With Christmas upon us, those who celebrate can’t help but begin to worry about what Auntie A is going to say about the child who eats pasta exclusively, or about how crushed Gramma Z is going to be when the resident two year refuses a big giant hug from her.
Do you get caught up in stacking your argument to convince your mom, aunt, grandmother, or whoever else that *your* parenting approach is GOOD ENOUGH for your child? If you’re like me, you’re already lining up a reference list worthy of a dissertation. You’re prepping for arguments in which you will show the people that time outs are not good, and here are forty seven studies as to why. You’re getting ready for the person who critiques you when you say that its ok for your child to sit at the table but eat exactly one bread roll (or noodle, rice grain, carrot, mashed potato….).
I want you to flip that frame.
What if, instead…. you decided to hold firm? What if instead, you chose your boundaries & beliefs & family above anything else?!?!
Then, you might say something more like…. “Hey, this is how we do it in our family. It’s OK if you disagree! And I need you to respect our decisions.”
But what would you have told yourself ahead of time, to enable yourself to say this?
You might have said….
*I trust myself & I’m doing what I think is best for my child.
*Sometimes I don’t know which way is up, but I do feel secure in my choice to…. <feed/discipline/support my child this way>”
*I don’t need to explain my choices or parenting to anyone by myself.
Here’s the truth: The third one…. the part about explaining and justifying? This is where most of us get caught up. It’s so hard being a parent, that we look for justification and affirmation from the people that matter to us. Often, those people are our families- people who parented us and loved us with all the tools they had, but who’s mistakes and traumas we don’t wish to replicate.
And so this holiday season, I challenge you only to trust yourself.
Know your own reality. Speak from that place. Let go of their approval.
Instead lean into your knowing. Stop trying to convince them you know, show them another way, or enlighten them. Don’t send articles, show youtube videos, or share approaches.
Focus that energy instead on reminding YOURSELF why YOU parent this way.
Let go of convincing them, with words like “It’s ok we don’t agree. This is how we are raising our children. I do need your respect.”
Then turn away.
It’s ok to parent differently. You keep doing you.