How self-help articles are ruining parents

I love/hate how there are just so many blog posts out there that tell you how to raise your kids nowadays. Something along the lines of:

“Seven things your 12 year old should already know how to do”

Sure, I’ve fallen victim to clicking them and reading them. Then what? I feel like a shitty parent. The articles lead me to believe I’m not doing all that I should. Or that my kids are lacking in progress. And the more I read them, the worse I feel about my parenting style. If you read every single one, the advice becomes conflicting and then quite confusing.

I set clear boundaries for my kids and “no” means “no” – not “keep trying to change my mind”. I love and give warmth where it needs to fit. I also expect some form of order and respect in my house. Does it always go smoothly? Fuck no. Nothing is ever going to be perfect. There’s always room for improvement.

But that’s me.

Then I read these articles and I think, “Am I doing enough? Should I be doing more? Am I lacking in this area?”

We need to stop doing this. Stop reading these articles that tell me my 8 year old should be doing his own laundry and if he doesn’t have clean clothes, then that’s his fault. I mean, I understand the point of teaching you child that: but how many more RULES can I implement before I start raising them wrong?

Some articles will tell you to let them learn from natural consequences: forget their lunch? Go hungry. Forgot your mitts? Cold hands. Didn’t get your homework done? You get the shit grade. Then some articles will say “have empathy” therefore it’s ok to bring them their mitts, or maybe even pack their bags for them so they don’t get forgotten. But then which is right? Which is better? It’s all so confusing.

The best approach in my opinion is think about your childhood. What did you love and what did you hate. What lessons were valuable, and which ones do you wish you had been taught. Then, work around that. For me, I loved that my mother would tell me she loved me all the time. She tucked me in every night, cuddled me, and wasn’t afraid to show affection. I also loved camping with my step dad. Life was always about exploring and adventure, and spending time outside. I also had chores – every Thursday was my night to do dishes. Some times I would protest, but they never waivered. My dad also never yelled – he was quiet and patient, and set clear boundaries. No meant no. I had the freedom to make my own choices and express myself. There was time for friends, and time for family – which was equally, if not more, important.

Praise. Praise is huge. We clap for the baby when she puts her own shirt on for goodness sake. Why do we stop praising the big kids? They need it, too. Especially an ADHD child who’s feedback is predominantly negative.

Focus. Sit down. Stop doing that. Put your shoes on. Where’s your (insert random item lost)?!

They need more positive than negative to keep the balance, and the peace.

And the most important?

Kids need you. Just you. That’s it. A fun, empathetic, understanding, PRESENT you. Working, absent, self-indulged results in rebellious, attention-seeking, acting out. I know this. Heck, a lot of my side business work revolves around using my phone, and my two year old will yell at me: “Put phone DOWN!” It’s a wake up call. I know this is my reminder to just be present.

Ditch the overflow of advice and suggestions, go back to basics, and just be. Do you. Do what feels right in your heart. Do what works for YOUR dynamic. Stop reading articles and comparing your journey to another. And quit JUDGING someone else for doing their best. We are all just trying to make it out alive.

That’s basically it. It’s a lot less stressful on me, and the kids to just “do you” 😎

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