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When I had my first child, I was determined to not make any mistakes and to be the perfect parent. I had an image in my head as to the type of parent I wanted to be and how I wanted my kids to turn out. Anything other than the picture I had meant that I was a failure.
I was determined to find “the perfect” parenting formula and follow it. I had this idea that if I did things a certain way then my kids would turn out the way I wanted them too.
As I read this, I see the ridiculousness of my thought process. But, at the time, I was so stressed out about finding the perfect way.
Thankfully, I had seasoned parents around me that gave me great advice. I would talk to them about discipline and parenting and got great wisdom from people who had gone down this path before me.
Along the way, I got lots of advice, but there are two things that I will never forget and that were the best pieces of advice I could have gotten.
Perfection does not guarantee perfection
As a mother, I always want the best for my kids. I want to see them succeed and I want to have a close and loving relationship with them. Along with that, I really don’t want them to make bad choices or go down a path that will lead to pain for them.
When I was a young parent, I had this idea that if I was the perfect mother, then I would then have perfect children. If I loved them a certain way then I would guarantee a good outcome.
This idea stressed me out because I had yet to figure out what that way was. I also felt guilty for not being perfect and spend a lot of time afraid that my imperfections would hurt my children in the long run.
When my eldest daughter was one, I went to a ladies retreat. One of my friends was leading a session on teens. Since I did not have a teenager, I was not planning on going, but my friend suggested I come anyway.
I am so glad I did!!
What I learned
At that session, she said something that helped me so much.
She said: Jesus is the perfect father, yet look at His children.
This idea set me free. The burden of perfection was taken off my shoulder as I realized this amazing truth. If Jesus can live a perfect life and be the perfect father and His kids don’t follow, what chance do I have?
I had set this ridiculous standard in my mind! Now, I was able to see better. I knew that even if I could be a perfect parent, it would still not guarantee that my kids would not make mistakes.
I had this lightbulb moment where I realized that my children are their own people and their actions are not controlled or determined by my actions.
How I act might help or hinder what my kids do, but the end results do not lie on my shoulders. I am not responsible for the decisions they make.
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Focus on love
There are many types of parenting styles but they generally fall into 3 categories: Permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian.
In general, one allows everything, one is extremely strict and the other falls in between.
When I was doing some reading on parenting, I knew that I wanted to be an authoritative parent as its general known to be best for the child.
I had a hard time trying to fit all my theories into any of the 3 categories and was stressing out about the type of parent I would be.
I had a friend come to my rescue, yet again, and give me great perspective.
She said: It does not really matter what type of parent you are as long as you focus on loving your child.
It does not really matter what type of parent you are as long as you focus on loving your child. #Parenting
At first, I thought that this idea seemed too simple. But then, the more I thought about it and the more I read, the more I realized the truth of it.
According to this article in aha parenting, “Children who feel loved and cherished thrive. That doesn’t mean kids who ARE loved – plenty of kids whose parents love them don’t thrive. The kids who thrive are the ones who FEEL loved, accepted and cherished for exactly who they are.”
So, that’s what I started doing. I read books that helped me focus on loving my child in a way that made them feel loved.
The Best Parenting Books
As a parent, I love to read books. Over the years, I have read many books. There are 2 books that I love and recommend to every parent that helped me form these 2 lessons I learned.
These books include:
Parenting is hard! It’s full of hurdles and mistakes, love, and so much more. My mindset when I started off did not help me. Thankfully, I was able to change my mindset and focus on the things that really mattered and that would help my children grow.
My eldest is only 8, so I have no real proof that these things have helped her, but my mindset has helped me feel better about the way I parent. I am less stressed and don’t carry the guilt of my mistakes. I am able to seek forgiveness, move on and focus on loving my kids.
What is the best price of parenting advice you ever got?