For me, one of parenting's biggest challenges has definitely been learning to stop second-guessing myself. As host Karen Walrond says in the "Parenting By Instinct" episode of her show, as moms, "It seems everywhere we turn, the media is telling us we're doing it wrong ... but what if we're not?" According to guest Dr. Laura Markham, author of "Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids," following our instincts as parents is the key to success.
Not convinced? Consider Markham's theory: When our newborn baby wakes up crying at 3 a.m., "It's our instinct to go and take care of that baby. We may not want to, but we do!" (Hmm, good point.)
We stop trusting our gut when we start worrying about whether or not we're doing things the way our moms or pediatricians or the latest "experts" think is the best way.
"There are no specific rules," says Markham. "The rule is, be responsive to your child's needs."
Here are a few tips for getting started:
1. Remember that every child is different -- we know our kids better than anyone else.
2. Stay focused and calm. "Get past the stress and the 'shoulds' and return to your center," says Markham. When we get stressed it's harder to tell if that inner voice is "instinct" or "I'm losing it and need to eat a whole cheesecake" (Karen's hilarious example).
3. Stick to your strengths. Don't try to be the parent you're not: Karen says she's not great at playing, but she IS great at journaling and drawing. So she works on art projects with her daughter, who does more outdoors-y, athletic stuff with her dad.
Makes a lot of sense, right? So stop being so hard on yourself! You're an awesome mom!
Do you agree that following our instincts as parents is the key to raising happy kids?
Image via CafeMomStudios/YouTube