I’m an expert in parenting - in a way. Not in the official documented degree-in-a-frame-on-the-all kind of way; but rather in the nine-years-two-kids-countless-bedtime-bathtime-tantrum-growth spurt-milestone-and-birthday party-kind of way. So in that way, here is my “expert” parenting advice.
1) Have patience. For your kids, yourself, and the process of parenting and growth. The tantrums or sleepless nights or biting or talking back you’re dealing with right now will go away - with time. Have patience; trust the process of time and change. Your kids - and you - are never stagnant and every day is different. You’re always changing, learning, growing, getting better at life. Sometimes some things just take a little longer than others. Have patience. Whether it is patience in the moment (this, too, shall pass), or patience in the long run (okay, “this too, shall pass” also applies here), not fighting the process of time and change, just letting things flow, makes parenting - and living your life - so much easier.
2) Choose love. In every parenting decision, choosing love is always the path to take. When you act from a place of love - for yourself, when you decide to step away from the chaos and take that much-needed coffee break, or for your kids - when you hug them in the midst of a breakdown and say, “I understand,” (even if you don’t, quite) instead of sending them to their room, you’ve made the right choice from love. Kids feel love, speak love, deserve love - and you do too, even if you didn’t get enough of it (especially if you didn’t get enough of it) in your own childhood. Choose love, it’s never the wrong choice.
3) Be kind. This goes along with number two. Kindness in word and tone and deed - to yourself and your children - makes a big difference in how you and your kids feel. We parents have a tendency to beat ourselves up about decisions we’ve made. Stop doing that. Be kind to yourself, remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can. Be kind to your kids; they learn from - and become - what they see and hear.
Madame Vigée-Lebrun et Sa Fille by Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun, oil on canvas, 1789.
Have patience. Choose love. Be kind.
It works for everything, really.