You are the Best Parent for Your Child.
That's why God chose to give this child specifically to you.
The word "parenting" yields 239,000,000 results on Google. I got a tsunami of links to parenting articles for babies, toddlers, teenagers and every age in between.
And no question, there are many techniques and styles that can help parents reach their children more effectively, but there is also a subliminal message: You are not a good-enough parent.
We think that if we don't choose one specific parenting style and stick to it no matter what our kid does, then we're ineffective. We second-guess every decision we make: Was telling Noam that he can't go with his friend to the mall authoritative or authoritarian? Should I speak to Rachel's teacher about her difficulty with fractions, or is that helicopter parenting?
We feel guilty enough without that subliminal message. We feel guilty because we're sure that we don't spend enough time reading them books or playing on the floor with them. We think we lose our temper too easily and we get annoyed too fast. We're confident that we're too lenient or too strict – or, most probably, we're both of those together at the very same time.
Don't let guilt and self-doubt get in the way of good parenting.
Our guilt and self-doubt get in the way of good parenting.
Effective parenting means we need to interact with our children with confidence, and this confidence isn't based on the number of parenting courses we've taken or the parenting style that we decide to choose.
This confidence is based on a very basic point: God chose to give me this child.
The Talmud tells us that there are three partners in the creation of a human being: his father, his mother and God Himself, who gives the child his spirit, soul, appearance, sight, hearing, ability to walk and his understanding and intelligence.
God is Omniscient. He knows everything there is to know about us. He knows that we prefer talking to adults instead of playing memory; He knows that sometimes we lose our temper; and He knows that we're not always sure what's the correct plan of action.
And even though He knows all our quirks and human deficiencies, He's sure that we will make the very best parents possible for our children.
If He didn't believe this, He wouldn't have given them to us. He could have given our children to that fastidious neighbor whose house is never strewn with Lego and playmobile; He could have just as easily given our children to that friend who reminds her kids "to use their indoor voice" without ever getting upset; and He could have given them to the cousin whose kids prefer carrots over candies.
But He didn't. He gave them to us. Because He knows that we are the best parents for these children. He knows that our children, with their individual character traits, will be able to grow and thrive with us as their parents - despite our flaws.
We are the very best choice of parents to raise our children. We are the parents who are most capable of giving our children what they need in order to grow and thrive.
Before we start confusing ourselves with choosing a parenting style and making ourselves guilty while learning about parenting mistakes to avoid, we must knock this awareness into our heads: Even though I make mistakes and am not perfect, I am the very best mommy for my child. I am the very best daddy for my child.
Once this awareness is firmly entrenched in our minds, we will be able to interact with our children confidently and assuredly. Once we are 100% certain that, imperfect as we are, we are still the #1 choice of parents for our children, we will feel comfortable guiding them according to what works for us as a family, without the hesitations and doubts that our children interpret as reason not to listen.
Yes, there could still be times during which we will be overwhelmed, and there will still be times when we will want to ask advice about a child's behavior and there are times when we will need to learn and practice new parenting skills. We are not aiming to be perfect parents; we're aiming to be good enough parents.
Once we have the confidence that we are the right parents for our children, despite our flaws, we will be able to more objectively sift through the reams of parenting advice to find ideas that make sense for us in our specific situation and work on applying them calmly and confidently.