Written by Todd Jones, PsyD, Licensed Educational Psychologist
As parents we can relate to the following discussion threads that we have likely had with our friends, families, neighbors, and colleagues at work: Is your son or daughter doing this? Will he or she outgrow this (phase of their life or development)? Your son or daughter had Ms. Smith last year as teacher, did you also have problems with her?
Being a parent is a deeply rewarding, intensely personal, extremely challenging, and quite likely, at times, an overwhelming experience. Who, as a parent, hasn’t been at one time or the other been confused, frustrated, disillusioned or flat out ready to throw your hands in the air for the afternoon and go curl up and take a nap? You are definitely not alone in your thoughts, feelings, and expressions!
While consulting and gaining advice from other adults about parenting our children can be encouraging and a source of benefit, it can likely also be off the mark, patently false, and more aligned with what worked for their child’s unique set of circumstances or personality. Exercise some caution when taking someone else’s opinion or advice on how to handle the unique nature of how to manage your child’s needs, particularly at different stages of interpersonal growth and development.
Points to consider, measure what you know as the most knowledgeable person about what your son or daughter needs and pair with what advice you have newly received. Is the advice, as it has been presented, relatable to your child? Are parts of it spot on? Other parts not at all? Use your best judgment.
What impact will the implementation of this advice have on my child? Negative? Positive? Neutral or minimal?
Is the advice being given by someone you respect? The old adage goes consider the source. Is the person offering advice someone of high integrity, of good ethics, and a parent of a well adjusted, well rounded, and developmentally healthy child?
Perhaps the number one stressor when seeking out advice is the pressure to conform. Whether it be to assimilate our parenting style to others, including colleagues at work or, particularly our relatives, we sometimes are made to feel inadequate as parents if we don’t subscribe to collective or conventional theories of parenting. Do not be afraid to research an approach to parenting or an adjustment to your parenting style that is independent of others’ styles. After all, if the approach is based on research of what is effective for children at various stages of development and is done with their best interests in mind, how can you miss?
-Todd Jones, PsyD, Licensed Educational Psychologist