I promise Dr Google really doesn't have all the answers on this one.
Neither do most of those parenting books you've been avidly reading since your children were just tiny little dots on a scan.
Now, don't get me wrong I'm not knocking either of these sources.
They can both be super helpful when you need a quick fix of information to deal with a situation in the here and now, but using these to radically transform the way your family is interacting...
So, who should you trust and where should you go to get advice?
First, trust yourself.
You are the number one expert on your child.
No one else understands them like you do.
Second, trust your child.
If what you're doing generates far more happy times than bad ones, you're probably already on the right track.
No one is perfect, and all children have ups and downs as they go through each developmental stage, so you will never get a child who is angelic all the time.
Remember, us adults are not angelic all the time ...
Third, scrutinise the person you are about to listen to (myself included).
I'm not just talking about qualifications (although sometimes this is really important), because there are plenty of people out there with zero qualifications who know their stuff, and conversely there is unfortunately a large swathe of individuals who are all qualification and no substance...
I'm talking about reading their blog posts, reading their social media posts (organisation and personal), finding out what their friends and family members think of them...
You have to do a bit of social media stalking before you ever take anything they say and put it into practice.
Now, this is not necessarily because what they're saying is incorrect - its simply because it may be out of alignment with the way you've been parenting, or the way you feel comfortable about parenting.
I've had past parents through my parent training who have told me some pretty shocking stories.
Like, the one where a mum was told to put her child in the bedroom when they were acting out, hold the door and refuse to let them out (actually more than one family has said this...).
The first time I heard this I was utterly horrified!
Now it seems to be a regular occurrence and it just makes me sad.
For me, this is a complete no-no.
It does not gel at all with the positive parenting message I'm aligned with.
For you, it might have been the only thing that worked, and so you see - we're just not meant to work together.
In fact, if I were you, I'd probably save myself a little time and stop reading this post because I'll more than likely frustrate you with what I say next...
The next thing I do when I'm trying to work out whether someone is on the same page as me is I get cheeky.
I reach out to them and ask them a question.
But, I ask a question I know the answer to and know how I would like it to be answered.
This is a really great way to find out how they're truly operating.
I guarantee you that you'll be able to spot a faker a mile off with their perfectly crafted response.
Anyone who has got the odd typo, and offers more information than you asked and/or points you in the direction of other sources is definitely a keeper.
Because, they've answered based on their knowledge and given you the opportunity to make up your own mind.
They've trusted you as an intelligent individual to disseminate the information they've given you and come up with your own conclusions.
Oh, and they've probably answered you on their phone while they were trying to do a million other things but believe you are important.
That's the kinda person I always trust when I'm after help.
OK, yes you've caught me red handed - I'm apologising on masse for my phone based typos, but you've got to be honest something from the heart, no matter how unstructured is always better received!
Remember, when it comes to parenting - trust yourself, trust your child, and trust the person who aligns with your ideals.
Don't forget to let me know how it goes!
Happy parenting and catch you soon - Katie.
P.S. If you're after some no-holds-barred parenting advice on demand then check out my positive parenting community where you can; take part in live Q&A's with me, access exclusive resources, and mingle with other parents who are aligned with the same style of parenting.
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