How to be a 'Perfect' Parent?
Today’s moms and dads are among the most educated parents who ever lived. But when it comes to babies, they have less experience than any generation in history! – Dr Harvey Karp The Happiest Baby on the Block.
You need more training and experience with getting a driver’s licence than becoming a parent. It is almost always noted that being a parent is the hardest thing in life and yet you don’t need to take a test or have a qualification.
The hardest and most important role in life is raising a child and yet most new parents these days have never even held a baby. What an overwhelming, daunting and yet exhilarating opportunity.
In past generations and still in many cultures today, children are raised by numerous members of the family and community, which relieves the pressure and stress from parents.
By having the support and connection of the community, everyone had numerous opportunities to be involved with babies and learned how to raise infants and children.
In many modern societies it is becoming more common for new parents to be far away from family and also have little or no experience with babies or children.
This can create unrealistic expectations for these new parents and can lead to an extremely difficult time ahead. New parents can feel like failures or think that there is something wrong with their baby.
If this continues it can have devastating effects for the parents and the baby. It can affect the mental health of the parents possibly leading to post natal depression, depression or anxiety.
Parents need to feel empowered and be armed with the skills to successfully raise a baby. Children don’t need perfect parents. There is no such thing.
In order for children to be secure they just need good enough parenting. That means a parent who can give their child what they need most of the time.
This doesn’t mean giving in when they are screaming for another ice-cream when they have already had one. This means that when they are screaming for another ice-cream you are able to calmly deal with the situation and help them regulate their emotions.
Children come into this world unable to regulate their emotions and learn these skills from how their parents react to different situations. Children learn from how their parents regulate their own emotions and then try to help regulate their child’s emotions.
That’s a lot easier said than done because how we react to different situations can be instinctive or a reflex because of how we were parented or experienced in our lives.
Parents can be unaware of how certain reactions they have to some situations with their children can cause them to struggle emotionally or form unhealthy relationships for the rest of their lives.
Yet why aren’t we taught these important parenting tools before or during parenthood? We all want the best for our children but most of the time it’s lack of awareness and knowledge of early childhood development rather than not wanting our children to be developmentally successful.
Is it embarrassment that this instinctual skill called parenting isn’t so instinctual? Are parents embarrassed to have to learn about not just being a parent but being a ‘perfect’ parent? That is a sad reality if that’s the reason.
Firstly we need to stop thinking that parents need to be perfect and secondly we need to accept that we all need help being a parent.
Just take a minute to think about it. PARENTING. What does it mean? What is involved? How long does it take? Do you ever stop being a parent? NO. I think that once you’re a parent, you’re always a parent.
But parenting does evolve and it evolves with the parent and the child together and separately. Parenting takes all of you, heart, soul, mind and body.
Why not learn how to raise a child to be the best version of them and yourself? Why not prepare for the greatest journey and challenge of your life? Even if you’ve experienced some of the journey, why not learn for the future ahead?
We don’t know what the future holds for our children but why not prepare them in the best way we can through understanding what they need now in order to develop securely and healthily.