I will always remember this one line from a professor during my pediatric training. As she was closing her lecture, she told us, “Good parents do not make good kids; good kids make good parents!”
At the time, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the generosity of this observation. Today, as a parent, I feel positively liberated by it. She was suggesting that there are limits to what we can do for our kids. Our kids may succeed in spite of our mistakes; they may founder in spite of our deft handling of crises.
But the bottom line is: Your child’s behavior is not solely a reflection of your parenting ability. It is the complex result of your child’s disposition, age, mood, and social situation, as well as your parenting style and decisions. It’s all of it. So next time, if your child does something that disappoints you, don’t beat yourself up and wonder “where did I go wrong?”
It’s possible you did something wrong. It’s also possible you didn’t, or that you did the best you could, or that the outcome would have been the same no matter what you did. Go easy on yourself. Don’t strive for perfection. You are going to make mistakes, and that’s fine.
There is no one perfect way to parent. If you are looking for guidance, look to the resources–and types of advice–that make sense for your child, your family, your parenting style, and your values. Don’t be tyrannized by some other parenting technique that a friend or neighbor is using if it doesn’t suit your circumstances. Understanding your child and creating a dialogue that establishes respect and communication is always the first step in applying any parenting strategy.
I hope this helps. If you have any specific parenting challenges that you would like to discuss, feel free to contact us and we can brainstorm a bit. Good luck!