent and subsequently, the child. Whether someone is judging a parent for spoiling their child, being too harsh, or too protective, this type of judgment causes more stress and makes it harder to parent their child, not easier. 

What Works For One Child May Not Work for Another

Before placing harsh judgment on another parent, it’s imperative to remember that every child is different. Even siblings require different parenting styles. What works for one child might not be effective for another. For example, many parents have their own opinion on whether to “cry-it-out” or choose the co-sleeping method. Some view the cry-it-out method as cruel abandonment while others see co-sleeping as smothering and spoiling your child. The fact is, both of these methods work in different circumstances. It all depends on the child. 

The Consequences of Parental Expectations

Those who give their unsolicited advice to parents often think they are doing the right thing for the sake of the child. On the contrary, their judgments and expectations can have consequences such on both the parent and the child. This type of judgment can make a parent feel incompetent which could make them act more harshly towards their children. Their children could then feel ashamed and bad which then leads to even more bad behaviour. In the end, no one wins. 

How to Not Be Judgemental to Other Parents

To stop the endless tirade of judging other parenting, take a step back and let go of the ego. The fact of the matter is, no one has the ultimate way of parenting and there’s no way to know everything. It’s imperative to focus on what matters. Is the child happy? Does the child feel secure and nurtured? Has any harm come to the child? If their child is safe, happy, and thriving, then there is no reason to give parenting advice unless asked for. Not only will this benefit the parent, but the child as well. 

For those “receiving” external expectations or “advice” regarding parenting, it may be wise to keep the circle of advisors small, and consisting of people whose experience and care for you and your children you trust.

This article was originally published on LachlanSoper.org.au

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