second guessing

There are so many ways to parent out there- attachment parenting, cry-it-out, organic versus non-organic, that it can make your head spin.  Not one of these ways is the absolute best or worst way to parent (although you may hear differently from fanatics).   

But one thing that any parent can avoid is second guessing their decision.  It is not good for children to have their parents backtrack after a decision is made.

I often hear, “I’ve tried everything and nothing works!”  Those words themselves tell me exactly what the problem is.  If you are trying everything, then you aren’t sticking with one thing until you see a change in behavior.  Consistency is what helps a child through a tough time because it builds stability.  

One issue that most parents deal with is helping their child sleep through the night.  Again, there are as many philosophies as there are book deals available, and no one philosophy is correct.  They all have good parts and bad parts.  But once you choose the philosophy, stick with it.  When your child is crying at 3 am, remember the words of your chosen philosopher and don’t go back on your decision.  It will be hard because if you chose a form of cry-it-out and you start to doubt yourself in the middle of the night, then you are just prolonging the process and confusing your child.  If you choose a form of co-sleeping and after a week decide that you can’t have them in the bed any longer, then you are just dragging it out.  

Same thing with disciplining.  There are many ways to discipline.  Choose one with your husband, and then stick with it.  Your children will thank you. 

I’ve been in situations where either me or my husband makes a disciplining decision off the cuff and we both immediately regret it.  But we look at each other and with a split second decision of solidarity, and we carry on through the bad parenting decision.

Why? Because it is important for the children to see us working as team (even with questionable parenting decisions) and it is important to be consistent.  Children feel safer with consistency and you build trust by following through with what you say you are going to do.