I was having a Facebook back and forth with one of my former high school classmates. We are both very similar in our parenting styles and I just love the way that we inspire each other. A comment she made got me thinking and I felt that I should share my thoughts on this particular subject as it seems to affect most parents today.
We live in a time where there is information overload. You name it, you can research and read about it quite easily. This is very valuable but at the same time overwhelming. I think that the copious amounts of conflicting information about all things pregnancy, parenting, discipline, etc…have set us all up to fail. After all, who is right and who is wrong and who is sort of right and who is sort of wrong?
As parents, we need to let go a little and get out of our minds. Parenting is not supposed to be some intellectual feat. It isn't a dissertation meant to be written. Instead, it is a journey meant to be taken. That journey needs to begin from our hearts and our gut. Instead of listening to the diatribe written by professionals unfamiliar with you, your children, and your family dynamic, you need to listen to your instincts, your soul, what YOU know works and doesn't work.
Now, there is certainly a place for all of the parenting books out there. I am not at all suggesting that everyone stop buying these books. Certainly there are some really great ones out there. (Quite frankly, I have probably read most of them). Parenting books can help those who are wishing to transform their style of parenting. They can assist with special circumstances or challenging behaviors. They can open our eyes to different ways of approaching parenting. However, as a parent, you should not become so consumed with parenting books that you lose the essence of who you are as a parent and as a person. Books are not meant to be followed down to the last letter. Take the ideas and information that resonate with you and add them to your parenting toolbox. But don't get bogged down in the minutia of it all. Doing so will cloud your authenticity as a parent.
I personally feel that parents miss the greatest parenting concept of all time when they immerse themselves in researching how to be an effective parent. For me, the greatest tool that I have as a parent is not one that I learned in my research. It is in how a live my life. Modeling. Plain and simple. It is as simple as “do as I do.” You are your child's model and they imitate everything they see you do and hear you say. A good parent lives their life in a way that they want their children to emulate. By being the person you want your child to become, you are in effect being the best parent you can be. You are parenting with heart.