I do a lot of reading. Right now most of my reading is of the technical nature since I am in graduate school. However, prior to all the required reading, I would read books on parenting. I did this because when I would come up against a challenge as a parent, I would consult the “experts”. Yes, there are those who have developed many great approaches to parenting and for some parents and children, they do work. Most effective parenting strategies are grounded in lots of years of research and come out of developmental theories.
But, sometimes these “experts” can make you feel like you completely missed the boat in raising your kids. It is like the ship came into port to unload and the cargo was distributed and you arrived after everything was gone.
Kids are unique people. Each one different. Each one with their own strengths and gifts. Each one with habits and behaviors that you wish they never had. And as I have entered empty nest, this is what I do know.
There is a Parenting Expert! And it is you the parent. Why, because no one has all the answers. If someone did, there would be one defining theory and we would have cookie-cutter children. Yes, parenting books help us to hone our skills and learn about how children develop. But as I have discovered, parenting is a some-assembly-required activity. And once the structure is put together, the child decides what will fill it up.
So as you seek “answers” to your parenting challenges, this is the greatest insight I can give: we do not go it alone. Others may not share our specific circumstances, but we all have been challenged beyond what we ever thought was possible. There is empathy from others who have travelled down the road of parenting. So reach out to your support and take comfort from the others who travel the road with you.