There is not a parent on this earth who hasn’t at one time or another asked “Am I doing the right thing?” It comes with the territory. And it comes because we care so deeply about our children and our responsibility as a parent.
I remember one parent who confessed that she had been struggling with reaching out for guidance because she felt it would be admitting failure…nothing could be farther than the truth! Parents who feel they have it all figured out haven’t been fully engaged in their children’s lives in my opinion!
Parenting is a never ending process of trial and error. Sure there are basics that apply across the board but to do what is best for our children requires consciously putting forth effort every single day without fail to individualize how we relate to and interact with them.
So how is a parent to know if they are doing the right thing?
There are several key factors to be aware of.
The first is to be sure you are seeing your child as an individual, having a clear understanding of their unique personality and having a feel for what works for them. In other words, what makes them ‘who they are’.
- What are their strengths?
- What are their weaknesses?
- Are they outgoing?
- Are they adventurous?
- Do they prefer more quiet time?
- Extravert or introvert?
A common mistake parents make is to place all of their children under one category and regardless of personality type relate to them in the same way. Another is to perceive them as an extension of themselves believing that the way they perceive and react will be the same for their child. Either way misses out on the critical key of recognizing them as their own person, special, unique and different from anyone else.
The second factor is to evaluate your relationship with your child.
- Do they trust you?
- Do they engage in conversations with you where they feel comfortable to share their thoughts freely?
- Are they open to your guidance?
- Have you cultivated the type of relationship that engages in healthy communication so you can rely on receiving honest feedback from your child?
Knowing how your child is feeling and thinking is the most valuable tool a parent can have to determine whether or not their efforts are guiding them on the right path.
The third is to look back over past experiences with your child.
- What did they respond to?
- What steps were taken to reach the desired result?
- And most importantly did you see the fruits of your efforts?
- Did your child grow and learn?
Using what has worked in previous situations is an excellent indicator that you are on the right path. Remember the saying ‘If it’s not broken don’t fix it!’
When all of these suggestions are implemented you will feel more confident each time you are faced with a new situation to navigate.
It is important to remember that no one knows your child better than you do IF you have cultivated your relationship with them to be one of mutual honesty, respect and trust.