My job entails teaching parenting and child development to parents with young children. I love my job, although it's scary to me that I have to teach other people skills that I am still learning myself. Parenting is not something you can ever master. You never get to the point where you feel like you've got it figured out. You shouldn't, at least. If you feel like you've got all the answers, that's a giant red flag that you're screwing up. Because once you decide there's nothing more you need to learn, you stop growing. You stop evaluating. You stop thinking about what your kids are really needing and begin going on autopilot. Because of this way of thinking, I love getting questions. I love when the families I work with ask me what to do about a parenting dilemma, or when I see them struggling to figure something out. It means they are evaluating. It means they are growing. One of the questions I get on a weekly basis is about discipline. People REALLY struggle with disciplining their children. Even the good ones struggle. And I know that Leo and I have struggled with this topic on countless occasions over the years. Why is it that with all the advice out there, parents still rate discipline as one of their biggest stressors, and biggest areas of contention? It's because in order to have effective disciplining, you have to pull a Jedi mind trick. Please don't get offended when I say this, but in one particular area, disciplining children is like training a dog. Before you get all shocked, please understand that I'm not comparing children and dogs. I'm simply saying that in order to be an effective disciplinarian, you need to be the alpha. You need to have complete and utter confidence in the fact that you are in charge, and that you can handle whatever child naughtiness comes your way. If you falter, your child will sense it. They can smell fear and uneasiness, and if there is a millimeter of uncertainty in your mind, they will wiggle their way through until they've blasted pointy shards of self-doubt all over, like little pieces of glass ready to stab you when you step on them in the middle of the night. So the trick is to believe that you can do it, before you see any evidence to support that. Like so many things in life, you have to just close your eyes and jump. You can do all the research you want, you can and should consider your child's temperament and your own belief system, but once you have done all the thinking you need to do, the last remaining step is to fully believe in yourself. And yet you still have to be able to step back and evaluate if what you did worked, and if you need to tweak anything in your approach. It's a very delicate balance of toughness and softness. Structure and flexibility. And it's one that is truly difficult to master. The slightest wind can throw you just a bit too far in either direction. And then even the most secure of us can start to question our own abilities. It doesn't help when we question each other. We become what we believe ourselves to be, so if you believe you are capable of disciplining your children with firmness and love, then you will do it. Regardless of what your mom or neighbor or the stranger in Walmart thinks. If you believe you cannot do that, then you won't. So take a deep breath, disregard the doubts and fears that other people throw your way (because that doubt and fear is probably a reflection of their own crap and actually has nothing to do with you anyway), and trust yourself. You are exactly the parent that God knew your kids needed.
I am so glad you are here! Welcome to my blog. This is your space, too. My name is Amy, and I am no stranger to the ups and downs of life. Join me as we search for beauty, authenticity, tell our truth, and hold space for each other in the messiness of life.