Originally published: April 2011
I heard a line during a recent interview that really struck me. It succinctly describes what (for the most part) parenting is today.
Parents today “suffer from a crisis of conscience and confidence,” went the quote. Bang on, I thought. Truer words were never spoken. Shout it from the rooftops so everyone can hear.
It came from a mother of three kids in their 20’s and 30’s who seems to have a very pragmatic, common-sense approach to parenting.
Think about it…..we parents, by and large, analyze almost everything. Perhaps it’s a function of the times we live in. There is just so much more out there to question.
The Inability To Say No
The “conscience” part refers in large part to the inability to say no, to think that our kids need to have everything, or at least most things or something bad will happen, to feel copious amounts of guilt for anything and everything related to raising our children — most of it irrational and unfounded. Today’s parents often treat their children with kid gloves. They are not fragile, porcelain dolls — neither parent nor child. We need to give ourselves and our kids some more credit.
The “confidence” part speaks to how the consequence of our parenting decisions leave us (parents) feeling. How will my kids react, how will other parents see me, what will my own parents think? It also seems to describe the constant need for external support and validation from so-called experts. There is nothing wrong with reasonable amounts of advice-seeking, but too much cannot be healthy.
Whatever happened to using plain old, wholesome, honest-to-goodness common sense to raise children?
Sure, it still exists, but it doesn’t appear to be the overriding tool in child-rearing today.
I strongly believe in intuition and instinct in child-rearing with a healthy dose of common sense. In other words, stay out of crisis mode, always trying to cut through all the white noise, the heaps of clutter and simply reverting to the basics. Sharing stories with other parents in the trenches, and asking for support are most definitely very important, but at the end of the day give yourself some credit. After all, we did manage to bring them into this world didn’t we?