If you’re a parent, you’ll know this already. If you’re not a parent yet, this is useful to heed. There’s truckloads of parenting information out there. Some of it’s useful, and some of it’s not. The problem is deciphering which is which. Particularly when clear, reasonable decision making – something you could have done easily in your pre-parenting life – is hampered by hormones. And only three hours of sleep.
The real problem isn’t a lack of information. It’s that parenting information is often contradictory and confusing. Plus, with so much parenting info, it can seem to suggest that there’s a ‘right’ way to raise kids. But there isn’t. We’re all different, and we all need to find our own way.
Raising kids is a confidence game. When you’re confident, you can sift through all the parenting information and choose what’s right for your family. But what happens when you experience parenting info overload?
Here’s my suggestion: Write your own parent manifesto.
Confidence comes from raising your kids according to your own beliefs and values. So first you need to identify what those beliefs and values are, and then you need a way to remind yourself of these beliefs and values so you can live them. Hence a manifesto.
Based on my own experience, I created five declarations that I want to live by as a parent.
1. My children transform me. They test and force me to become a better person. I’m up for the challenge.
Here I acknowledge the incredible life change that occurs when you become a parent, and I also accept that I’m capable of meeting the challenge.
2. It’s not about being the best parent. It’s about enjoying the best that being a parent has to offer.
This declaration is about recognizing that I don’t have to be a perfect parent to raise my kids well. I just need to take in what’s amazing about being a parent, and do my best.
3. It’s not about having the best child. It’s about helping my children enjoy the best of life.
This statement admits that it’s not about raising the most successful child. It’s about supporting my kids to be the best they can be, and helping them to enjoy the best of life.
4. There is no one right way to parent. There is only my way done with confidence, love and care.
In this declaration, I acknowledge that raising kids is not a science. It’s more art than science, and it involves trial and error. We’re all different, and we all need to find our own way.
5. I am a guardian of the next generation, and I feel privileged to be.
This final declaration is all about appreciating the big picture so I can keep the day-to-day demands in perspective.
These are my beliefs. But I don’t want to impose my beliefs on everyone else. Whether you are a parent now or will be in the future, what are you beliefs? And what would go in your manifesto?