“Parenting is natural. Mothers and fathers have been doing this since the beginning of time.”
Parenting is natural. Three words so often heard during our parenting journey intended as words of encouragement and hope. But ironically the words meant to uplift a parent have become a source of defeat and incompetence.
If parenting is natural why am I struggling?
If parenting is natural then what is wrong with me?
If parenting is natural then I must be a failure.
If parenting is natural then I must be a failure.
Yes, parenting is natural but it is not involuntary and it is not static. Parenting is a voluntary and ever-changing phenomenon contingent on the circumstances and the external factors from society, media, and the influences of the current era.
Parents have been raising children since the beginning of time but those parents had not raised children in 2019. Those parents did not raise children in the age of technological advancements and economic demands.
Critics may tell us that mothers and fathers have been doing this since the beginning of time but what they don’t tell us are the issues and conflicts they had.
They don’t tell us about the blood, sweat, and tears those parents pushed through. If anything, mothers & fathers have been STRUGGLING with parenting since the beginning of time. What better proof of this than the parenting section of a Barnes and Noble with an array of books on display each promising to be the one that will crack the parenting code.
We may never crack that parenting code. Clearly, no one has, despite the multiple claims. But what we can do enjoy our journey and embrace the struggles. 2018 is long gone but the road of 2019 lies ahead.
Do you see a road of darkness and roadblocks or do you see clear skies and sunshine? Add parenting to your list of resolutions for this year. Here are 5 parenting affirmations to make 2019 your best year of parenting.
1. Parenting begins with ME.
It is time to change that cliché picture of a mother. We judge the sleep-deprived woman with greasy untamed hair, dressed in sweatpants & a t-shirt that has been worn for days.
But ironically, this picture has become synonymous with “mom.” It is like mothers that are groomed & well kept are not trying hard enough because they don not put their children first. A mom that looks presentable undeniably neglected her children by focusing on herself.
But parenting is a product of mind, body, and soul. When one component is thrown off the product is affected as well. In order to be a good parent, we must BE a good parent in all aspects.
Take time out of your day to focus on yourself and do NOT feel guilty about it. Set aside an hour, half an hour, or even fifteen minutes to do what you love doing, whether that’s a shower, blogging, reading, or even a cup of chai to recharge your parenting battery.
Think your child will freak if they aren’t attached to your hip? Children are very capable of keeping themselves busy. We assume they need us to sit and entertain them every second of the day by switching through various activities like surfing television channels.
Provide your child with safe open-ended play to build attention and focus or try sensory activities such as play-doh or sand. [Note: you will have to use your judgment on what is appropriate and safe for your child’s age and skills.]
Gradually transition five minutes at a time to give yourself a breather or take turns with your spouse. It’s incredible how much a little ME time can change your parenting for the better. Devote time to yourself for the sake of your children.
2. Minimize and Prioritize
This is a difficult one. Often times, as parents we think in order to provide for our children we need MORE. More work for more money, more toys, more clothes, more space, and so on. In the whirlwind desire for more we lose sight of WHO we wanted more for.
We’ve all come across the guilt tripping post on social media, “Your children don’t need your
For example, more toys
When we minimize we automatically set the groundwork to prioritize what truly matters whereas clutter and excess leads to brain fog, stress, and more tasks on our to-do list.
Here is some food for thought; despite being a millionaire Steve Jobs was always seen in the same couple of couple of shirts and jeans in the media. Same goes for Mark Zuckerberg.
Clearly, it wasn’t because they couldn’t afford it, but because having fewer outfits enabled them to make fewer decisions so they could focus on the decisions that truly mattered. They understood the power of minimization.
Keep your family life simple by minimizing and prioritizing your time and energy for the people and tasks that matter most. By holding on to less you are empowering yourself to do MORE of what is important.
3. My Child is GOOD
Parenting does not begin with our actions, but our mindset. Adopting a positive and forgiving mindset is like wearing a new pair of Gucci shades on a sunny day. Everything appears clearer, brighter, and perfect, most probably because of the ridiculous amount of time and money it went into purchasing it.
And just like the prep work and investment that goes into purchasing a pair of Gucci shades, changing and adopting a new mindset does not happen overnight. It takes gradual conscious effort and self-educating.
Know who your child is and what your child is capable of because then, and only then, can you set appropriate expectations for them.
Psychology teaches a concept known as the “Self Fulfilling Prophecy.” This idea is that a belief will come true simply by acting as if it is already true. Beliefs that others have about us as shown in their actions towards us eventually become beliefs we have about ourselves.
If we show our children that we believe they are good (which they in essence are) through how we approach them in all aspects then they will believe and have confidence in the fact that they are good leading to actions that reflect how they view themselves.
Regardless of how much we parents enjoy complaining about the struggles of parenting and bragging about whose child is more troublesome, children are born good. They are a blank slate waiting to be inscribed upon by our experiences. They are a fresh cut of clay ready for our hands to mold. Children are good.
However, even the most enjoyable journey is bound to have bumps and potholes on the road. Every behavior has an antecedent. Know that the bumps in the road are an opportunity to slow down and understand your child better.
4. My Child is A HUMAN BEING With RIGHTS
Right alongside knowing that your child is good is recognizing your child as a human being. Many
We have likened our children more to poseable dolls than anything else.
We enforce our rights over them but do not acknowledge their rights being trampled upon.
Let’s be real here. Would we be okay with someone controlling our every move? Would we be ok with someone forcing us to hug or kiss someone on the cheek that we do not know or even like?
Well, they are just children right? Violating a child’s rights is not something they will bounce back from when they grow older. It jeopardizes their confidence and self-identity.
Going back to the idea of the Self Fulfilling Prophecy, regardless of what we believe about our child, our actions show otherwise. Our actions show the child their thoughts desires and instincts are not important. Naturally, our children will begin to believe this as well.
They will have no self-confidence.
Also, they will believe that they must always be told what to do and how to do something (even if they do not like it).
They will be satisfied with being the factory worker rather than being the entrepreneur.
We want our children to change the world but have crippled them making them unable to make changes for themselves.
Have faith in your child’s instincts. Know that their rights matter just as much as yours do.
Yes, we are the adults.
Yes, our children are dependent on us to a certain extent.
But as adults, we must not be ventriloquists making their every move. As adults we are their guide, simply here to help our children make sense of their world.
5. GOD Placed This Child In My Arms For A REASON
We parents have a habit of doubting our capabilities. We start believing that we do not have what it takes to raise a child. Maybe our attempts will fall short and we will mess up our kids and maybe we were just not ready to have a baby.
Know this: regardless of how our children were brought into the world, intentionally or unintentionally, it was not by accident. God had placed this child into your arms for a reason. You and only you are responsible for this life.
No one could be a better mother or father to this child than you. Only God knows your capabilities and only God knows how you will complete this child and how this child will complete you.
When a child is born and we earn our status as “parents” something magical happens. We develop these multilayered connections with this new little human. A mini being who we do not even know yet ties these unbreakable connections with us emotionally, physically, mentally.
Their pain becomes our pain. Their happiness is our happiness. And their worries become ours. Parenthood itself is a miracle of God. You will always have a desire for your child to succeed and no one can or will know your child better than you.
Use that to your advantage. Avoid
Parenting is natural. Parents have been doing it for generations. But those parents were not raising your child and those parents were not you.
A new year does not mean we must take new approaches with raising our children. A new year means we take the right approaches to raise our children.
Parenting is like floating in a boat on the open sea. We may have no idea where we are going but we will use our child as our compass. We may be leading, but our children are the guide. There is not parenting without the child.
Parenting may or may not be natural, but we will naturally parent.
Kazima is a Speech Language Pathologist with a background in Psychology specializing in pediatrics. Her passion for children and child psychology is the driving force in all she does. In 2017, Kazima published a children’s book, Mikaeel and Malaika The Quest for Love, and shortly after began a blog focusing on how to functionally understand a child by seeing the world through their eyes. She enjoys supporting other parents via Instagram by consulting and educating on parenting and education approaches. Kazima is co-creator of Parenting Fuel, a live Instagram series dedicated to discussing and targeting pertinent issues in raising children