Being a parent is the most important job you can do in your life. It also lasts a lifetime. It helps to ignore the common myths.
I should know all the answers.
You don’t have to know everything. No parent has all the answers. There is no such thing as one 'right way' or 'one-style-fits-all' parenting. Parents need to understand and be able to respond to the unique personalities, strengths and vulnerabilities of each child. Have reasonable expectations of yourself. Have confidence in what you do know. It’s OK to say I don’t know. Find out more about the things you feel less confident in.
Parenting comes naturally.
Every parent has to work it out as they go along. Every parent makes mistakes and learns through experience. Mistakes only count if you keep repeating them. Parenting requires understanding, persistence, imagination, energy, knowledge and patience. And all parents need support.
Congratulate yourself on what you are doing well. Accept that there may be things you could do differently or better next time (although you usually only know this by looking back afterwards). Do not be too hard on yourself. Appreciate that parenting has its ups and downs and accept that this is normal.
Raising my children is my job.
Historically, extended families and neighbourhoods shared the responsibility of caring for children. Today, more than ever before, parents are viewed as solely responsible for raising their children.
You may feel judged and alone. Many mothers and fathers do. But if you ask, you will find that many other parents feel exactly the same way! Asking for support is a positive thing to do for you and your child. Seek support from family, friends, community and family support services.
Parenting is a community activity – many people play a significant role in children’s lives. Grandparents, uncles, aunts, friends, teachers and neighbours all contribute to and support family life.
Try to look after yourself as well as your children.
- Children and parents learn together.
- Children and parents learn from each other.
- There is no such thing as a perfect parent.
- There is no such thing as a perfect child.
- There are many ways to parent. There is no one right way to do it.
- As a parent, you constantly learn more and more about your children as they change and grow.
- Your parenting changes with the changing needs of your children.