I’ve been told that I “read too much” or “think too much” or “worry too much” when it comes to parenting. Not by anyone person, but in general – by a couple of people.
Shaking their heads from side to side with that look that says “there’s just too much information out there”. We read books, blogs, articles from parenting magazines or online and pamphlets at the pediatrician’s office trying to do what is best. How are we to know what’s best? It doesn’t seem, at least in my circle of parent friends, that we have the luxury of multitudes of extended family on both sides waiting to chip in with tried and true methods of raising kids, as was the case in say, my husband’s family. (His mother moved in with her mother and father-in-law when she and her husband were married!)
We are in the military so we move frequently. Even outside of the military, families are much more mobile than in generations past as we travel to where the job market dictates. With this mobility, that “village” that it takes to raise kids is altered. Without the network or village of extended family, and with the amazing amount of information (both good and not so) is it any wonder that we parents tend to seek out other opinions, methods and techniques in raising our children? Is that a bad thing? If it is, why?
It seems like the “kids should be seen and not heard” generation came at parenting more from a biological “this is just what we do” approach. Get married – check. Have kids – check. No examination or reflection or parenting seminars. No helicopter parenting, just life rolling along. Perhaps there could be a middle ground. Somewhere in the middle of “my kids are simply a function of biology/a checkmark on life’s to-do list” and “Super duper over-involved helicopter mom who checks and rechecks if Tommy is “okay” with the day’s plan” would be nice.
I often hear, “Parenting is the hardest thing you’ll ever do.” I completely agree. In marriage and other relationships, we work at them via counseling, marriage retreats, date nights, etc. Why should our parenting journey be any different? If parenting is truly the hardest job (and most rewarding), why not learn and grow and “work on” our relationships with our children?
If I want to improve my running, I read up on form, technique and training ideas. Some of it works and some of it doesn’t. The same holds true for learning to be the best parent I can be – use what works, toss what doesn’t. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Parenting isn’t easy, regardless of generation. I don’t think one generation is better, or worse. They are just different. And with that difference comes it’s own challenges and advantages.
What about you? Been told you are “over-thinking it” lately?