Banishing Four Common Parenting Myths
“Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories.” – John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
Parenting is a challenging endeavor and many moms and dads complicate the process by adopting some rather frustrating myths. What do you believe concerning good parenting and well-behaved children? Common Myths Consider the following myths about parenting and honestly evaluate whether you are consciously or unconsciously buying into them.
Myth #1 – Committed parents who are emotionally connected have children that are naturally well-behaved. The truth of the matter is that even loving, committed and engaged parents have children that act up from time to time. The mistake that parents make is unfairly associating a child’s actions or imperfections to the level of love and care that a parent offers their child. The fact is that children are human and they are going to throw temper tantrums and pitch fits no matter how emotionally connected their parents are to them. Those types of behaviors are just part of being immature and they are not a direct reflection on your level of commitment to the parenting process. Conduct that adults label as “misbehavior” is really a very integral part of the maturing process. Actually, acting up or acting out is necessary for children to learn to make positive adjustments in their behavior, and to grow as a person.
Myth #2 – If you love your child, you will automatically have all of the parenting skills required. Loving children comes quite naturally for the majority of parents, but having naturally-occurring parenting skills is rare, indeed. Becoming a skilled parent is a learning process and, since every child is different, there is not a cut and dried set of rules. Children don’t come equipped with owner’s manuals so, in many cases, there are no definitive rights or wrongs. Parents must tailor their parenting approach to each individual child by sorting through the information they have and they must gain parenting experience simply by doing what they think is best.
Myth #3 – Good parents have an endless supply of patience. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the most easygoing among us has the potential to have a bad day. Just like we shouldn’t expect our children to be perfect, we also cannot expect ourselves to be the epitome of perfection when it comes to parenting. You will lose your patience with your children on occasion and you will make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. You are a human parent, and that’s okay.
Myth #4 – If your marriage is good, then you will always agree on how to rear your children. Even the best-matched couples in the most well-balanced relationships are likely to have different opinions on how to bring up children. Child-rearing philosophies are largely based on our family of origin and our own past experiences. Couples obviously come from different backgrounds, thus they are sure to have conflicting opinions regarding the best way to parent every once in a while. Just like in so many instances, communication is the key to resolving differences about how to raise children.
Take the time to contemplate some of your underlying beliefs regarding parenting. Question these and other myths that you may be subscribing to and re-evaluate whether or not they are reasonable. It may just help you approach parenting in a new, more enjoyable way.