Parenting is difficult in every generation. Currently though, it is so hard because we are dealing with not only how our parents parented us, how our friends are parenting their kids, and what the latest parenting book says. We are also faced with how influencers on social media, experts on podcasts and literally every person we’ve met since high school (thank you social media) is handling every minute problem of parenting. There are so many voices and they all have an air of importance and authority. How can you know what is best for your family? How can you get off this wild carousel?
What about learning to parent from a place of personal values instead of peer pressure or indecisiveness?
Consider these questions and process them with your co-parent to identify your values:
- Where do we spend the majority of our time and our money? When we have to choose between two important things, which one usually wins out?
- If I have a day where I feel like a great mom/dad what have I spent the day focused on or what feedback did I get from my kids?
- Whose approval really matters to me as a parent (note: not whose approval should matter or whose I wish matters but whose really does).
- If I have a rough parenting day, when my head hits the pillow I think, “that was a dumpster fire of a day but I hope my kids still know__________________.”
- Imagine that your child is a young adult coming home for a visit with the person they are seriously dating. You have some time alone with their significant other, and they say to you, “I’m grateful to be in a relationship with someone who (fill in the blank).” Try to come up with a list of at least three and no more than five things. It could be hardworking, empathetic listener, gracious with those in need, spiritually attuned, etc. Try to be as specific as you need to to identify what it will take to parent this kind of person.
Once you identify your values, quiet the voices that go against your parenting values. This may mean unfollowing some social media accounts, taking certain books to the used book store for resale or repeating a mantra when your Aunt Karen gives you parenting advice that doesn’t fit for you. It could be something like, “We will parent from a place of value, not of pressure.”
If you need more help sorting through your value system in order to parent from a place of value consider seeing a therapist for parental coaching. If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to contact me (Kate) here at East Dallas Therapy!