Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Parents: Don't Be So Hard On Yourselves

Too often parents view their children's behavior as some kind of failure on their part.  I think first time parents especially feel pressure for their children to be potty trained exceptionally early, as if it means they have excellent parenting skills.  The more children I have, the less enthused I am to potty train them because public bathrooms aren't very child friendly.  When I take my kids to Costco, they tell me they have to go when we're as far away from the bathroom as we can possibly get.  15 minutes later or so, they have to go again.

I remember caring a lot what people thought about me as a mom.  Public tantrums embarrassed me and I felt like everyone was judging me.  And maybe they were.  Now that I have my 4th child, if I get any funny looks from people who haven't had children yet, my reaction now is to laugh to myself that someday it will happen to them.  All kids have tantrums, but some worse than others.

I have friends who stress about their kids sucking their thumbs, but if they're toddlers, there's no sense in knocking yourself out trying to get them to stop.  My daughter is my only thumb sucker and has also been the best sleeper.  Talk to your child's doctor if you think their thumb sucking will lead to any problems.

Your child might have a speech delay or other speech difficulties.  This isn't your fault either.  Often they will outgrow it or they might need speech therapy.

People stress about sleep training their babies and it's especially difficult when one new mom tells them cheerfully, "My baby has been sleeping through the night since we came home from the hospital!"  This is not the norm.  It's normal for babies to wake up multiple times per night and it doesn't make you a bad parent.  It also doesn't mean they are going to be that way when they're older.  All of my boys were almost a year old when they started sleeping through the night and suddenly became very deep sleepers.  They don't even hear the alarm go off on their clock.  There were plenty of times I wondered what I was doing wrong that my boys wouldn't sleep even after they were on solid foods.

What have you stressed over needlessly as a parent? 

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