I yesterday wrote about perfectionism and mentioned that we needed to learn from our mistakes. I cannot think of any area where this is more true than in parenting. If you are a father or a mother to one or several of these wonderful beings that are children, please realize that you cannot ever be perfect – and that you aren’t a bad parent, either!
I have met far too many parents worrying about making mistakes while raising their kids. I said it then and I say it now, as the father of a four-year-old: yes, you will make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that you are a failure as a parent! The fact that you care so much already shows that you aren’t!
There are too many guides on parenting and too many ‘professionals’ giving their opinion. These opinions clash, there are different philosophies in the background of these thoughts and if you try to follow all of them, you will create a terrible mess. That comes from the fact that there is not one right path to parenthood!
We all are different and our children are all different, too. Ask any mother of two or more children and she can tell you exactly how different her kids are by character. Due to this, we will all treat others, including our children, differently from each other and our children will also take things differently from each other. One may take a scolding much to the heart, nearly crying each time while the other one can hear the same thing ten times and still won’t seem to care! It is completely normal and just shows again that there is not any standard that you have to stick to.
There are of course some basic rules that everyone should stick to: don’t hurt or humiliate your child, for example. This is something that is not yet followed everywhere and especially in India, we are working against this but it should be clear. Apart from that, I would say to follow your heart and love for your child, trying to teach him or her to be a good person.
You will notice several times that you may have made a mistake. Take note of it and don’t repeat it. At a certain point you can even show your son or daughter what you changed and explain why: because we all learn! If we didn’t know something before but changed after hearing about it or reflecting on it, we are on the right path!
If you need it, you can write down your main goals and remind yourself of them from time to time. Over the course of time, you will notice that details fill up those goals, showing you how to proceed! Don’t be afraid – enjoy, laugh, love and learn!