A DMV mom writes: Over the past six to eight months, I’ve been reading many different parenting books. On the one hand they are a great help, on the other, they point out mistakes I’ve made along the way. My question is this, “How do I come to grips with the parenting mistakes I’ve made and what should I do about them?”
Thank you for sharing your question.
Parenting mistakes are things that I can relate to. Here’s why: we all make them. And as soon as you get comfortable with the stage your child is in or your children are in, they move to another, where a host of potential mistakes await.
There’s an old saying, “when we know better, we do better.” So because you’re reading on parenting, you’re learning something better or different. As parents, we do the best we know to do, at the time, always reserving the right to get smarter in the future.
Discovering a different way to do something doesn’t mean it’s the only way or that all previous ways were wrong. If you are reading a lot of parenting books, you will find a lot of different ways to handle parenting situations.
And with all the highly educated and well-meaning parenting authors and books out there, no one knows your child like you. Give yourself credit. I like to think the books and even an advice column like this are here to come alongside you and offer support. But there is no book that can replace what you know of your child – their likes/dislikes, tendencies, strengths and struggles.
Allow the books to support you with ideas, tips, strategies, all the while knowing that you are the expert as it pertains to your child.
And when it comes to making mistakes, forgive yourself and, if appropriate, apologize to your child. Never underestimate the power of an apology if behavior exhibited warrants it. Apologizing does two things: it lets them know we are humble enough to admit wrong and it models for them how to do the same.
Finally, often our parenting style changes as our children change, as they get older or even from one day to the next. Give yourself some grace. Tomorrow is a new day and new opportunity to knock it out of the park!
– Coach Deborah