These days, everyone seems to have an opinion on how you should raise your kids. From the moment you announce your pregnancy, it seems as if everyone is watching your every move and critiquing each and every one of your parenting decisions.
There’s no doubt about it–parenting right now has a ton of social pressure on top of the normal pressure of raising kids (and don’t forget about that mom guilt!).
At times, it’s hard to make any choice at all for fear of judgment from other moms, friends, doctors, government officials, and even single people (who, let’s be completely real here, typically have no business sticking their two cents in). And many times, the advice thrown at moms from all sides often contradict.
How then do you avoid making poor parenting decisions, and only make the best decisions for your family?
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How To Make The Best Parenting Decisions For Your Family
I have a secret for you, one that apparently not many people seem to know about. The secret: there is no one single way to parent your children.
I know, it’s not a super popular opinion, but it’s the truth. Not every choice is going to be the right one for you, your child, or your family.
Some choices will be better than others, but in the end, what works for one family may not work for yours. We are all individuals, including our kids. And with that comes the fact that there is no one size fits all.
With that in mind, how can you avoid making poor choices, and only make the best ones for your family?
Avoid Hasty Decisions
A lot of poor parenting choices come from making hasty decisions, and failing to be intentional. And a good portion of the time, these hasty decisions are made because we are put on the spot and made to feel like we need have an answer right then.
Maybe it’s a medical decision at the doctor’s office.
Maybe it’s an education decision.
Or perhaps it has to do with how you correct and discipline your child.
Every day we’re asked to make decisions, and many times it feels like we need to have an answer right then. The truth is, most of the time you don’t need to have an answer at that moment.
Unless it’s a life or death decision, most choices don’t have to be made the second they come up. Especially as moms, we’re often made to think that we have to have all the answers and know exactly how we want to parent our kids. But more often than not, we’re not prepared to make those kinds of choices at the moment we’re first asked.
But how do you avoid making hasty decisions?
1. Be brave enough to say you don’t know
I don’t even know how this all got started, but we’ve lost the courage to admit it when we don’t have an answer.
This isn’t just a mom problem, it’s a people problem. We expect everyone else to have an answer to every question, and we get the same back. And we know how important these decisions are, which only piles on more pressure.
We’ve allowed ourselves to get to the point where we’re afraid to admit to not knowing what to do.
We’re afraid to speak up when we’re uncomfortable with something, but it’s the popular thing to do.
Mama, be brave enough to honestly speak up when you don’t know what decision to make. Be brave enough to ask for time to think about it and research it.
2. Be informed, and intentional
I really can’t say this enough: one of the best things you can do for your child is to be well informed. The more informed you are, the easier it will be for you to make parenting decisions that benefit your family the most.
And of course, be intentional about your choices. They affect not only you, but your child, and your family. How you raise your kids will shape them for the rest of their lives. So be intentional.
Make intentional choices that will benefit your family long term. And if you don’t know what that choice is, it’s 100% okay to delay an important decision until you’ve had time to think about it, research it, talk about it, and pray about it.
And, it’s also okay to make a temporary decision if the situation necessitates it. (Just be aware of what decisions cannot be undone, ex: what you put in your child’s body, such as food or medicine).
Don’t Wait Forever
On the flip side, don’t get so caught up on making the best decision that you don’t make any decision at all. Sometimes, you just have to make a choice.
“Those who fail to decide will have their choice made for them by circumstance.” – Unknown
If you put off a decision too long, you may find that circumstances will dictate what happens next. In some cases, you may miss a deadline for a particular option, and therefore will lose that potential choice.
The point is, don’t get so caught up in having to make the absolute best decision on the first try that you don’t make any decision at all.
Do Your Research
Not sure what decision is the right one for your family? Do your research.
I already said this, but I’ll say it again. The best thing you can do for your family is to be well informed. Don’t assume that just because other people are doing it that it’s going to be a good decision for your family. Not every popular opinion/option is going to benefit your child or your family–or you.
And not every piece of advice you get is going to be beneficial for your family. Remember, you know yourself, your child, and your family better than anyone. Make it a point to learn what works for each family member, and be intentional about noticing how your family works best together.
Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions in order to be fully informed on a particular decision. It will always pay off in the end.
Know Your Child
Again, you know your child better than anyone. Use that knowledge to make parenting decisions that will benefit your child the most.
One of the most obvious examples is in how you teach and discipline your child. Many people get hung up on the “right” way to teach and discipline a child. Truth is, not every method is going to work for every child.
I never in a million years thought I would utilize time outs. But, we quickly learned that time outs are what works best for our toddler, at least at this point in time. He didn’t care at all about any other form of discipline, but putting him in his bed for a few minutes did the trick.
Right alongside of being informed, knowing your child is one of the best things you can do to ensure you make parenting decisions that benefit your child. Knowing and understanding your child will lead you to the most beneficial decisions.
Use Wise Counsel
No one can be expected to know it all. Not even you, mama. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help when you don’t know what choice to make.
But, also know who to ask. Not all advice is good advice, even if it comes from another mom. I’ve gotten some awesome advice from other moms, and some absolutely terrible, down-right dangerous advice as well.
Find some wise moms that you trust, and keep them in your corner for when you need help. And, don’t be afraid to throw out the bad advice.
Own Your Choices
Lastly, own your choices. When you make a decision that isn’t the popular one, but you know it’s the best decision for your family, don’t be afraid to stand by it.
On the flip side, if you make a decision that didn’t end up being a good one, it’s okay to admit to it. Making a few poor decisions doesn’t necessarily make you a bad parent. At some point or another, we all make mistakes. We all make choices we wish we could take back.
Resist the urge to blame the outcome of a poor decision on someone or something else. Be willing to take responsibility for the decisions you make. Learn from it, and move on. Strive to do better next time.
How do you do to ensure you’re making the best parenting choices for your family? What do you do to avoid poor decision making? Share with me in the comments below!